Why does NATO still exist?
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or NATO was founded in 1949 by the United States, the United Kingdom and 10 other countries in Western Europe. It is a military alliance that was originally formed to counter the influence of the Soviet Union.
The most important part of the treaty creating NATO is Article 5. It requires members to consider an attack on one as an attack on all, meaning that if the Soviet Union attacked a member of NATO, all of NATO would respond in kind.
As well as trying to avoid more conflict in Europe after World War II, NATO was necessary because up until Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher stood up to the Soviet Union and defeated it, communism was widely seen to be on the ascent, with capitalism viewed as a dying force.
Of course, Reagan and Thatcher refused to continue the unilateral surrender of the west and instead forcefully argued for the moral superiority of capitalism over communism and implemented policies to that effect. Strangely enough, when the Soviets actually had to compete against a real competitor, they quickly folded like a cheap suit.
The three Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia broke away in 1990, and by 1991 the Soviet Union was no more.
Expansion post-Soviet Union
Unfortunately, like any institution created by government, NATO didn’t similarly dissipate now that its primary reason for existence was no more.
While the likes of Greece, Turkey, West Germany and Spain had joined NATO over the years, expansion accelerated after the demise of the Soviet Union. Former members of the Soviet Union including the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined in 1999, with the Baltics and others joining in 2004. NATO has continued to expand since then, with North Macedonia being the most recent to join, in 2020.
One doesn’t need to have a detailed knowledge of history to know that most, if not all, of the countries that joined NATO after the dissolution of the Soviet Union did so because they wanted to be protected from Russian aggression.
Now, NATO wants to add Ukraine. Rather than admitting its error and trying to hose down the conflict, NATO, led by the United States and the United Kingdom, is doubling down.
While I can understand why countries in Europe would like to be defended from Russian aggression, Ukraine is the breadbasket of Europe and has immense strategic value from a military perspective.
Obviously, Ukraine wants protection from Russia but who can blame Putin for not wanting Ukraine to be part of NATO? It is a basic rule of realpolitik that interfering within a Great Power’s sphere of influence is ill-advised and likely to lead to blowback, hence the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Just like China propping up North Korea to prevent the risk of having US troops on its border, Russia invaded Ukraine because it doesn’t want to risk having US / NATO troops in the Ukraine. (Yes, I know the Baltics border Russia too, but they were never as Russian as the likes of Ukraine, and are small, strategically-unimportant countries in any case.)
Unfortunately, NATO has been unable to distinguish between an aggressive, totalitarian communist dictatorship that was the former Soviet Union and a still authoritarian but much less dangerous dictator in Russian President Putin.
And so here we are.
The solution to all this is for NATO to quit trying to make Ukraine a member, and also to stop supporting Ukraine through the provision of money and weapons to continue its proxy war with Russia. Instead, NATO should actually do something useful and pressure Ukraine to sue for peace.
If that involves a promise of neutrality from Ukraine and various parts of the country, particularly in the east, being ceded to Russia, then so be it. While tragic, this is all the result of NATO trying to meddle in Russia’s sphere of influence.
As such, NATO could do the entire world a favour by unilaterally abolishing itself immediately.