Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Balloons That Get Too Much Air ~ Pacific NATO

Player A: Alex, I would like over-expansion for $400, please.
Alex: Balloons, NATO, Tires

Player B: What are things that will pop when they are enlarged too much?

This piece argues stretches the NATO concept to the point where it might burst.  NATO stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but people love the idea of a Global NATO or a Pacific NATO.  As if adding either members or responsibilities is unproblematic.  In a time of fiscal austerity, one would think expansion is a bad idea.  In the aftermath (well, soon, it is not yet "after") of an unpopular, unsuccessful extended campaign that had severe burden-sharing problems, increasing NATO's realm of responsibility seems unlikely in the extreme.

Getting NATO to agree to modest steps to protect a key member (Turkey) as it faces a civil war next door is hard enough.  Which countries in the Pacific would count as being sufficiently important for NATO efforts?  All of them?  Probably not.  So, who counts?  Already, NATO is contemplating adding Georgia to NATO, when it is hardly an Atlantic country (the Med counts) nor a European one if you trust the geographers.  Worse, a security guarantee from NATO might encourage Georgia to over-step in its handling of its various ethnic and Russian issues.

Again, NATO has a hard enough time dealing with problems close to home.  Is it going to get consensus on stuff around the world? With smaller and more constrained militaries?  Good luck with that.

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