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NATO: what’s the point?

It was formed as a Three Musketeers style mutual defence alliance. An attack on one was to be treated as an attack on all. The anticipated attack was from the Soviet Union. NATO, with its US led military command based in Brussels, was the key international infrastructure on the Western side of the Cold War — mirrored orcishly by the Warsaw Pact. 

The Warsaw Pact is gone. So is the Soviet Union. The Cold War, pace the traitors of our academia — is won. The Berlin Wall fell and the question Sir Keith Joseph asked my student union long ago has been answered;

if the Berlin Wall were to be taken down, which way would the human tide flow?

The world changed — unexpectedly and very much for the better — and my delightful career helping clients to rebuild post-socialist Eastern Europe was made possible. To what would have been the amazement of my young self, most of my friends are citizens of Warsaw Pact countries. 

So why does NATO still exist?

The dismal science teaches us to distinguish between peoples’ stated preferences (often virtue-signalling lies) and their revealed preferences (how they spend their money). All NATO members say they believe in the alliance. Only four — the USA, the UK, Poland and Greece — meet their obligation to contribute more than 2% of their GDP. If you’re wondering, Greece has only accidentally met that target because of the catastrophic fall in its GDP. 

Opinion polls and my own experience of the bitter, sneering anti-Americanism of my otherwise delightful continental chums suggest that as usual the revealed preference is the truth. The Germans and French would not go to war in defence of America or Britain if we were attacked. Britain was attacked, when the Falklands were invaded, and our “allies” and “friends” sold arms to our enemies and gave them all kinds of moral support. Remember the Welsh Guards (my grandfather’s old regiment) massacred by Exocets fired from Mirages? The USA has often gone to war since the alliance was formed and mostly only British warriors fought, died or were injured alongside theirs.

Germany, France and their freeloading friends have quite simply been taking the piss from the outset. They take the Americans (and us Inselaffen and rosbifs) for mugs. They plot to form an EU Army and regret that Brexit means they won’t be able to continue to rely on English-speakers as their cannon-fodder.   

The continued existence of NATO has fuelled the epic paranoia of Russia’s military/intelligence apparatus. Desperate not to be decommissioned the generals and chekists have claimed that “the West” they grew up opposing is intrinsically hostile — rather than, in truth, insultingly indifferent — to Mother Russia. Their only “proof“ of this nonsense was NATO  

During my 7 years living and working in Moscow I heard well-educated, cultured, principled Russians ask again and again what the hell we were up to in keeping it. I answered airily that all bureaucracies were self-serving and that NATO’s staff (like the chekists) naturally preferred repurposing to redundancy. I was probably right but morally not nearly right enough. Our useless political class had a duty to look past such rent-seeking and — for once — to do the right thing.

They are Dr Frankenstein to Putin’s monster.

NATO is yet another of many examples of the truism that, once a bureaucracy acquires a competence, it will never disband. It continues because it can. The political and economic ills that drove the creation of what is now called the EU have long since faded into history. But the plump parasites of its apparatus have repeatedly repurposed it. Britain is a paradise of social, ethnic and sexual equality compared to the days when the precursors of the Equalities Commission were formed but its staff will find imaginary evils by the thousand before they’ll return to productive labour. Marx would gasp at the generosity of Britain’s welfare state and marvel at the lifestyle of even the poorest Brit and yet trivial micro aggressions are enough to sustain the revolutionary fervour of Marxist academics desperate to live as idly and unproductively as the man himself. 

NATO and these other examples remind me of the pre-reformation medieval church. Their stated objectives sound Godly and noble but their true purpose is to keep a bloated priesthood in luxury. Am I wrong? As always, please put me right, gentles all. 


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That would be good. He says the right things in this respect, but I am not seeing a lot of swamp-clearing yet from POTUS.

Lord T

Agree with you totally. If anyone is going to do something about it; It will be Trump in his next term if he ain't bumped off.


You may well be right. There’s lots of evidence of “Moscow gold” in the CPGB/Labour Party archives in Manchester. Still, the Kremlin does seem to have believed the USA would honour its NATO commitments.


The Kremlin perhaps wasn't too interested in invading Western Europe: it (I guess) expected it to fall into its lap via the communist parties in Italy and France. (And even, I guess, bits of the Labour Party in Britain. And its rather substantial network of traitors in W. Germany.)


We can dream, I suppose. The United Nations is a bigger scam even than NATO. God only knows why the US funds not just its dubious “friends” but its actual enemies through that vehicle.


I disagree. The US has a history of honouring external treaties, though Native American nations have cause to complain about internal ones. If the Russians (as cynical as it comes in relation to geopolitics) had not believed the US would honour the treaty, the Cold War would have warmed up pretty quickly. I try not to be naive but I’d worry if I were more cynical than the Kremlin!


That’s an interesting notion. How does providing defence cover for Germany, France etc actually now advance the USA’s interests? What do the mostly freeloading NATO members give in return that serves the USA? They have mostly been very unsupportive and in the case of Germany have no useful forces even if they were (and opinion polls suggest they’re not) willing to go to war as the treaty requires.


The current "point" of NATO is to project US power to achieve hegemony for the USA.
My fear is that may always have been the point...


Utterly agree.I've been saying this since the wall came down.But because I am just a pleb, useful only to vote now and again to keep alive the democracy myth ,unsurprisingly no-one ever heard me, nor ever will. You deserve better luck with this excellent lucid post.
However. The moment has passed. NATO should have gone soon after the wall as a sort of validation, sign of approval, gesture of goodwill and solidarity. As it is they are even more entrenched as you say. Only Trump might have the sense to pull the plug. Then he could attend to the UN.


No but, yes but, you're spot on.

And anyway, there's not the least chance that the US would risk Chicago in hopes of saving Berlin, Paris, or London.


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