Wednesday, November 16, 2016

To NATO or Not To NATO

During the 1970's there was a wide held belief that the world peace was being held together by a unique blend of distrust, revulsion and the painful memories of a terrible war that had killed approximately 3% of the worlds population. A horrifying number, particularly if you lived in Europe, or Asia, where most of the dying actually happened.

It was also a fairly widely held belief that any one of three occurrences would be enough to stir the pot sufficiently to cause the next power struggle that would drag neighboring countries in and start the whole ugly fiasco all over again;
  1. The reunification of Germany
  2. The dissolution of the Soviet Union
  3. The elevation of China to a true world power.
It was assumed that any one of these things alone could be enough to ignite the flames. But, somehow, the world lived through all three. 

It might have been the threat of nuclear holocaust. Possibly the united front provided by NATO, or it might have been the terrible pain caused by World War II. Whatever the reason it is safe to say that avoiding a war of that scale is probably a wise move.

Assume, for the minute, that NATO begins to doubt the security provided by American forces. Nature, and international politics both abhor vacuums. Some national power will step, more or less easily, into the leadership role. 

Of all the nations in the NATO alliance who is the most likely to assume the mantle of Europe's protector. Germany, with a GDP of 3,032.8 billion Euros, and the only country in Western Europe with a budget surplus, is the probable candidate. Particularly considering its proximity to Russia, and the overwhelming need to defend the countries on the eastern border. 

Along with dramatic increases in conventional military spending they would feel the inescapable need to arm themselves with a nuclear deterrent able to counter the threat posed by Russian nuclear forces.

It is not difficult to imagine the discomfort caused by an elaborately armed, nuclear tipped German army ready to roll into Poland or Czechoslovakia. It is equally easy to understand Germany's reluctance to accept a protracted armored land war being fought on their homeland. The scars of the last conflict are still visible.

The old saying "those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it" is the story of mankind, from the earliest days, Cycles of prosperity and destruction, growth, war and pestilence rolling like a boulder crushing mans existence. It is possible that the rapid pace of technological innovation will allow us to forget the hard learned lessons much more efficiently, in years instead of generations. But, that remains to be seen, doesn't it?

Until next time, keep smiling, keep talking to each other, and hope for the best.