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NATO is an Obsolete and Expensive Relic

NATO is inflated, over-expensive and should be dissolved. It has outlived its original purpose, and instead of working to include the Russian Federation, it continued to make an enemy of it. If Ukraine can be funded to the degree that it can hold its own against Russia without being a NATO member–NATO has become irrelevant, but it remains an exorbitant cost to the U.S. 


The alliance originally intended to defend Western democracy has become obsolete. Non-intervention and military aid packages are sufficient to defeat the 'mighty' Russian threat.


Russia is both unable and unwilling to conquer Europe, it is not even able to conquer Ukraine. The other emerging threat, China, is similarly focused on Taiwan. Both Russia and China have close linguistic, cultural and historical ties with Ukraine and Taiwan, respectively. These superpowers are militarily focused on pseudo-domestic issues, not global hegemony as the USSR was in the Cold War.


NATO was formed to counter the hegemonic aspirations of the USSR. In 1949, the USSR was an imminent threat to democracy, specifically in Europe. Twelve Western nations joined together to form NATO to oppose the growing global communist influence. The Soviet Union actively sought global domination and competed with the U.S. for global hegemony. The USSR mimicked NATO with the Warsaw Pact.


The USSR collapsed in 1991. After decades of economic erosion, Gorbachev pursued reformist policies that led to the dissolution of the state. Subsequently, the Soviet republics became independent. The Soviet collapse led to the weakening of the Russian state and the end of the Cold War. Importantly, the opponent that NATO was formed to oppose had vanished.


Despite this NATO not only persisted but expanded, the most significant of these expansions included ex-Soviet states in both 96’ and 04’. When Russia invaded Ukraine, many suspected it was an attempt to prevent the state from falling into the hands of ever-expanding NATO. However, Russia is unable to defeat Ukraine, which is an ex-Soviet non-NATO member decisively, thus signaling that it would be unable to threaten individual NATO members like Baltic nations, Poland or Norway. 


Unfortunately, many NATO members are delinquent on the 2% GDP defense spending requirement. This means that the U.S. picks up the slack for an alliance that has outlived its purpose. Meanwhile, Russia, which NATO is intended to defend against, is struggling just to defeat Ukraine.


This indicates that the cost for the existence of NATO is no longer justifiable. The immense amount of aid for Ukraine is evidence that non-NATO members will receive aid regardless of membership status when it is politically and militarily convenient. This leads to the important question, if the West will provide aid to states, regardless of membership, why finance NATO if nations can receive effective aid as a non-NATO member?

NATO should be dissolved in favor of European nations being responsible for their defense. Alliances are not the issue, the issue is that the U.S. is unable to effectively address its domestic problems when it is funding a global military alliance. It is time for domestically focused spending.


It is not as if Russia and China could make functional alliances with former NATO states if NATO is dissolved. These nations are generally liberal democracies and are naturally antagonistic to Moscow and Beijing. It is not as if these ex-NATO nations will spontaneously adopt an affinity for Putin or Xi just to feel safe. Trusting the contemporary U.S. commitment to NATO is certainly a risk, but you would be better off trusting your security needs to a used car salesman than Russia or China.


Multipolarism would be an outcome of NATO dissolution, as well as a universal decrease in the potential outbreak of a great power conflict. However, not only is multipolarism a desirable path to international stability, but it is also a viable option for the rejuvenation of the U.S. Shifting foreign defense spending to domestic issues would likely stimulate economic, social and political healing which is needed in the current state of affairs in the U.S.


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author.


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3 Comments


Well done - your opinion is clear and strong and I really like how you break down NATO's history. Your argument for how it is no longer useful and how Ukraine received aid despite not being a member because it was politically and militarily convenient goes to show how it does not serve a purpose anymore.

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Great piece, Ryan. I can see the argument that NATO has become obsolete. I also like how you point out that there is still a stake and a risk for abandoning NATO but you argue your point with conviction well. Whether it is a reconstruction or a complete tearing, NATO can definitely be reevaluated in our state.

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I also feel that NATO has outlived much of its usefulness. We wouldn’t be where we are today concerning the war in Ukraine if NATO hadn’t needlessly and recklessly expanded eastward after the U.S. made promises to the Russians that it would never do such a thing.

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