In an opinion piece in news outlet Bloomberg, author Leonid Bershidsky makes the case that the military alliance does not need a small country with a limited defence budget to join NATO.
“North Macedonia” signed up this week to become the 30th member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. This latest addition to the defense pact, more than any previous one, raises the question of what membership of the alliance really means.
Fox News’s Tucker Carlson has argued that it makes no sense for Americans to die for Montenegro or the Baltic States, even though Article Five of the North Atlantic Treaty requires the U.S. to come to the two countries’ aid if they are ever attacked. Asked by Carlson about Montenegro, President Donald Trump expressed a worry that its “strong, aggressive people” could get the U.S. into trouble.
But Carlson’s position is too extreme: the previous waves of NATO expansion in the Baltic states, and then the Balkans, made strategic sense for the U.S. – as long as it viewed Russia as a long-term adversary.
The first round of new members dramatically constrained Russia’s ability to threaten Western Europe militarily. Even if Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania can’t defend themselves, they increase the cost of attacking for Russia.
Now that the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is dead, NATO’s eastern European members will be especially important: In the event of a major escalation with Russia, missiles capable of hitting any city in the west of Russia within seconds could be placed there.
read more at bloomberg.com