“The war in Ukraine has given NATO a new dynamic, but its conclusion will only raise more questions. For now, the old allies are back together with a sense of transatlantic solidarity unseen since the aftermath of September 2001. This is no small feat when considering where the alliance was just a year and a half ago following the disastrously handled Afghanistan withdrawal. NATO, which had been described by Emmanuel Macron as “brain-dead” just four years ago, has greatly benefited from this renewed transatlantic solidarity, with its primary raison d’être re-affirmed and its boundaries unexpectedly enlarged to cover Finland and, hopefully soon, Sweden.

“NATO’s sudden rejuvenation doesn’t mean we can be complacent. Alliances are not ends in themselves, and there will one day be an end to the war in Ukraine. Whatever its terms, peace will lead to a different situation from the status quo ante, and NATO will have to recalibrate its mission. While a Russian collapse or regime change would be a dramatic signal that NATO needs to reconsider its identity to remain viable, fundamental changes will be in the cards even in less dramatic scenarios.

“NATO’s Shifting Internal Dynamics

“The North Atlantic Alliance’s raison d’être was famously described by NATO’s first Secretary General Lord Ismay in the 1950s: ‘Keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down.’ It is clear today that NATO has succeeded at all those tasks—including keeping ‘the Germans down’ (militarily)—but times are changing. Since the invasion of Crimea in 2014 (and even before) Americans have called on Germans (and more largely Europeans) to re-arm. Since 2022, it seems that this demand is finally being taken seriously in Berlin. If Germany is to re-arm, even within NATO and to keep the Americans in, this would undoubtedly introduce new dynamics within Europe, and more largely within the transatlantic relationship. …”

Up ArrowTop