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What is the future of NATO? Show more Show less

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) was formed in 1949 as a Western military alliance to deal with the growing threat of the Soviet Union. However, since the break-up of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, it has struggled to define itself in the 21st century. This has led some to speculate whether the military alliance has a future?

NATO will be dismantled Show more Show less

NATO no long serves a purpose.
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NATO is too expensive

Some NATO members refuse to pay their fair share of defence costs, forcing other members to shoulder the increasing cost of collective security. This tension over spending will inevitably lead to the alliance's collapse.
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Context

NATO is funded through countries providing direct and indirect contributions. Historically the USA has made large contributions than smaller member states, due in part to the USA's role as a global military and superpower. In 2019, the USA accounted for 70% of the total spending on defence by NATO governments and currently funds 22% of all NATO spending.

The Argument

Since taking office in January 2017, US President Donald Trump has attacked other NATO member states for failing to 'pay their fair share' and has questioned the amount of money the US spends in comparison to its European counterparts, asking 'who really gets more benefit from that?'[1] Despite NATO members collectively pledging to meet a 2% target of spending their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defence by 2024, several prominent European countries continue to fail to meet this commitment. This has led to several public arguments around funding, with Trump directly attacking German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Rising tensions between the USA and its European NATO partners built on a continued hesitancy from European partners to increase defence spending in the face of domestic constraints, makes NATO's future look increasingly bleak. Even if every European NATO member meets the 2% GDP target by 2024, Trump has already called for NATO members to go further and commit to doubling the target to 4%. This moving goal post will leave many countries questioning the future of the military alliance and whether it will ultimately survive the presidency of Trump.[1]

Counter arguments

NATO spending among European members has improved since Donald Trump first raised the issue. 2019 marked the fifth year in which total defence spending among NATO member states grew. Aside from the USA, there are currently eight NATO members that spend at least 2% of GDP on defence. While fifteen NATO countries report that they will meet the 2% GDP target by 2024.

Framing

Premises

[P1] NATO members outside of the US do not shoulder their fair share of the economic burden. [P2] NATO will collapse over disputes over money.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Other countries do take their fair share of the economic responsibility of NATO.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-44717074l

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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 11 Mar 2020 at 15:58 UTC