Case Study on NATO Expansion

NATO is an abbreviation for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It is also known as the North Atlantic Alliance. This treaty was critical in the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which was signed on 4th April, 1949 between some European countries and North America. The organization was formed to cater for the mutual interests of the member states. It was formed as a defense alliance. The relationship between the western powers and the soviet had been worsening and the Soviet Union had successfully managed to install Communist governments in Western Europe. Territorial disputes and hostility among countries in Europe was a threat to peace and stability in Europe countries and also across the globe (Dunning, 1998).

The communists were blamed for encouraging the spread of these hostilities, for instance, in Greece, where they were said to be supporting guerrilla warfare. The relationship between America and the Soviet Union was ever worsening. Hostility between countries like United Kingdom and Germany was beyond repair. The Third World War was, therefore, eminent and countries thought that, any time they could find themselves engulfed in the Third World War. This made most of the world politics unstable and hence called for preparedness for self-defense. It is as a result of this, that some European countries joined hands with America to make them powerful enough to repel any attacks from their political rivals. The organization is made up of collective defense systems in which the involved member states have a mutual agreement to defend any member state from attacks from external parties. The organization`s headquarters is based in Brussels in Belgium, which is one of the 28 member states forming the organization. It has a well-organized military base and has a budget of almost 70% of total military spending in the world (Barany, 2003).

The expansion of North Atlantic Treaty Organization

From a Realism Point of View

Realism is the view that the world politics is usually driven by self-interests of countries that want to gain superiority by becoming politically powerful and influential. It is the disagreement that the dominant dynamic of the international system is actually a struggle for power amongst countries. As a result of fears of an occurrence of a Third World War, given that the world had already witnessed the First and the Second World Wars, the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization became necessary. However, today the organization is seen as a mechanism used and manipulated by the United States for its own political interest. Other countries such as Georgia and Ukraine are thought to be using a realism perspective as far as this issue of NATO’s expansion in the world, nowadays, is concerned.

In realism theory, when one country welfares from a given policy, certainly, another country will consequently lose from the policy. Therefore, it results into a zero-sum game where the benefits of one country are cancelled out by the loss of another country. The modern realism and realist ideas emerged from actual failure to preserve the world peace even after the First World War. It was noted that all countries cared about their own power, and the ability to be seen as more superior than others. It is the superiority factor that was at stake and not the world peace. Hans Morgenthau (1954), after fleeing the Nazi rule in Germany, raised an argument in which he stated that the “international politics just like all politics, is a struggle for power”.  True to his words, this statement has been confirmed in many occasions when it has become apparent that NATO is being manipulated to protect political interests of some countries at the expense of others. For instance, many are of the view that the former President of United States (George W. Bush) forced the inclusion of Georgia and Ukraine into the union for his country’s political interest and not for the purpose of maintaining peace in the world. He was seen to create an imbalance in Europe and create tensions in the former members of the Soviet Union by further announcing that the United States was in support of a plan that would fundamentally antagonize Russia by placing NATO troops in its neighboring countries that were originally part of it (Black, 2000). This angered many states in Europe, including Russia, who felt their security was being breached. It made Georgia and Ukraine to jointly benefit from the plan at the expense of Russians and other neighboring countries that were not allowed to join the union. France and Germans, who were opposed to inclusion of Georgia and Ukraine, felt that it could cause power imbalance in Europe and probably, lead to another Cold War in Europe (Black, 2000).

From Liberalism Point of View

This is a political philosophy or a worldwide view, which is founded on liberty and equality ideologies. It could also be termed as a political system that favors social progress through reforms and changing laws rather than through revolution. Liberalists view NATO expansion as based on worldwide ideologies that are meant to promote equality and liberty for the member nations of the organization as a whole. It is, therefore, seen as an organization of democratic states, which is based on shared values, and therefore, acts wherever it is necessary to assert the validity of the values and concepts of the liberal world order. It is believed that security is closely linked with democracy. In order to foster peace in the world, it is inevitable to establish democratic institutions that will help to promote equality and liberty across the member states of NATO (Barany, 2003).

The expansion of NATO also aims at liberalizing the economy of the member states coming up with free trade policies that will foster frequent interactions among countries, hence making them friendly to another and hence promoting peaceful coexistence. It also enhances the formation of cosmopolitan law that is meant to enhance liberty and equality of all member states. The idea behind this is that once many countries are operating on common ideologies that are liberal, the possibility of conflicts arising is minimized and checked. The liberalists argue that, the organization has a duty to act whenever and wherever it is necessary to stamp its authority, in case, values of equality for all people and liberty are being threatened. It is for these reasons that the mandate of the organization, which was initially to defend its member states against attacks by an external force has greatly been altered to give it powers to act outside this jurisdiction. The “out of area” missions have been on the rise for the organization. Its involvement in Afghanistan conflicts and its support for the African union in Sudan are among the many involvements that the organization has carried out in order to promote equality and liberty as well as to advance morality across the world. The idea of globalization and sharing of common values is argued to be among the major reasons for its expansion. Its expansion is also aimed at including the likeminded states that have common ideologies on liberty and equality.

From Marxism Point of View

According to this theory, the expansion of NATO is mainly seen as the establishment of capitalistic economy in Europe and other areas where it extends its influence. The expansion of NATO is simply seen as the development of capitalistic empire. With the absence of the Soviet Union, the United States has taken the opportunity to expand and dominate new markets in Central and Eastern Europe. The expansion of NATO ensured that its investments as well as political influence could grow without raising concerns (Pease, 2008). The capitalism, which the member states of the organization have entirely adopted, is a victim to economic shocks in the domestic market. When the wage rate for a given production process is rising and the prices of the products are falling, it reaches a point where the productivity goes below sustainable levels hence the need to venture into external markets. As a result of this, expansion of NATO was encouraged so that new and vibrant markets where low wages and high prices on products can be charged are found. This would enable member states to gain materially and accumulate wealth by venturing in new markets provided by allowing new members to join the organization.

From a Feminism Point of View

The feminists argue that the organization expansion is in pursuit of achieving equal political, economic and social rights for women. From the feminist’s point of view, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization expansion is meant to promote social justice for the people considered to be weak in the society, especially, women and children who live in war torn areas. It also provides food aid in areas like Sudan, which have been in conflict for quite a long time leaving the women and children in a desperate state and in dire need of assistance. It makes a pursuit to give equal opportunity to both men and women in the society and to promote women superiority by promoting men inferiority (Pease, 2008). It aims to dispel the belief that some gender is better than the other one. It also aims at expanding opportunities for women even in combat positions and to fight against sexual harassment.

From My Own Point of View

From my own point of view, much as the Marxism, feminism and liberalism arguments are quite true, the main reason for the expansion of NATO is best captured by the realism theory. The organization mainly used for political, economic and social interests.