The security challenges in Afghanistan have become divisive among coalition states precisely because they expose the old practice of burden shifting and because the United States uncharacteristically has not backed off its insistence for greater military contributions.Transatlantic tensions will very likely become intractable. On the one hand, the old European standbys of claiming overtaxed militaries and implying other allies are not fulfilling their obligations have become threadbare with the United States. But on the other hand, populist attitudes that increased military spending to meet new challenges will threaten cherished social welfare programs appear to have boxed in European governments. The pawns of these national policies are the armed forces, which are deployed into theater as a coalition or Alliance balm and not as a force to render decisive results. Small troop contingents combined with a plethora of national caveats tend to undercut the theoretical advantages of multilateralism. In Afghanistan’s case, the sum appears to be smaller than the whole.
The real issueat stake is not whether success or failure in Afghanistan will endanger the Alliance; rather it is whether the United States will continue to see utility in NATO’s integrated military structure. NATO as an institution will remain because the United States sees utility in its continuance. However, in the future, the United States will likely revert to bilateral negotiations to build coalitions because of the niggard behavior of too many NATO members. Similar to the first Berlin Wall, today’s metaphorical Berlin Wall symbolizes the enslavement of statesmen to the social welfare state and weak political systems. And while future generations will look back and ask why Europe slept when a challenge grew into a threat, this should be the starting point.
NATO alliance in jeaopardy. Consensus is impossible and it has lost its core mission.
Kupchan 8 (Charles A- senior fellow for European Studies, Op Ed NATO Divided, CFR, http://www.cfr.org/publication/15978/nato_divided.html?breadcrumb=/bios/68/charles_a_kupchan)
From Washington’s perspective, Afghanistan is a test of NATO’s ability to remain relevant in the 21st century. Its vision of the alliance is an expansive one: Republicans and Democrats alike talk of turning NATO into a global alliance of democracies, the vehicle of choice for projecting power wherever and whenever common threats arise. From the perspective of many European capitals, NATO has already overreached. Governments across Europeare hard pressed to maintain political support for their current commitments in Afghanistan, not to mention the expanded missions being pushed on them by Washington. For many, NATO is looking less like a vehicle for common defense than one for dragging Europe into distant and unwanted conflicts. This divergence is to some extent to be expected. When faced with a choice between “going out of area or out of business,” NATO chose to depart from its traditional mission of territorial defense, first dispatching forces to the Balkans and then to Afghanistan . But absent the Soviet Union, the allies no longer agree on the imminence or the nature of the threats they confront. The key question for the alliance is not whether such differences can be overcome, but whether they can be tolerated. Like it or not, NATO is growing more unwieldy and a consensus more elusive. The alliance had better make a plan for remaining effective in a world that no longer affords it the comfort of unity.
NATO alliance is nearing its end. It has no adequate military capability or desire.
Melikishvili 9 (Alexander-, Yale Global, NATO’s Double Standards Make for a Hollow Alliance: The Military Alliance is only as strong as its weakest links, http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/nato%E2%80%99s-double-standards-make-hollow-alliance )
Nowhere have the growing cleavages within the alliance been as evident as in Afghanistan, where NATO maintains 50,000-strong contingent under the aegis of the UN-sanctioned International Security Assistance Force. Since August 2003, when NATO took command of the ISAF, this out-of-area operation has repeatedly tested the limits of allied military cooperation in addressing the security challenges in Afghanistan. The US increasingly faces difficulty in forging NATO consensus on the most pressing issues concerning security in Afghanistan. What else can explain that it took close to five years for the allies to reach an accord authorizing military attacks on the country’s burgeoning underground opium-heroin industry? For years, regional experts issued dire warnings that profits from poppy cultivation, which according to UN estimates now account for at least half of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product, support the Taliban comeback. At the October meeting of NATO defense ministers in Budapest, the allies finally hammered out an agreement to authorize military force against Afghan drug lords. However, the NATO members that customarily favor restrictive caveats regarding deployment of their forces, including Germany and Italy, insisted on including a provision that effectively cuts the agreement at its knees. The provision states that attacks on the Afghan narcotics industry will occur only with explicit approval of the respective national governments. In effect, the agreement allows some NATO members to basically opt out of the operations that put their troops in harm’s way. What’s striking is the apparent lack of realization on the part of some European allies that NATO’s failure in Afghanistan will deal a deadly blow to the alliance and may even spell its demise. Britain, the staunchest US ally in NATO and the second largest contributor of troops in Afghanistan, went further in criticizing the inexcusable passivity of some European states. Addressing the conference “NATO at 60: Towards a New Strategic Concept” on January 15, British Defense Secretary John Hutton issued the strongest rebuke, openly accusing some NATO nations of “freeloading on the back of U.S. military security.” Meanwhile, from details leaked to the press by members of the Obama administration, it appears that parameters of new strategy towards Afghanistan will be unveiled at NATO’s 60th anniversary summit in France in early April. Obama plans to capitalize on his popularity in Europe to press allies for increased military and financial contributions, crucial considering Afghanistan’s elections this fall. The lack of adequate military preparedness is the third factor that makes NATO irrelevant. Russia’s actions in Georgia had direct implications for the European security and underscored the importance of contingency planning on the part of NATO. Since 1995, as a matter of official policy doctrine, NATO has not considered Russia a potential source of military threat. Ironically by bullying Georgia, Russia made its perennial fear of Western military encirclement a self-fulfilling prophecy as NATO is taking steps to ensure the security of its most vulnerable members – the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. It’s long been an open secret that airspace above these countries is protected by only four fighter jets. NATO planners belatedly scramble to devise plans to defend these countries from possible Russian military incursion. Unburdened by the toxic legacy of disagreements over the invasion of Iraq, the Obama administration will have an opportunity to reinvigorate Euro-Atlantic ties by launching a comprehensive overhaul of the alliance. Unless NATO undergoes radical internal consolidation, it risks becoming increasingly vulnerable and ultimately extinct.