The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), having an international alliance with 29 member states from North America and Europe, has once again indulged in clashes with its partners. The disagreement between the NATO allies emerged with French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent statements.
On Thursday, Macron stated that NATO was suffering from a lack of coordination, accusing the US of “turning its back” on the other 28 members of the alliance.
“What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO,” said Macron.
The accusations were based on the US troops withdrawal from northeastern Syria, without consulting the NATO allies. Furthermore, Turkey’s military intervention in Syria disrupted the peace and harmony between the 29 member states, many of whom have held the US responsible for the offensive.
The NATO alliances together support Turkey with defensive missile systems and an increased naval and air presence.
The French president’s indication towards the suffering of NATO allies was agreed upon by non-member country Russia, whose relations with the organization severed following Russia’s 2014 military intervention in Ukraine that continued into 2019.
“Golden words… a precise definition of the current state of NATO”, said Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
The NATO partners, Germany and the US, while arguing over the 70-year-old alliance’s worth have dismissed Macron’s statements.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated Macron’s comments as over-reacting, saying, “The French president has found rather drastic words to express his views.”
With 12 original founding member states, NATO was established in April 1949 with the aim of defending its member nations from threats by communist countries, safeguarding the freedom and security of its members through political and military means. Another essential aim was to maintain the US’ presence in Europe.
Following the NATO allies’ arguments, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned that a weakened transatlantic alliance could “divide Europe”.
The existing clash of national interests, values and visions of the future in many European countries have endangered its unity over the long run, and the distancing Europe from North America would further weaken the alliance, adding to the divisions of Europe, drifting the continent apart.
US State Secretary Mike Pompeo stated NATO was “important, critical”.
Stating that Europe has the capacity to defend itself, Macron said, “We should reassess the reality of what NATO is in light of the commitment of the US.”
Following the US-China trade war that has often portrayed both the countries as the sole global powers, Macron focused on rapprochement with Moscow as an important measure.
It is not the first time that NATO allies have clashed in their views. A similar clash in arguments over Eastern Mediterranean region was seen during 2018 where it was proven that the interests of Turkey, and its NATO allies – the United States and the European Union – were quickly diverging.
In the past Russia continued to flex its military might by reinforcing its presence in Syria’s Tartus, while Iran, on the other hand, has attempted to move its bases closer to the Mediterranean, resulting in clash of NATO allies, which directly or indirectly have invested in these non-member states.
Meanwhile, a NATO summit to discuss these issues is scheduled to take place next month.