I realize that there’s been a big flap about an independent European military force but I have wondered for years why NATO is still important. I have to agree with some of the critics of the USA that if a group of European nations want to do this, who is the USA to say “no”? The USA could withdraw from NATO in response but for some reason this is unthinkable.
That brings me back to the editorial, which again harps on the European Defense Initiative and the risk to NATO while failing to explain what, exactly, is the reason why NATO is sacrosanct in American foreign policy. NATO was certainly a key bulwark in the fight against Soviet Communism, but hey, special alert - we won! If we’re now concerned about Russian expansionism, the better solution would be to buddy up with some of the key frontline states like Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic Nations. Russia couldn’t afford any serious adventurism right now so that’s not even an urgent issue.
Also on the scales is that France wants to break up NATO. I say we let them. Who is it that thinks French foreign policy during the Fifth Republic has served France well? And what use has NATO been during the war with Caliphascism? What help we have gotten from European nations is because of bilateral relationships, not because of NATO (would the Poles have refused our request without NATO?).
Most bizarrely the WSJ editorial goes on about the inability of the key European nations (e.g., France and Germany) to afford NATO and an independent European force. Well, OK, this is a problem for the USA? They’re not contributing anything useful to the USA now anyway so why would not contributing in the future matter? It might well serve as a wakeup call that he who pays the piper calls the tune.
Personally, the biggest incentive for me would be the sheer schadenfruede of watching France and Germany try to set up a military operation. These are the same nations that declared their rapid reaction force operational without the actual troops. Presumably this is in fact the same force that would serve as the basis for the European military force under discussion, even though that was denied at the time. It’s difficult to see why it will work any better this time around when France and Germany are having even greater financial difficulties.
Finally, there is the issue of the beaurocratic undead. No organization wants to be disbanded, even when its mission is no longer relevant. We see this effect with the IMF, which goes around creating financial havoc now that its original mission is obsolete. I would not like to see the same happen to NATO. It served its purpose, it is time to let it go.