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Nature of NATO overdue for a review

Apr 09,2019 - Last updated at Apr 09,2019

NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, has turned 70 years old on Wednesday amidst questions remaining loud and clear about the viability and sustainability of the Western alliance for much longer.

The basically Western defence organisation was created in 1949 at the height of hostilities and conflicts between the West and the Soviet Union at the time. Much water has passed under the bridge since then, and the nature of the relations between the Russian Federation, the successor of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and Western nations has undergone considerable change in nature and scope.

Moscow still views NATO as a direct and continuing threat to its security, and has taken steps to offset this real, or imaginary, threat by increasing its expenditures on defence and by executing certain policy measures, including the occupation and annexation of Crimea back in 2014. That occupation continues to be a sour point in the relations between Moscow and the West. The two camps differed also on Syria, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Venezuela and scores of other problems in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Yet, the nature of NATO is overdue for a review. Should it, for example, remain a geography and culture related organisation or expanded to something wider. The foundation of NATO rests on an alliance between North American and European nations, i.e., countries belonging to the same culture. This could be the flaw in the evolving essence of the organisation. Should NATO not be founded more on like-mindedness and commonality of interests and objectives rather than on geography and Western culture?

Why not expand the horizon of the organisation to include states which share common interests and goals rather than limit it to sharing of common cultural values or even religion.

NATO should seize upon its 70th birthday to revisit its nature, scope and objectives in the light of the rapid changes that have occurred in the world since 1949. Some soul searching in this regard is certainly overdue and now is the time for doing it!

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