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Testing the NATO Alliance: Afghanistan and the Future of Cooperation

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NATO remains the strongest alliance that the world has ever known. NATO's summit, however, revealed the weakness of that alliance. Contrary to the spirit of the NATO treaty, some countries are doing much more in Afghanistan than others. The discrepancy is so great that it is almost misleading to call it a NATO mission. On the ground, Afghanistan does not look like a NATO mission, but a deployment of an ad hoc alliance. This impression is bolstered given that eight non-NATO countries are also contributing troops. This arrangement calls into question how genuine and useful the alliance will be in the future. It is no good to argue that NATO countries should share the burden more equally.

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									                                                       EndpapEr


     Testing the NATO Alliance
     afghanistan and the Future of Cooperation
                                                                                          azEEm ibrahim



     a
                    t the heart of the alliance is article five of   does nothing to help the spirit of nato´s commitment
                    the north atlantic treaty: if one nato           to collective security.
                    member is attacked, all will respond. now,            these three inequalities—uneven deployment, un-
                    as US President obama reminded us in             even operational commitment, and conditional deploy-
                    Strasbourg, nato “remains the strongest          ment—mean that on the ground, afghanistan does not
     alliance that the world has ever known.” nato’s summit,         look like a nato mission, but a deployment of an ad
     however, revealed the weakness of that alliance. Contrary       hoc alliance. this impression is bolstered given that eight
     to the spirit of the nato treaty, some countries are            non-nato countries are also contributing troops. this
     doing much more in afghanistan than others. the                 arrangement calls into question how genuine and useful
     discrepancy is so great that it is almost misleading to call    the alliance will be in the future. It is no good to argue
     it a nato mission. Countries cannot share the benefits          that nato countries should share the burden more
     of collective security without sharing its burdens too.         equally. that will not be enough to persuade skeptical
     troops are needed to support the upcoming afghan                governments to offer more troops. the truth is that the
     elections, to train afghan soldiers, and to rebuild the         differences in deployment levels reflect real differences
     country. But all of this depends on the security situation;     of public and political opinion. Unfortunately, there is
     the most urgent need is for troops to fight the taliban.        no reason to expect that they should agree in the future
           there are three inequalities here. First, too many        either, as there is no longer agreement on what constitutes
     countries want do too little. Before the summit, the            nato’s mission in afghanistan.
     United Kingdom had 4.6 percent of its forces in af-                  there has been a variety of recent suggestions about
     ghanistan. Canada, the netherlands, denmark, norway,            how to repair this problem. ex-Soviet countries argue
     and estonia all had between 2.5 and 4 percent, and the          that nato should prioritize protection from russia in
     United States had just over 2 percent of its forces there.      light of her action in Georgia. others argue that such
     Similarly, other leading european countries—Germany,            talk threatens the global balance of power and that russi
								
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