Since the start of the Cold War, NATO has been the world’s preeminent military alliance. However, escalating hostilities between NATO and Russia are creating geopolitical challenges for NATO members. In this episode, our friend and guest Rachel Rizzo discusses NATO’s changing security environment.
An Intergovernmental Military Alliance
NATO is a 28-member intergovernmental military alliance established in 1949 between the U.S. and European nations to counter the Soviet military threat. Even after the fall of the Soviet Union, NATO’s core functions have remained collective defense and cooperative security. Its members also collaborate on anti-piracy initiatives, peacekeeping missions, and military trainings. Underpinning the alliance is NATO’s Article 5, which states that an attack against one is an attack against all. It has only been invoked after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
More than just a military alliance, Rizzo argues that NATO is a testament to western values of liberalism and inter-governmental cooperation, as well as a sign of western nations’ geopolitical cohesion.
Changing Dynamics in Europe
Over the past several years, Russia and NATO have spiraled into a security dilemma. Russia claims the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act should have precluded NATO from expanding membership and bases to eastern European nations during the past several years. NATO members, on the other hand, argue that the security landscape has changed to where expansion is permissible. At the same time, NATO members are increasingly concerned about Russian incursions against neighboring Georgia, Estonia, and Ukraine.
NATO and the Trump Administration
During his campaign, President-elect Trump said he may not defend NATO members under attack. Although he has since walked back on his language, NATO members experiencing increasingly precarious security situations are alarmed by Trump’s noncommittal rhetoric.
Take a look at some of our favorite articles that we came across while researching this topic:
- Donald Trump Sets Conditions for Defending NATO Allies Against Attack, David Sanger and Maggie Haberman, New York Times
- Putin says Russia planning ‘countermeasures’ to NATO expansion, David Filipov, Washington Post
- NATO Needs to Spell Out Its Intentions More Clearly, Kier Giles, Newsweek