Before I begin, let me say right at the outset that I am opposed to military alliances – and I shall explain why.
Unless military alliances are equipped with specific escape clauses so as to allow members not to join in hostilities under specific circumstances, they are much more liability than asset.
Let me explain what I mean:
Let’s have a country, let’s say, G---a, that has a score to settle with a bigger and stronger nation, let’s call it R----a. For the time being we are not concerned with the rights and wrongs of the score to settle. Let’s say G-----a, which is very much weaker than R-----a, attacks the latter, in the belief that its unofficial ally, A-----a, will bail it out. Now although R-----a is nowhere near as strong as A-----a, it’s still strong enough that an all out conflict between the two would destroy not just the two countries but the world as a whole. Now A----a doesn’t actually have a formal alliance with G----a, and therefore has a way to duck out of the fight. But assume A----a had an actual, formal alliance. Would it then be compelled, even if against its own interests, in fact against the interests of the world as a whole, to take the side of G-----a against R-----a, even if G----a provoked the entire episode quite cynically?
Let’s go have a look at history.
The First World War happened because a Serbian called Gavriilo Princip killed the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary. Austria-Hungary took the opportunity to start a war against Serbia. Now Serbia was allied to Russia and Austro-Hungary to Germany, so those two countries became automatically involved (quite willingly on Germany’s part). France was a Russian ally and was also smarting under its defeat at the hands of Prussia back in 1870, so it wanted the return of Alsace-Lorraine, which it had lost in that war. Germany had planned a flank attack to defeat France, which meant it had to invade Belgium. Belgium was a British ally, which meant Britain got pulled in too. Turkey allied itself with Germany and lost its entire empire as a result, because of which the West Asian crisis and the pseudo-state of “Israel” continue to endanger world peace. Only Italy, a German ally, refused to join because the German alliance was an aggressive, not defensive one, and saved its skin from ending up on the loser’s side.
The Second World War happened because Britain and France allied themselves with Poland, a gesture of truly monumental stupidity because they could do nothing whatever to help Poland. Because of this act of folly, the British lost their empire and have been reduced to a colony of America, ordered to help the Imperium in all its crimes, and the French only a little better. See what an alliance gets you?
Now, about NATO. The alliance was a response to the alleged threat (hardly a credible or real one) posed by the USSR. I say hardly a credible or real one because Iosip Vissarionvich Dzhugashvili “Stalin” was no believer in world revolution a la Leon Trotsky. The Warsaw Pact was a defensive “alliance” meant to provide a formal cover for converting the occupied countries of Eastern Europe into a defensive belt against invasion, the USSR having suffered enough at the hands of Nazi Germany to be wary of ever facing even the possibility of such an aggression again. In any case it came into existence after NATO, not before. No sensible person could have believed that the Warsaw Pact could be an offensive anti-Western alliance. It was never meant to be.
OK, so Stalin was not a world-conqueror type. But what about afterwards? By the time Stalin’s era had passed, the Americans had enough nuclear weaponry to render any Russian attempt to seize Europe by force a non-starter (remember that till the sixties nuclear weapons were thought usable in war, a view deliberately being revived today). So there was never any chance of Brezhnev attacking West Germany or Denmark, so long as the Americans treated NATO as a defensive alliance. Fine?
Once the Warsaw Pact collapsed, anyway, logically NATO should have ceased to exist as well. If you set up an agency to monitor UFOs, and someone proves beyond all possible doubt that UFOs don’t exist, then the agency has no further reason to exist. Right? Now, if the agency, rather than being wound up, is given more and more instruments, funding and powers, and is given roles it was never intended to play (like checking on normal commercial flights, something for which other agencies already exist) it becomes obvious that there is something devious going on. Are you with me so far?
OK, let’s get down to specifics.
The USSR no longer exists. Russia, the successor state to the USSR, is nowhere near as strong as that state was, and no longer has the allies or the strategic depth it once possessed. Besides, there is no reason why it should even attempt a conquest of the Western World, being itself a capitalist nation now.
NATO was set up to counter the nations of Eastern Europe, “led” (ie occupied) by the USSR, which did not at the time even have a formal alliance. When the Warsaw Pact ended NATO should have ended. Instead, breaking direct promises to the Russians, it was not just not ended but expanded. Against which threat, precisely? Islamic terrorism? The defence of the nuclear-armed pseudo-state of “Israel”?
If NATO is a defensive alliance, what the hell is it doing enforcing an American occupation of Afghanistan? Even if one accepts the premise that (a) Al Qaeda attacked the US on Sept 11, 2001; (b) this attack was supported and aided by the Taliban regime in Kabul; (c) this attack was of such a magnitude as to require the conquest, occupation, and daily bombing of Afghanistan and its civilian population, what the hell is NATO doing there? What the hell was NATO doing attacking Yugoslavia in 1999? Was the secessionist province of Kosovo a component of NATO?
As I demonstrated in my fictitious, ha ha, example above, any alliance like NATO runs the risk of being drawn into a world-wrecking war – because one or more of its members can feel that it has carte blanche to do whatever it feels like because it thinks Big Brother will bail it out. Big Brother might, because of political considerations or because of the insane religious views of its leader, comply – but the other side simply might not obligingly roll over in surrender and back down. What then?
Let’s see what NATO gets its members right now:
Security? Against what? Where is the threat? Did NATO stop the Madrid train or London Tube bombings? If not, what price NATO? Is it simply a club of nations, like the Commonwealth? If so, why is it helping prosecute aggressive colonial wars? If not, again, what threat is it guarding against? Since the US alone spends more on defence than the rest of the world combined, it alone can crush any threat that could take over the world (at least theoretically, although the Iraqis and Afghans would seem to disagree).
Benefits? Of what sort? All this alliance can do is (like Poland) make its members not just potential but very real targets. Can anyone see an enemy attacking a non-NATO member like Switzerland, for instance? How does it help the members of an alliance like NATO to be held hostage to the whims and fancies of an “ally” halfway round the planet?
All right, so I’m biased. But I still don’t see what benefit a suicide pact brings to anyone, and if NATO isn’t a suicide pact, then I don’t know what it is.