Don’t trust NATO’s “brain death”

  ”We are experiencing NATO brain death.” “The United States is betraying us.” French President Macron’s remarks in an interview with The Economist on November 7 have earned enough attention. His main reason is “there is no coordination between US strategic decisions and NATO partners.”
  Macron’s “diagnosis” of NATO issues seems to make sense if one considers the “outdated” NATO remarks Trump once said and his “cold face” toward NATO allies.
  It should be pointed out that Macron’s remarks are not fundamentally different from his previous attitude towards NATO. In August 2018, Macron mentioned in a public address to more than 200 French diplomats, members of parliament and experts in international affairs that Europe is facing a moment of great change in the international situation and that the security of the European continent can no longer depend on the United States.
  In early December, leaders of NATO member states will gather in London to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of this military alliance. On this important occasion, an unavoidable question is how to plan the future of NATO. At this point, there is no indication that consensus has been reached across the Atlantic. Macron’s “brain death” is more a complaint about the lack of consensus in the United States and Europe.
  Toynbee, a famous British historian, wrote that in the world of the Roman Empire, its main way of establishing political hegemony was to protect weak neighbors from encroachment by stronger neighbors. Historically, of all the “tentacles of power” of the Empire, overseas garrisons are often the most resilient. Although the relative strength of the United States is currently declining, there is still a long way to go before contracting military “tentacles of power”.
  In fact, after Trump’s entry into the White House, NATO not only showed no signs of falling apart in military terms, but continued to strengthen its existence. Through the “European Deterrence Initiative” proposed during the Obama administration, the Trump administration ’s military resources investment in Europe has increased by 40% in more than two years.
  In October last year, NATO member states’ troops held the largest joint military exercise in Norway since the end of the Cold War with as many as 50,000 troops. To ensure a rapid response to the threat, NATO also plans to establish new command centers in Ulm, Germany, and Norfolk, USA.
NATO does not have “brain death”, but the “pulling” between the United States and Europe may cause it to have “cerebral palsy”-impaired mobility.

  From the perspective of military strategic adjustment, if Obama shows expectations of “shared responsibilities” with his allies, then Trump is putting forward the requirement of “cooperating with the United States”, that is, pressing his allies to cooperate with the strategic competition of the US In other words, there is no fundamental difference between the two in terms of using the value of the alliance.
  Traditionally, NATO is providing a public good of security to member states, including the United States. But Trump is more concerned about the “balance sheet” and more about how much benefit the United States can share. This is an important reason why NATO allies feel that the United States’ security commitments have become “more expensive.”
  Unlike the US bilateral alliance system in the Asia-Pacific region, NATO is a more complete and efficient military alliance system that is backed by an entity. Trump ’s policy actions toward NATO allies are “simple and crude” (such as forcing NATO member states to raise military spending and even threatening to withdraw the United States from NATO), but the true intention is to revitalize high-quality stock assets to serve the strategic competition of the United States.
  Lord Hastings Ismail, the first NATO Secretary General and British Army Admiral, had a classic statement of NATO’s positioning: drive away Russians, invite Americans, and suppress Germans. In the foreseeable future, the possibility of NATO’s complete disintegration will be very low, but it will not be very likely to continue to exist in the way that Ismail positioned.
  Although the United States and Europe share common values, the concept of a future world order is not completely the same. This inconsistency raises the question: what form and function should NATO have in the future? The United States’ intention is to make NATO’s transformation more in line with the shift of its strategic focus, and to take NATO “out of Europe” and towards India-Pacific, but Europe hopes to retain NATO so that it will continue to serve the security of continental Europe.
  NATO does not have “brain death”, but the “pulling” between the United States and Europe may cause it to have “cerebral palsy”-impaired mobility.

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