Seven decades after its founding, NATO is in the middle of an "existential crisis", with German resistance to President Trump's demand that members commit 2 per cent of GDP to defence spending threatening to destroy the bloc, the Spiegel magazine claims.
According to the publication, while Germany is pinching pennies and calling into question plans to raise defence spending even to 1.5 per cent of GDP by 2024, the alliance is facing issues in the south and southeast as well. Turkey, the magazine notes, is gradually moving away from the alliance and toward Russia, while Italy's authorities are "flirting" with Moscow and Beijing, the West's other major 'geostrategic adversary'.
According Spiegel, the worst case scenario is for the alliance to unravel altogether, with the US withdrawing and the Europeans blaming Berlin for the fiasco.
Spiegel notes that if Germany's budgetary planning does not change, Berlin will not be able to fulfil even its 2017 pledge to create three additional fully equipped divisions for the army with about 20,000 troops each by 2031.
Speaking to the publication, SPD lawmaker Rolf Mutzenich suggested that NATO's problem stems partly from its lack of political function. "An alliance which justifies its existence only by the Russian threat has no future," Mutzenich said. According to the politician, the Western bloc will retain its right to exist only if it is prepared to contribute to the strengthening of the UN and the EU in security policy.