WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced last week that alliance leaders had agreed on a new command structure that would allow them to move military forces around Europe more quickly and easily.
"NATO is dangerous in the way that the stupid and deluded can be," former Canadian diplomat Patrick Armstrong told Sputnik. "NATO is incompetent, incapable of operations against any but the defenseless and slow and ultimately unsuccessful even at that."
NATO’s efforts to revitalize its command structure and rebuild its military forces ignored the internal disputes that were already tearing the alliance apart, Armstrong added.
"When its principal member starts demanding its members ‘pay their share’, and [several NATO] members regard Washington as a greater threat than Moscow, maybe its final days are upon us," he said.
The new command structure announced by Stoltenberg did not address the decline in commitment among NATO’s European member-states, Armstrong said.
"Militarily NATO is fading. Its navies have a certain capability thanks to the inherent self-contained nature of warships. NATO's air forces can bomb defenseless targets, but NATO's armies have almost disappeared," he observed.
So-called "peacekeeping" missions in countries around the world had distracted and denuded NATO forces from their ability to fight any real war, Armstrong said.
"Years of kicking in doors and patrolling roads hoping there are no IED [improvised explosive devices] are poor preparation for a real war," he suggested. "NATO's national ground forces are equally weak or tied to the endless battlefields of the war on terror."
NATO’s leaders had invented a non-existent threat from Russia in order to justify a new wave of lucrative arms sales to European nations and now the same people were alarmed when Russia responded to the NATO build up, Armstrong explained.
Last week after the NATO defense ministerial in Brussels, Russian envoy to NATO Alexander Grushko said the alliance was justifying measures to overhaul its military by the need to counter all threats, but it is clear they are primarily focused on countering Russia.
"Although NATO has been justifying its measures to overhaul its military potential by the need to counter threats on all fronts, we cannot help noticing that all these efforts are focused on countering Russia," he told Russian reporters in Brussels.
Until his retirement, Armstrong was a Canadian diplomat who was a specialist on the Soviet Union and Russia. He previously served as political counselor in the Canadian Embassy in Moscow.