North Atlantic Treaty Organization commonly referred to as "NATO” is a military alliance formed in 1949 in the capital of the United States of America, Washington, with an aim to counter the growing influence of Soviet Union in Europe and elsewhere. Almost all the member countries had capitalist economies and their shared fear of increasing threat of Communism bind them into such a military alliance. NATO remained committed to its original mission to deter the Soviet Union till the dismemberment of Soviet Union in 1991. After the fall of the Soviet Union newly independent former soviet republics also joined the organisation to give it a phenomenal military and political strength.
Currently, NATO has 28 member states that had to contribute 2 percent of their Gross Domestic Product according to the rules of the organization; however, this has not been the case. Trump on the pretext of that reason has criticised NATO and even called it as “obsolete” which drew much attention from the world and NATO members. Recently, in a meeting with the representatives of NATO countries in the Belgium capital of Brussels, the American secretary of defence, James Mattis, called upon the member states to contribute 2 percent of their GDP according to their pledge. He told the representatives that the each country should contribute funds to the collective security because America no longer can take responsibility for their security.
These statements from the American President and defence secretary signify the growing frustration of American at their allies but does it reaches to the level that NATO can be called as “obsolete” and what will be the implications of the absence of NATO for the member states? Trump’s impatience and lack of diplomatic experience may indulge him into dismantling or leaving NATO but American establishment and security apparatus know the importance of NATO. Firstly, the security situation in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and other areas of turmoil cannot be handled alone by the United States of America. The growing threat of Daesh in Iraq and Syria and its expansion into the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan is a worrying sign for USA and Trump cannot handle it without the cooperation of his allies. Secondly, the recent spate of Missile tests from North Korea and Iran is also a threat to the American influence in the region and the need of allies to counter both the countries is undoubted.
Thirdly, the Chinese assertive policy in the South and the East China Sea is also the reason of growing discontent among the American allies. China is establishing artificial islands in China Sea to further boost its military strength in the area. Allies’ cooperation with America is highly important to deal with China because America has no direct stakes in the conflict but is acting at the behest of allies to enforce the international maritime boundaries which China challenges on the basis of its 9-dash line. Lastly, the most important and threat is that from Russia in the East Europe. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine and now is supporting the separatist rebels in the so-called Donbass and Donetsk regions. This has carried shivers among the countries of the Baltic region that are looking towards NATO’s support to deter any Russian aggression. Trump may call the NATO as “obsolete” but from the Western point of view, it is not even near to be called obsolete.