09:57 GMT +321 September 2019
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    General view of the NATO main entrance on October 14, 2010 at NATO headquarters in Brussels

    'Third Wheel in the Chariot of History': NATO in Grips of Crisis

    © AFP 2019 / GEORGES GOBET
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    NATO survived the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact but is facing tough times; it has gradually lost its relevance and is facing cuts in priority funding, according RIA Novosti political analyst Alexander Khrolenko.

    Given the breakup of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact, the very existence of NATO should be called into question, especially given that the alliance is gradually losing its priority funding, RIA Novosti political analyst Alexander Khrolenko believes.

    He recalled that currently, only four European NATO member states stick to the alliance's benchmark of members spending 2 percent of their GDP on NATO's defense budget.

    These include the United Kingdom ($60.3 billion), Poland ($9.3 billion), Greece ($4.5 billion) and Estonia ($479 million). 

    The US, on the other hand, spends 3.61 percent of its GDP on defense, according to CNN, an estimated $650 billion. This is more than double what the other 27 NATO countries spent between them, even though their combined GDP tops that of the US.

    "More than 20 European countries and Canada use real or alleged NATO security mechanisms for a purely symbolic price of 254.2 billion dollars," Khrolenko said.

    According to him, NATO lost its defense capacity in the last century, turning into a 'US security service' which spreads its interests and powers worldwide, except within US territory."

    More than twenty years have passed since the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, but NATO and US forces are still in place in Europe, something that can be called "a historical paradox and an element of [the] expensive mythology of modern times," according to Khrolenko.

    "In this vein, Donald Trump's anti-European position reflects Americans' lack of confidence in Washington's ability to engage in constructive pro-European policy," he said.

    He also mentioned the current nuclear parity between Russia and the United States, which indicates that a military conflict between the two countries cannot take place.

    During the presidential race, Trump repeatedly said that Washington should decrease support of other NATO member states and only protect members of the alliance which "fulfill their obligations" to the United States.

    "If Donald Trump believes that the EU and NATO do not deserve US financial support, it won't be so bad. But if he [endorses the] Eurosceptics' policy of dismantling the EU and NATO, Europe will face political upheavals in the future," Khrolenko said.

    On the other hand, Trump has repeatedly stressed the necessity of developing friendly relations with Russia, which was once again underscored during his telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on January 28.

    During the phone conversation, the two Presidents discussed improving cooperation between their countries in the fight against terrorism and the importance of rebuilding bilateral trade and economic ties.

    Trump and Putin also expressed their willingness to work together to "develop and stabilize" US-Russia interaction and assured each other that their nations' citizens view the other's positively.

    "If Trump's intentions [on Russia] turn into an action plan, NATO is bound to become the third wheel in chariot of history," Khrolenko concluded.

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    Tags:
    priority, alliance, territory, crisis, policy, conflict, security, NATO, Donald Trump, United States, Russia
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