It is always interesting to look back at things you have said in the past.
Some you may regret others seem to ring a resonance of a continuing reality.
When I first published this in 2015 Brian Binley was the Conservative MP for Northampton South and whilst our views of the world didn’t always coincide he was certainly a man who wasn’t afraid to be honest in the views he held.
In the light of the recent speech by Donald Trump to NATO my views of 2015 seem to now have become or are becoming a reality.
The world with President Trump at the helm of the USA is a far more dangerous place which is why NATO is now more than ever as important as it has ever been.
The question the UK is now faced with having decided it no longer wants to be an integral part of the European Union is “are we as committed to NATO as before, or do we take and side with what appears to be the attitude of the Trump USA”?
Originally published Spring 2015
Are we seeing the end of USA commitment to NATO?
Brian Binley the MP for Northampton South is correct to warn against rushing into providing support and arms to a faction or factions of those opposed to the Syrian regime.
If there is one thing we should learn from history it is that ‘the rebels’ or ‘ freedom fighters’ of today, depending on your viewpoint are just as likely to become enemies in the future.
What should be of greater concern is the position being taken by the United States who over recent years has given the appearance of distancing themselves from Europe and more importantly NATO?
When the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) was set up 64 years ago as the collective group of countries designed to block the real threat from the then Soviet Union it naturally, following six years of global conflict included North America.
It easy to forget that included in the North America contingent with the USA was Canada who along with the countries of Western Europe (where by the way does Western Europe actually start?), formed not only a military but also a platform for political and economic discussion and cooperation.
As an organisation committed to ‘mutual defence’ and the prevention of another European War there is no doubt it has been a success and with what is referred to as the ‘fall of communism’ in Eastern Europe and the reunification of Germany a reassessment of the role of NATO took place.
Concerns about retaining over 100,000 troops in Europe have been raised in the United States by a number of important politicians and with the recent death of the last senator who served in the 1939 – 1945 War the debate has increased.
In Europe there are concerns that the role of NATO has been changed to suit the USA’s foreign policy and especially in supporting the USA led “War on Terrorism”.
The concerns are around the changing policy aimed at defending interests outside of Europe such as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
However the expansion of NATO membership to allow former Warsaw pact countries to join has arguably increased the stability of Europe.
Which is why it would be dangerous for NATO to expand its remit and get increasingly involved with conflicts across the World outside of having a UN mandate which is why Brian Binley and those who hold similar views have to speak up?
The question then will be whether the USA sees their commitment and the cost associated with it to NATO as something they want to continue with or will they scale down the commitment and concentrate on the economic opportunities offered by being a Pacific power?
What is certain is that the world financial crisis has made nations revise their thinking of how political co-operation is going to provide future economic stability and opportunities in the future.
Politicians and especially NATO have to think very carefully before they commit to supporting organisations which may well lead to increased tension in Europe and between the East and West.