The review of reviews. Former US President Donald Trump was attacking NATO as “obsolete”. French President Emmanuel Macron in an interview with The Economist in 2019, spoke about his ” brain death “ about the tensions within the Alliance and in particular of a Turkey behaving more like an adversary than an ally. The Russian invasion of Ukraine gave back all its raison d’être to this organization born in 1949, as a political alliance and then as a military organization against the Soviet bloc.
“What is NATO for? “, title the review International issueswhich devotes a rich dossier to the subject, written just before these last events but which allows us to grasp their scope much better.
NATO has had two lives. The first, during the Cold War, quite simple in the face of the Warsaw Pact in a world divided into two blocks. The second, after the collapse of the USSR, was much more complicated for the organization, even if Vladimir Putin now does it the immense service of giving it back a clearly identifiable enemy.
“It is clear that NATO has not defined its role in the current international disorder”, notes the director of the journal, Serge Sur. He points out that “If it was an effective shield for forty years, has it not become a strategic sieve, ineffective in the face of new security threats such as international terrorism, societal conflicts, mass migrations, cyber threats? »
The organization was and remains twofold. On the one hand, the Atlantic Alliance, political authority and receptacle of all the tensions between allies. On the other hand, the military organization rather spared by these crises but confronted with the deep dissymmetries of the military potentialities of the thirty Member States. It was only after 1989 that NATO carried out military interventions (Kosovo, Afghanistan, Libya, etc.) and the post-Cold War period forced it to ask itself crucial existential questions. How far can, or should, the Alliance expand after the integration of the former popular democracies of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics, such as the Baltic countries?
One of the richest contributions resonating with current events is that of the Deputy Director of the Foundation for Strategic Research, Bruno Tertrais, who looks back on the history and issues of these enlargements by dismantling Moscow’s argument which accuses the West of not having kept their commitments of 1989.
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