The NATO alliance is ill suited to twenty-first-century Europe. This is not because Russian President Vladimir Putin says it is or because Putin is trying to use the threat of a wider war in Ukraine to force neutrality on that country and to halt the alliance’s expansion. Rather, it is because NATO suffers from a severe design flaw: extending deep into the cauldron of eastern European geopolitics, it is too large, too poorly defined, and too provocative for its own good.
Established in 1949 to protect Western Europe, NATO was a triumph at first. It held an advancing Soviet Union at bay, kept the peace, and enabled the economic and political integration of Western Europe. After the end of the Cold War, the United States and various countries in central and southeastern Europe encouraged a dramatic enlargement of the alliance,opening NATO’s doors to more than a dozen nations in successive rounds of expansion. Today, the alliance is a loose and baggy monster of 30 countries, encompassing North America, western Europe, the Baltic states, and Turkey. This expanded NATO wavers between offense and defense, having been involved militarily in Serbia, Afghanistan, and Libya. The sheer enormity of the alliance and the murkiness of its mission risk embroiling NATO in a major European war. Läs artikel