Riding the NATO Seesaw

These are some pretty dicey times for all of Europe, to say the least. They have an ultra-defiant and aggressive Russian bear knocking at their doorstep. Even sanctions that all but crippled the Russian economy did nothing to change the country’s rulers from staying steadfast on their current course to regain some lost territory after the breakup of the old Soviet Union. In the face of this aggression, the USA has tried to strengthen NATO and get its other members to pitch in more, but the results have been very mixed. Part of the reason that Russia has been so defiant is because they do not see the alliance as one that will ever be able to effectively come together and oppose them.

So what is the current state of NATO? That appears to be the million dollar question as far as the NATO alliance is concerned. At times, the member nations show solidarity with each other and other times some member nations could not possibly be further outside of the mainstream thinking of the rest of the group. As usual, France is one of the key members of this powerful military alliance that continues to send mixed signals to fellow NATO members.

NATOWhat is up with France?

In a surprising move, the unpredictable French decided to up the ante in their role in the air defense of Europe. Much to the delight of their fellow NATO member nations, France announced that they would play an active role in ‘air policing’ the region. With the French plugging the gaps, NATO now has a seamless air defense across Europe to protect against such threats as Russian incursions into NATO airspace and terrorist plots that may be carried out by air.

Even with the progress toward a bigger commitment to its NATO alliance, France also continued to stress that it reserves the right not to join fellow NATO members in a conflict if it so chooses. That is hardly the stuff that the strong fabric of an alliance is made of, and it’s actions and counteractions like those that lead NATO member nations to scratch their heads and wonder if they can count on the French in a pinch.

None of this should come as a big shock, because France has long been a non-committal member of the alliance. Remember, they left the alliance altogether in 1966 and did not return until 2009. That was a somewhat surprising move by a nation that was saved not once, but twice in one century by an alliance of nations.

Hope for the future

There are some signs of hope on the horizon for NATO, and France’s participation in air patrols is one of them. There has also been an unprecedented level of cooperation on the subject of missile defense, which has seen new installations spring up since it was first given the go-ahead in 2012. Make no mistake about it; the NATO member nations need each other more than ever, but they must come together and act as a single minded entity before the rest of the world will take notice of them again.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Craig Smith

Craig has been writing for several years but just recently made freelance writing a full time profession after leaving behind 26 years working in the swimming pool construction industry. He served four years in the US Air Force as an Imagery Interpreter Specialist in Okinawa, Japan and at SAC Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. As a staunch supporter of law enforcement personnel, emergency medical technicians, firemen, search and rescue personnel and those who serve in the military, Craig is proud to contribute to the US Patriot blog on their behalf.
Craig Smith
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