By: Ringo Bones
Political pundits may quip that – like the UN Security Council – NATO’s decline into becoming a “rhetorical organization” began during former US President George W. Bush’s “unilateral” action to search for nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq back in March 2003. But unlike the UN Security Council where the granting of permanent seating of The People’s Republic of China and Russia has made them apparently immune from being prosecuted for committing genuine war crimes during the first decade of the 21st Century (Mainland China supplying arms to Sudanese strongman Omar Al Bashir during his military adventurism in Darfur and Russia’s invasion of Georgia back in August 2008), NATO’s apparent “paralysis” when it comes to decisive action when facing geopolitical challenges in the 21st Century seems more rooted to its lack of consensus of its member states than the inclusion of questionable “geopolitically delinquent nation-states”. Given all of its inherent problems, will NATO be able to pull off its 21st Century era “finest hour” when tackling the threat of both Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing military adventurism eastern Ukraine and the Islamist group IS / ISIS / ISIL?
When the North Atlantic Treaty was signed at Washington DC back in April 19, 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO was formed in September 17 of the same year. The initial purpose of the organization is “to promote stability and well-being in the North Atlantic Area.” NATO is thus designed to mobilize the resources of its member states in order to apply the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter to a particular region, which during that time, embracing a fifth of the world’s population. As an agency for the defense of its members against external aggression within the letter (Article 51) and spirit of the UN Charter, NATO constitutes a regional reinforcement of the United Nations similar to the Organization of American States. More specifically, the Atlantic Treaty was concluded to create a nucleus of Western powers, a united front in the face of the then Soviet menace to the North Atlantic peoples. It was conceived in answer to the piecemeal country-by-country subversion and conquest of Eastern Europe by Kremlin sponsored communist forces following the end of World War II.
After the collapse of the then Soviet Union back in 1991 into what is now the current size of post Soviet Russia, many newly independent states of the former Soviet Union that were geographically close to Western Europe had been sending their proposals / considerations in droves to join NATO for much of the 1990s. And with tensions of sizable ethnic Russians living in this former Soviet states wanting to join NATO, a new form of “Cold War” was the inevitable result that eventually lead to the current tensions between Russia and a NATO leaning Ukraine.
While the current Obama administration has stated that they’ll be forming a coalition to tackle the ongoing ISIS / ISIL threat in the Persian Gulf and the Levant region – and there’s even a 10-nation coalition ready to tackle ISIS / ISIL that was founded during the recent two-day NATO summit in Newport, Wales during the first weekend of September 2014, the eastern Ukraine situation might be a little hard to handle due to a slight lack of unity in the European Union. The Czech Republic and Hungary are not shy about their “sympathies” to Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
Another major issue being tackled in the recent NATO summit in Newport, Wales is the question of what constitutes as “adequate budget allocation” for the military spending expenditures of member states. As the last remaining global military superpower, the United States is the leading player in NATO and has funded nearly 70-percent of its recent operations – i.e. the airstrikes in Libya that lead to the ousting of Muammar Qaddafi back in 2011 and the recent airstrikes that dislodged ISIS / ISIL brigands that occupied dams in Mosul, Iraq. And despite its on-going economic problems, it seems that Greece has met its NATO funding promises – along with Britain, Estonia and France. When it all comes down to it, it seems that NATO’s “finest hour” when it comes to the handling of both the ISIS / ISIL and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict probably hinges on an American leadership, unless of course NATO members play it safe by maintaining its post “Dubya Bush” stance as a “mere rhetorical organization”.