Colombia Good Fit for NATO

NATO prevents wars

From Carlos Alberto Montaner, Miami Herald:  President Juan Manuel Santos proposes to bring Colombia into NATO, even if it is through the back door. I think it’s a responsible initiative.

NATO is the most formidable military coalition in history. It was created by Harry Truman in 1949, in the middle of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union was going through its worst imperial spasm. Although named North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the institution does not take that geographic circumstance too seriously. Italy, Greece and Turkey reside in another neighborhood, yet they are members of NATO.

Actually, NATO was not created to make war but to prevent it. Truman, who read the classics and loved history, used to quote the Latin phrase “ Si vis pacen, para bellum” — If you wish peace, prepare for war. That’s what he did. He was under the influence of the strategic thinking of young diplomat George Kennan. . . .

Colombia’s Santos has good reason to protect his country from the potential danger of a regional war. Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro has just announced the creation of a workers militia of 2 million soldiers. He wants to manufacture one of the largest armed corps in the world. It’s perfectly logical for his neighbors to be afraid. . . .

The most economic way for Colombia to keep Venezuela from dragging it into a war — as threatened in the past by the late Hugo Chávez, who publicly ordered his generals to move tanks and artillery to the border — is to place itself under the symbolic protection of NATO. . . .

NATO has a dissuasive and beneficial effect. In general, it prevents wars. Add to this a pedagogical factor: It induces better behavior among military men and, to a degree, generates greater subordination to civilian governments.

At least, that’s what Spanish socialist Prime Minister Felipe González presumed when he propitiated his country’s permanent association with NATO. He did so in the referendum held by his government in 1986, despite having rejected it in 1981, when he was a member of the opposition.  (photo: MercoPress)

Image: mercopress%206%2011%2013%20santos-obama.jpg