The New York Times admits that NATO exists to control the European nations, not defend them:
Many observers expected NATO to close shop after the collapse of its Cold War rival. But in the decade after 1989, the organization truly came into its own. NATO acted as a ratings agency for the European Union in Eastern Europe, declaring countries secure for development and investment. The organization pushed would-be partners to adhere to a liberal, pro-market creed, according to which — as President Bill Clinton’s national security adviser put it — “the pursuit of democratic institutions, the expansion of free markets” and “the promotion of collective security” marched in lock step. European military professionals and reform-minded elites formed a willing constituency, their campaigns boosted by NATO’s information apparatus.
When European populations proved too stubborn, or undesirably swayed by socialist or nationalist sentiments, Atlantic integration proceeded all the same. The Czech Republic was a telling case. Faced with a likely “no” vote in a referendum on joining the alliance in 1997, the secretary general and top NATO officials saw to it that the government in Prague simply dispense with the exercise; the country joined two years later. The new century brought more of the same, with an appropriate shift in emphasis. Coinciding with the global war on terrorism, the “big bang” expansion of 2004 — in which seven countries acceded — saw counterterrorism supersede democracy and human rights in alliance rhetoric. Stress on the need for liberalization and public sector reforms remained a constant.
In the realm of defense, the alliance was not as advertised. For decades, the United States has been the chief provider of weapons, logistics, air bases and battle plans. The war in Ukraine, for all the talk of Europe stepping up, has left that asymmetry essentially untouched. Tellingly, the scale of U.S. military aid — $47 billion over the first year of the conflict — is more than double that offered by European Union countries combined. European spending pledges may also turn out to be less impressive than they appear. More than a year after the German government publicized the creation of a special $110 billion fund for its armed forces, the bulk of the credits remain unused. In the meantime, German military commanders have said that they lack sufficient munitions for more than two days of high-intensity combat.
Whatever the levels of expenditure, it is remarkable how little military capability Europeans get for the outlays involved. Lack of coordination, as much as penny-pinching, hamstrings Europe’s ability to ensure its own security. By forbidding duplication of existing capabilities and prodding allies to accept niche roles, NATO has stymied the emergence of any semiautonomous European force capable of independent action. As for defense procurement, common standards for interoperability, coupled with the sheer size of the U.S. military-industrial sector and bureaucratic impediments in Brussels, favor American firms at the expense of their European competitors. The alliance, paradoxically, appears to have weakened allies’ ability to defend themselves.
Yet the paradox is only superficial. In fact, NATO is working exactly as it was designed by postwar U.S. planners, drawing Europe into a dependency on American power that reduces its room for maneuver. Far from a costly charity program, NATO secures American influence in Europe on the cheap.
In related news, Germany has announced that it is sending its last 20,000 155mm artillery shells to Ukraine, along with 25 more Leopard tanks, which along with the 29 Leopards previously provided, represent 24 percent of its total armor. By the current rate of usage in Ukraine, the ammunition will last just under one week.
This is an astonishingly risky decision by the German government, since once Russia wins the war of attrition and completely depletes all NATO stocks, it may find that it has the option of rolling all the way to the English channel without any meaningful opposition even if it previously had no intention of doing so.