NATO heads of government.
NATO heads of government.
Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP

The post-War world order was already unravelling when Donald Trump struck at the founding pillars of NATO, no longer ready to guarantee security in case of an attack on a member-state. The end of the Cold War and the emergence of a unipolar world had loosened the glue that had kept the most successful security alliance together for seventy years. Now, America was looking inwards, unwilling to police the world, China was ready for a global role while Russia under authoritarian Putin was itching to regain its position at the global high table. As a result, NATO is facing an existentialist challenge, with key members such as France, Germany, etc, groping for a way to reinvigorate the alliance with or without the US. That internal challenge to reimagine NATO in view of the rise of China and a bullying Russia would have dominated the agenda of the meeting of the alliance leaders last week to mark its 70th anniversary but for the diversionary role Trump sought to play on the historic occasion. Overnight from a NATO sceptic he had turned into a supporter, chiding President Emmanuel Macron for calling the alliance brain-dead. Macron intended to recast NATO but Trump lacked understanding of the emerging new realities, harping constantly about member-states paying their share of money towards US security forces stationed on Europe's borders for protection against Russian aggression. When first created, NATO intended to keep the Soviet Union out, America in, and Germany down. Seventy years later, Russia is virtually in the door, Germany is up and America is wanting out. To recast NATO is now the challenge for Germany, France and other European States minus Trump’s America, though the US security establishment will ensure sound US association anyway.

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