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The Death of Nato

  • Date Submitted: 02/18/2012 03:55 AM
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The Death of NATO
By Lieutenant Colonel Robert L. Bateman III, U.S. Army
As the first American Commander-in-Chief famously admonished, no alliance should be permanent; is it time to bid farewell to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization?
DATELINE: OTTAWA, CANADA, 17 DECEMBER 2019—In a move that many international observers long anticipated, Canada officially withdrew from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) today, severing the last transatlantic link of the alliance and effectively ending the organization in all but name. Coming some ten months after Canada’s neighbor to the south pulled out of NATO, the announcement today met muted responses from the 26 remaining European members of NATO. Canadian Prime Minister Mike Meyers explained his government’s decision largely as a necessary cost-saving move, noting that since the American withdrawal from the organization, Canada no longer had ready access to the strategic movement and global logistics resources that the United States had previously provided to other NATO member states. . . .”
This “news” story is, of course, completely hypothetical—but it does represent one potential scenario for an end to NATO. The story only mentions the very end of the alliance, the moment when Canada pulls out as a byproduct of an earlier political decision on the part of the United States. But as the story alludes, the dissolution of NATO would not be a rapid event. Rather, it will be the result of a long series of smaller events, a gradual melting rather than a catastrophic collapse.1 But what might that series of events and shifts look like en route to the end? What might be the motivations that could drive the American political leadership of 2019 to pull support from a treaty organization it had so much of a role in creating? And is this at all plausible? Europeans, after all, have foreseen the death of NATO over and over again, with each shift of American politics. So much so, over the past 20 years, that to their...

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