Always worth considering what things look like from the outside in - even if you think they're off a bit on their points;
Is NATO as essential to world security as Obama claims? NATO’s recent adventures—in Afghanistan, Eastern Europe and Libya—have created insecurity rather than order.NATO needs a few in the "W" column.
Afghanistan: When NATO entered the Afghan theatre in 2001, a decisive victory seemed imminent. Al-Qaeda fled the country and the Taliban fighters threw off their guns and went amongst the population. Elections followed and all seemed over. As the winter snows receded in 2002, the Taliban returned. Each spring they have come back, stronger and more determined to defeat their adversaries. This year has been no exception. The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Jean-Nicholas Marti, says that 2016 has already shown the highest number of civilian casualties—thirty per cent higher than last year. Opium cultivation has grown, and Afghanistan now ranks as the second highest refugee exporter to Europe. A UN report on education and healthcare in Afghanistan shows that the condition is dire and getting worse. “In 2015 children increasingly struggled to access health and education services due to insecurity and conflict-related violence, further exacerbated by high levels of chronic poverty,” says UNICEF chief Akhil Iyer. NATO has begun to gradually withdraw from Afghanistan, which is fated to return—in some manner—to Taliban rule.
Eastern Europe: Perhaps NATO’s most striking disaster has been its confident march eastwards. One of the deals conducts by the West and the Soviets that bears consideration is around the unification of Germany. The Soviets agreed to the unification if NATO promised to remain at the German border. NATO was not to threaten Soviet security. That agreement was broken sharply. NATO began to absorb eastern European states and to pledge economic benefits for integration into the military alliance. A weak Russia in the 1990s did little to complain. It watched as NATO bombed the Balkans in 1999—in a war that was public relations coup for Europe, which suppressed its own role in stoking Croatian and Slovenian secessionism to dissolve Yugoslavia (as the European Union’s Badinter Commission had promised in 1991). Missile Defense shields and membership to the Baltic States poked Moscow’s eye. The Ukraine conflict is a direct product of NATO’s expansion eastwards. Now American F-22 raptors fly to Romania, while the USS Donald Cook slips into the Baltic Sea towards Russian waters. At a NATO meeting, the Russian ambassador Alexander Grushko described the Western provocations as “attempts to exercise military pressure on Russia.” Then, most chillingly, he said, “We will take all necessary measures, precautions, to compensate for these attempts to use military force.” Rather than secure Eurasia from conflict, NATO has been an instrument for discord. Moscow’s interests in its neighborhood are maligned in the Western press as the habits of empire, while Western requirements for NATO’s intervention are seen in this media as acceptable.
Libya: NATO dashed into the Libyan conflict with the imprimatur of a United Nations resolution (1973). It far exceeded its mandate – to protect civilians—by going for regime change. It later refused to allow any international investigation—even by the UN—of its bombing in Libya. NATO was happy to bomb on a UN mandate, but would not permit any UN oversight. Libya’s state was destroyed by the bombing run, creating mayhem across North Africa. Al-Qaeda’s growth in Algeria, Libya, Mali and Tunisia can be directly attributable to the NATO regime change operation and the promiscuity of Western and Gulf Arab intelligence, which allowed Libyan fighters to go and fight in Syria. Many of these fighters also returned as the core of Libya’s branch of ISIS. What did NATO bring to Libya? Destruction and chaos.
Maybe back to the core mission - but encouraging Germany now.