At the closing of the NATO summit on December 4, 2019, the declaration made the first mention of China, saying that “we see China’s expanding influence and its international policies as both opportunities and challenges that NATO must jointly address.” Although NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg claims to be “not wanting to create a new adversary,” to outsiders, there is something wrong.
In addition to Stoltenberg, the United States representative to NATO Hutchison also contradicted, “Do we want China to be an enemy? No, we don’t want to, but we must be prepared.” This not only exposes the differences between the United States and the rest of NATO member states toward China, but also shows the embarrassment of NATO’s positioning. It can only strengthen its own rationality by shaping threats.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was originally a military alliance established by the United States and Western European countries in 1949 to contain the Soviet Communist camp. It was the product of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. However, the Western European countries were initially unwilling to rely on the United States for European defense, so the British, French, Dutch, Belgian, and Luxembourg countries signed the Brussels Treaty in May 1948, but it was not long before they could not face it alone. Under Soviet pressure, the organization had to be renamed Western European Union and integrated into the NATO structure, making the United States a de facto protector of Western Europe.
When the Cold War ended, all circles thought that the anti-communist mission would end and NATO would cease to exist. The American scholar John Mearsheimer stated in a 1990 article that “the threat of the Soviet Union provides a way for NATO unity. Stickiness, aside from this offensive threat, the United States may abandon continental Europe, and at the same time, the defense alliance it has led for 40 years may be dissolved. ” Kenneth Neal Waltz (1924-2013), a member of the United States Foreign Policy Committee, also responded to a U.S. Senate Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry at the end of the same year, saying that “NATO is something that is disappearing.” NATO also convened a summit in London in July 1990, while announcing the end of the Cold War, discussing strategic transformation, and beginning to cut spending. For a while, the dissolution of NATO seemed to be just around the corner.
What did not expect to break outside the glasses is that NATO has not only disappeared, but has survived all the way to the present and expanded eastward, which has caused many scholars to debate why it has survived to this day. Some scholars advocate that a large bureaucratic organization wants to preserve NATO to protect its own interests; others believe that it is based on the ” Democratic peace theory “. All countries that practice liberal democracy will not or rarely occur with another democratic country. War), let NATO allies form a “democratic community” and formulate a new strategy based on this value. Through the 1994 “Partnership for Peace” and the 1995 Eastward Expansion Research Report, set “implementing democracy” to join It is one of the standards of NATO and has repeatedly reiterated that it will maintain freedom and peace in the Atlantic region. It seems to echo the opinions of this group of scholars. However, the extent to which democracy is implemented in NATO member states, and whether the member states are more prosperous and stable as a result, is not without controversy. So much democracy and the expansion of NATO unity, it is more NATO use “democracy” as a slogan League survival with screening the enemy of the working tools, real causality should not be reversed.
Therefore, some scholars advocate that the reason why NATO can be maintained is purely a manifestation of the will of the United States, but this too ignores the autonomy of the remaining member states. Because although the United States has overwhelming power, but the world situation of strong opposition from two of the Cold War when the Soviet Union, into today’s “one superpower and many” or a multi-polar, the United States has not fully about the will of European allies ; Another example is the French president Charles de Gaulle withdrew from NATO in 1966, insisting on maintaining military autonomy. France, Germany, Italy and other countries have also opposed the United States’ desire to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. During the 2011 Libyan Civil War, Stoltenberg, then Norwegian Prime Minister, also confirmed that Britain and France first met in Paris to decide to intervene, and then encouraged the United States and the entire NATO to participate. Therefore, NATO is not purely a tool of American hegemony, but also a platform for European allies to safeguard their interests.
So what exactly supports the existence of NATO? The reason is complex, but it is related to the reluctance of the United States and the European Union to abandon the defense of Russia. Russia became an important member of the European Coordination Mechanism as early as the Napoleonic War in the early 19th century, and successively launched the Holy Alliance and joined the Quadruple Alliance. However, due to the establishment of the Communist regime after the October 1917 Revolution , Boycotted by many European countries. After the end of World War II, the Soviet Union proposed the signing of the European Collective Security Treaty, but was opposed by the allies. In 1954, in order to overcome the Cold War opposition, the Soviet Union again called for the European Security Conference, but it was still questioned by Western European countries. The break-up of NATO and the expulsion of US forces led to the Soviet Union ’s establishment of the Warsaw Pact Organization in the following year to oppose each other and deepen the division of the US-Soviet camp.
Although the attitude of the two sides moderated later, a standing Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe was finally established in 1975, with members covering all European countries except Albania, and the United States and Canada also joined. . Since then, the Soviet Union has repeatedly wanted to strengthen the OSCE as the core organization to safeguard the situation in Europe. It is true that it has the intention to exclude US interference, but it is also an attempt to restore the historical tradition of autonomous coordination among European countries. Unfortunately, Western European countries believe that in the face of the Soviet Union’s huge population and armament advantage, the organization will be dominated by the Soviet Union. Therefore, they would rather draw the United States as a helper and not willing to echo the Soviet proposal.
Even after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, NATO launched its eastward expansion plan to prevent Russia from rethinking. As a result, disturbed Russia proposed in 1994 to reorganize the OSCE into the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. ), And promoted the adoption of the Charter for European Security in 1999, but because of the lack of legal binding between the OSCE and the charter, the increasingly powerful NATO has become the substantial master of the situation in Europe.
Ironically, at the London Summit in 1990, NATO announced that it would abandon old thinking and establish friendly relations with Central and Eastern European countries. The Rome Summit in 1991 announced the “New Alliance Strategy”, announcing that it would change its mission from resisting the Soviet Union to maintaining European collective Security, so I am willing to cooperate with organizations such as the OSCE and the Western European Union. I did not expect this to be a barrier to eastward expansion, and NATO has repeatedly stated that it will not recruit Russia to join. But if you really want to maintain the stability of Europe, why do you reject Russia, the important Eastern European power? In 1997, American political scholar Clay Clemens accurately analyzed the NATO mentality and said, “Russia is simply too big and too different to become a member of NATO. No country is willing to follow the North Atlantic Treaty. “The fifth clause stipulates to defend its border with China. Because unlike the Eastern Europeans, the Russians have no interest in complying with the rules and responsibilities of the alliance”, expressing his prejudice against Russia.
Even more paradoxical, today NATO has extended its focus from Russia to China. Although NATO extended its front to Central Asia and North Africa outside Europe during the events of September 11 in 2001 and the Libyan civil war in 2011, it is now proclaiming that “NATO cannot move to the South China Sea” while emphasizing the need to pay attention to China’s challenges . This statement highlights that NATO is not just defending military organizations in the North Atlantic region, but is intended to patrol the global power alliance, but doing so will only intensify friction with other countries. How can it help Europe and world security? It is also because of the geographical ambitions of NATO that after the Cold War, it was impossible to transform itself into an ASEAN that promoted economic and cultural integration like the Southeast Asian Alliance (ASA), which was an anti-communist organization. The summit declarations over the years have suddenly paid attention to democracy and human rights, and have suddenly advocated the fight against terrorism, but to put it bluntly, they still cannot hide the embarrassing nature of unwillingness to abandon targeting Russia, which leads to the vague strategic positioning.
French President Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric was blamed by member states for a comment on NATO’s “brain death”, but in fact NATO is an outdated relic that should have been sent to the old paper pile for incineration and should not create enemies year after year And conflicts to emphasize the need for their own existence. The Spanish media El País described NATO as losing its political direction, but this situation did not begin today, but was destined to begin as soon as it refused to dissolve after the end of the cold war. Although there has always been a tradition of international coordination in European history, long-term military alliances are rare and unfavorable to peace. For example, confrontations between the Allies and the Allies finally triggered World War I. So if NATO really takes European security as its mission, why bother hostile to Russia and wary of China, which is far away?
Moreover, the more enemies created, the more divergent the interests of internal members will be, the more difficult is that not every member state is willing to pay the same cost to deal with its rivals. Therefore, for peace in Europe, instead of continuing to prevent Russia and propagate new hidden dangers, NATO might as well consider the possibility of peaceful transformation and let the local security be guaranteed by the European Union or the OSCE, otherwise it would be nothing but containment and resistance in the name of security. The legacy of the Cold War mentality of confrontation , not only will not protect Europe and the world, but will incur more hostility and counterattacks, and the people who will suffer only in the end will be NATO members.