What Is the Future of NATO?


From Joshua Foust, the New Atlanticist:  NATO is taking on new, out-of-area operations (two now in the last decade), both of which imply a huge, long-term military and economic commitment. Only every single member state — including, soon, the United States — is cutting its defense budgets. The UK and France are gutting their Navies even while they push for a new operation in a primarily naval environment (e.g., offshore in Libya). The US has failed to recapitalize on many of its air and sea assets to focus on the land wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; however, now the operation is naval, and air-based, and possibly amphibious.

To put it simply, there is a fundamental break between NATO becoming “The UN’s Team America for R2P,” as I put it, and the alliance-wide defense cuts driven by both the global recession and simple war exhaustion from Afghanistan. The Alliance needs to figure out its primary strategic outlook if it’s to avoid a painful, possibly catastrophic break when these two trends start to conflict.
Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and a columnist for "PBS Need to Know." This essay first appeared at ASP’s Flashpoint Blog. 

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