ACCUMULATING PERIPHERALS


Regional blocs, not global ones by mattsteinglass
December 23, 2008, 10:29 am
Filed under: Foreign Policy

Will Marshall thinks we should turn NATO into a global alliance by including Japan and South Korea, Brazil and Chile, Australia and New Zealand, India, and so forth. Matthew Yglesias thinks that’s a bad idea. One of the reasons Yglesias is right comes in Marshall’s first paragraph:

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is the most successful defense alliance in history. Today, however, the alliance is stumbling blind, and it badly needs a new sense of common purpose.

“I’ve got this cool old tool, now I just need some mission for it” is almost never a good way to make policy.

But the main point is that regional military-political blocs like NATO have proven fairly successful in the last 20 years at promoting stability and staging interventions in crises, while interventions by non-regional blocs have been pretty unsuccessful. NATO ultimately did resolve the Yugoslavian mess. East Timor worked because of Australia. In areas where the West is frustrated about long-running crises, such as Burma and Zimbabwe, the only players that can realistically resolve the situations are the regional ones — southern African nations in Zimbabwe, ASEAN in Burma. NATO works because it’s regional and there’s a regional consensus on European norms of governance and European security interests. Diluting that by bringing in lots of very different countries from all over the map would be a big mistake.

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A global NATO is a ruse to impose (supposedly) superior Western values on the rest of the world, especially Asia, via “Soft Power” (read: Political Correctness), to give legitimacy to American imperial interventions without having to get UN approval, and to provide an alliance to possibly confront China militarily in 20 or 30 years. And the “mess” in Yugoslavia is no more solved than the “mess” in Iraq is; a permanent presence of NATO – and more importantly American – troops in the Balkans is required to keep the lid on – and off the front pages of The New York Times.

Furthermore, NATO “works” only because Americans are naïve enough to go along with an unsustainable military budget to guarantee peace and prosperity in Europe.

Comment by Frank




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