Initially imagined as a mutual defensive alliance, NATO’s initial purpose is long gone, and the alliance seems to be drifting inexorably toward being a collective lobby for military spending alliance-wide.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen spent yesterday browbeating member nations who, facing massive budget deficits, are considering cutting military spending. Today, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta joined in.
Focusing primarily on condemning “irresponsible” considerations of cuts in US military spending, Panetta also piled on for the rest of the alliance, warning that NATO’s readiness is at stake and its militaries could be “stretched too thin.”
Of course entirely absent in all NATO conversations is whether they could avoid being overstretched by simply not starting so many wars, and with officials starting with the assumption that NATO must be able to start any and all conflicts that strike their fancy at any given moment, they continue with the conclusion that spending must always grow.