If Warsaw Pact is dead, then why NATO is Alive?


Military thinkers dating back to Thucydides in the 5th century B.C. have theorized on why countries form security alliances. According to Thucydides, Nations band together to dissuade or go to war because of "honour, fear, and interest." Tatsuya Nishida, an expert in International Relations and Alliance Politics, theorized that in general, the existence of danger or hostile power is an essential prerequisite for creating a security alliance. Paul Schroeder, an expert on partnerships, goes a step further and proposes three motivations for alliance formation:

  1. To counteract a danger.
  2. To accommodate a threat through a "pact of restraint."
  3. To provide big powers a "tool of control" over lesser nations.

U.S.-led westerns had their collective mutual interests they had formed a coordinated NATO alliance, NATO was created in 1949 by 28 European states. It was a military alliance with a primary purpose to encounter Communism ideology and USSR expansion. As a response to NATO, the USSR created Warsaw Pact in 1955 and its Allies for mutual security cooperation, primarily to hold USSR might over capitalism globally. In the aftermath of World War, the world was divided into two blocks, capitalism by Western power, especially the United States of America, and Communism, backed by USSR and its Eastern loop. These two ideologies are the form of governments, having their principles and rules to administer the state setup. To run the world, U.S. and USSR got engaged in proxy over other territories to achieve their national interests. A Series of ideological wars started between capitalism and Communism for decades after World War 2. The world witnessed bloody wars fought on other territories between the two contradicting ideologies sponsored by U.S. and USSR, respectively. Korean War from 1950 to 1953 with approximately 5 million causalities followed by Vietnam War, started in 1955, fought for twenty years with a massive loss of innocent people. Another Afghanistan War on Afghan land between USSR and U.S. backed mujahedeen fought for almost one decade from 1979 to 1989 that resulted in the disintegration of USSR in 1991 and Warsaw Pact dissolved.

Given the significant changes in the global security environment over the previous 20 years, NATO currently finds itself embroiled in contentious debates about threat identification and expenditure of resources to avert or guard against them. Because of the Alliance crippling activities in geopolitics, many believe it is on the point of divergence and eventual collapse. Despite these disagreements and complaints, NATO attracts new members and deployments, indicating that the 61-year-old organization may have more worth to provide. The Western military Alliance's thirty countries currently account for 53 percent of global GDP. Half of that amount comes from the United States, while the other half comes from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. These non-US NATO members have a total GDP bigger than China's and more than twice as much if the United States is included.

Now keeping in view the historical facts, NATO accomplished its primary objective with USSR splitting off. So, NATO must have been dissolved at the time, especially when the Warsaw pact melted, but it did not. Its members increased, and the military might get more strengthened with time. Here the point to understand is that what makes NATO alive? Was NATO still afraid of Russian expansion or another world war? Or NATO itself wants to expand its roots around the world? Is NATO a security alliance for Europe or merely U.S. interest serving puppet? The answers can be seen in the ongoing Ukraine crisis between Russia and Ukraine started on 24th February 2022.

Collective defence alliances disband shortly after the threat they initially grouped with to avert or resist vanishes. According to a study of military alliances from the previous 500 years, 47 of the 63 major military alliances have disbanded. The majority of groups that dissolved — 40 in all – have a collective defence as their primary goals. And as a result of the danger being eliminated, two-thirds of the coalitions created around a promise of collective security disbanded (or being overpowered by it).

Fifteen states got independence from the great USSR, and Ukraine is one. At a nascent stage, Ukraine had one of the enormous atomic piles in 1994 but seeking assurance of security from Russia, the U.S., and the United Kingdom, it disposed of its all nuclear piles for the sake of humanity. But where are these assurances and promises? Why is Ukraine bombing? Is it an indication of another world war? Ukraine suffered and still suffering the devastating consequences of its decision. Crimea's annexation in 2014 by Russia is one of its significant losses.

In the current crisis, hundreds of civilians have died. Millions of Ukrainians are fleeing to neighbouring states for their safety. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made it clear to fight till the last breath for state survival. On the other hand, Vladimir Putin strictly claims to NATO not to interfere; otherwise, Russia will use its Nuclear weapons. United Nations and Joe Biden are making just statements on the ground. Once again, history is repeating itself. The main reason behind the crisis is NATO exercises nearby Russian boundaries. It is again actually the war between U.S. and Russia. 

NATO has left Afghanistan and the Middle East counties in a catastrophic situation. Currently, NATO pushes Ukraine for a bloody war that would take Europe to the brink of war. War will have severe implications in Europe, not only in a single region, but the world will pay a hefty price. The crises must resolve peacefully soon before it's too late. 



Tanzila Aslam is MPhil student pursuing International relations degree from COMSATS

University, Islamabad.

Samiullah Safi is MPhil student pursuing International relations degree from COMSATS

University, Islamabad.