NATO also limits our ability to ‘take control’ over policy.
One of the main motives behind the Brexit vote was to ‘take back
control’. This is often cited as evidence of an anti-immigration
sentiment in the Brexit camp, but in fact it refers to a much broader
sense of disenfranchisement and loss of control. And it’s a sentiment
shared by many citizens across the developed world. As the political
theorist Peter Mair has argued, a gap has opened up between citizens and
the state. And the professional political class has responded by
retreating into national and international institutions. The EU has
proved to be the ultimate retreat for elites that are losing their
legitimacy and their connection with citizens.
This ‘hollowing out of Western democracy’, in Mair’s words, has led
to the emergence of some new and sometimes incoherent movements: Occupy,
Nuit Debout in France. Other new movements have solidified and
established themselves as political parties: the Five Star Movement in
Italy, Podemos in Spain, Syriza in Greeze. These movements attract lots
of young people; they’re anti-globalisation, anti-EU, anti-militarism
and anti-establishment, and they, too, want to take back control.
Right-wing populist parties such as Front National in France and Alternative for Germany express a similar sentiment, though in a different way.
However, alongside the EU there’s another political and military
institution that many European states, including Britain, belong to, and
which also has a life of its own, far removed from the daily concerns
of European citizens. And it’s one that pledges states to go to war in
the name of collective self-defence. Yes, it’s NATO. And while the EU is
troubleshooting Brexit, NATO is expanding. The many Europeans concerned
about democracy and sovereignty should also subject NATO to greater
NATO was established by America in 1948 as a military alliance
against the Soviet Union. Lord Ismay, its first secretary general,
famously said the purpose of NATO was to keep the Americans in, the
Russians out and the Germans down. NATO is governed by Article 5, which
commits members to the doctrine that an attack on one is an attack on
all. The Cold War NATO alliance consisted of America, Belgium, Britain,
Canada, Denmark, France, Holland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Norway and
Portugal. Soon after, Greece, Turkey and West Germany joined. Spain
signed up in 1982.
Following the end of the Cold War, there was a big expansion. Former
Soviet and former Yugoslav states were brought in. In 1999 the Czech
Republic, Hungary and Poland joined. In 2004, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia,
Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania joined. Albania and Croatia
joined in 2009. Montenegro looks set to join by the end of the year.
Source: Spiked online