OPINION

Existential crisis hits NATO

As the leaders of NATO countries are meeting in Riga, one cannot help but ask the question: What is the use of the transatlantic alliance in the post-Cold War era? The truth is that the once-sturdy alliance is increasingly looking like a huge dinosaur on its way from the prehistoric environment to a contemporary museum. Some countries want to turn NATO into an armed Red Cross-type of organization that can undertake special tasks in corners of the world than need restructuring. After all, there is the famous neocon theory that the USA is meant to do the dirty work, leaving NATO to do the cleanup, which is more or less what has happened in the Balkans. Some want NATO to act as a fig leaf, allowing Washington to recruit allies for its military campaigns. Others want a strong NATO so as to prevent the development of an independent European military arm, while others are looking at NATO membership merely because it’s a less demanding club than the EU. The fact remains that NATO has relinquished its historical role and is looking increasingly like a leftover from the Cold War with no raison d’etre.