BEIJING, Jan. 25 (ChinaMil) – The U.S. President Donald Trump emphasized in an interview with European media earlier that NATO is “obsolete” because it had been designed many, many years ago and it could not defend against terror attacks any more. This remark initiated all kinds of guesses in Europe and the U.S. about NATO's future. Where will it go after Trump takes office?
As a matter of fact, “NATO is obsolete” is neither new nor invented by Trump. The arguments have never stopped since the end of the Cold War regarding whether the US-led NATO should continue to exist.
NATO has made constant changes in recent years in an effort to find the best path of development and promote its own strategic transformation amid considerable controversy. But two things have never changed, one being its deep-rooted Cold War mindset and the other being the domination of the United States. The two things decide NATO's nature of following America's global strategy and being an important tool to preserve its global dominance.
Against the existing systems and rules, Trump is bent on taking the unusual road. But many of his assertions are oral for the moment instead of substantial and are in lack of systematic theoretical support.
To put his ideas into practice, Trump has to not only break through the restrictions imposed by the current institutional architecture and political rules of NATO and its member states, but also overcome the social split and confrontation in European and American countries today and pool together enough consensuses. This cannot be achieved by Trump on his own or in a short period of time.
Therefore, Trump's view of "NATO is obsolete" is more like a political stunt that's essentially a security hijacking of his European allies. It is aimed to force them to undertake more security responsibilities, and spend more on national defense and beef up their security forces, so as to lessen the burden of America.
In general, NATO is going to show obvious changes in the following aspects:
First, the European countries and the U.S. won't be as close as before and European countries will rely less on the United States. But the NATO-centered European security architecture won't have fundamental changes. The existence and development of NATO will also force the U.S. to carry out more dialogues and cooperation with its European allies.
Second, NATO will speed up the strategic adjustment and reform, especially enhance its capability of dealing with non-traditional security threats such as terrorism and religious extremism , so as to make sure that it is able to deal with traditional security threats strategically and non-traditional ones tactically. To that end, NATO will attach more importance to overall capability and incorporate political, economic, military, cultural and ideological aspects all in the scope of security capability.
Third, NATO will refrain from overseas military interventions as much as possible. It will retract strategically, select security targets more cautiously, intensify the cooperation with EU and other organizations and reinforce the dialogue and consultation with its members. The purpose is to make up for its own deficiencies, fortify cooperation on European security affairs, and make itself stronger in deterrence, more flexible in reaction and more efficient in action.