Once the Soviet Union collapsed 20 years ago, the members of the Warsaw Pact agreed to end their alliance. Originally formed at the height of the Cold War as a deterrent to NATO, it was no longer necessary.
But NATO carried on, and today the organization is having trouble justifying its existence.
Born of fear, the alliance “was originally supposed to defend Western Europe from the Soviet Union,” Ivan Eland, director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute, said.
The fall of the Berlin Wall changed all that. Now, decades later, the military alliance formed against the Soviet threat, has been long deprived of its enemy.
Fumbling for a clear-cut mission, the North Atlantic Treaty organization has been fighting for justifiable reason to be.
That has not stopped NATO from continuing to pursue a global reach. It has been 20 years since the Warsaw Pact, formed in response to NATO, dissolved, but even without its main geopolitical rival and with the Cold War long over, NATO has aggressively expanded. Their current operations span several countries, with troops and resources in Sudan, Kosovo, the Horn of Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Mediterranean Sea.
In November, they redefined their goals going forward, at the summit in Lisbon, wanting to tackle everything from nuclear disarmament, to terrorism and cyber security.
The redefinition was adopted amidst protests on the streets.
“NATO is out of date and out of time. We need a world of peace and justice, not one preparing for yet more wars,” advocates British MP Jeremy Corbyn.
And the NATO members have already been divided over the near decade-long war in Afghanistan. NATO has not prevailed there, calling into question the alliance’s mission.
“There was every expectation that with the end of the cold war NATO would be disbanded. Instead what happened in fact and in violation of accords and agreements at that time was NATO aggressively expanded” Sara Flounders of International Action Center told RT.
Critics say US defense companies are benefiting most from this expansion, with the sales of weapons to every new NATO member and the building of every new base and that growth allows other tools to be used.
Lawyer and author Eva Golinger believes, “It has changed, altered militarily to become also this very powerful political entity that is used to pressure countries to bow down to NATO’s agenda – NATO’s agenda being primarily a US agenda.”
It is an agenda some countries see as a threat and critics of that agenda right in the US say its global expansion must be stopped.
Manager of the Stop NATO campaign Rick Rozoff shared, “I don’t believe there’s anything that justifies NATO’s existence, at least in terms of world security and peace.”