Global NATO? I Say No


I’ve spent a huge amount of time trying and failing to compose a long, detailed counterargument to Will Marshall’s case for expanding NATO membership, but I can’t quite get the job done. Instead, here’s a brief issue that Marshall left remarkably unaddressed. First the proposal:

This alliance would be stronger still if expanded to include free nations in other, more volatile parts of the world. Likely candidates include Japan and South Korea, which have entrenched market democracy in East Asia; India, which is modernizing rapidly and dominates South Asia; Australia and New Zealand, liberal bastions in the South Pacific; and Chile and Brazil, which have stood against a rising tide of authoritarianism in South America. More controversially, some Italian leaders have even broached the idea of offering NATO membership to Israel.

Anyone putting this forward really ought to think about the consequences for the NATO mission in Afghanistan. If I were a Pakistani official, I would look on India joining NATO — or even any vague took thereof — as indicating that NATO success in Afghanistan constitutes an existential threat to Pakistan. And if I were a soldier serving in Afghanistan, I really wouldn’t want Pakistan to view me succeeding in Afghanistan as posing an existential threat to Pakistan. In general, the consequences of a move like this for stability on the sub-continent strike me as incredibly frightening.