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NATO Needs Updating to Address Rising Chinese Threat

AMAC Exclusive – By Ben Solis

Late last month, a joint force of Russian and Chinese warships was spotted off the coast of Japan, the latest sign both of growing cooperation between the two countries and of China’s increasingly aggressive posture in the Indo-Pacific. While NATO Article V commitments have arguably helped check Russian ambitions to at least some extent in Europe, the lack of a similar arrangement for attacks on Western interests in the Pacific may now leave China – or Russia – feeling more emboldened in the region.

As laid out in Article V of the NATO founding charter, signed in 1949, every member of the alliance agrees that if one member country is attacked, all will come to its aid. Known simply as “Article V,” this agreement was aimed squarely at combatting the threat posed by the Soviet Union. In the wake of the destruction wrought by World War II, Article V was meant to be a deterrent against another European war – this time with nuclear weapons in play.

However, Article V only explicitly covers attacks “on the territory of any of the Parties [member countries] in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France, on the territory of Turkey or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.” In other words, not Western territories or assets in the Indo-Pacific.

This means that key outposts of the United States in the Indo-Pacific region such as Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands are not necessarily protected under the NATO Treaty. Technically, not even the U.S. state of Hawaii is considered part of North America, meaning that a potential Russian or Chinese strike there would not necessarily force a response from America’s NATO allies. Though such a scenario seems unlikely currently, so too did the Japanese strike on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Other NATO member countries face similar concerns. France’s territory of New Caledonia is also within range of a Chinese strike, as are British outposts in the Indian Ocean like Diego Garcia, home to a joint U.S.-British military base.

Updating Article V to cover these territories would go a long way toward modernizing NATO to reflect the global nature of threats faced by Western democracies today while deterring Chinese aggression in the process. While Vladimir Putin has undoubtedly caused great suffering and instability in Eastern Europe, the prospect of a unified Western military response has thus far deterred him from any direct attack on any NATO ally, something which the world can be grateful for. A similar arrangement in response to today’s greatest threat to democracy, China, could have a similar effect in deterring the Chinese Communist Party’s expansionist aims in Asia.

Additionally, raising the discussion about collective security commitments in Asia would be a first step toward solidifying a unified Western military response to China, something which is urgently needed amid Chinese advances in missile technology. As China continues to expand its space program, there are also signs that the CCP plans to use space and even the moon to develop military assets – including space-based missiles. Combined with China’s hypersonic missile capabilities, the potential threat to the United States and the West is severe indeed.

At the annual NATO Summit in Madrid late last month, world leaders seemed at least to recognize the challenges posed by China, calling Chinese actions “ambitious and coercive” while also specifically citing the “burgeoning relationship” between China and Russia as a major concern. As part of its “Strategic Concept,” NATO also pledged to strengthen member nation partnerships in the Indo-Pacific to address “shared threats.”

However, as history has shown, more than just words are needed for the West to strengthen its defense posture in the Indo-Pacific. For Western nations to combat the threat from Chinese missiles, they can begin by rapidly deploying comprehensive ground and air-based missile defense systems under unified command and control systems across the territories of NATO countries in the Pacific. They can also begin implementing groundbreaking directed-energy technologies in space as a check on China’s growing military presence there.

With the Cold War nearing its conclusion in 1988, Margaret Thatcher implored the West to “never forget that our way of life, our vision and all we hope to achieve, is secured not by the rightness of our cause but by the strength of our defense.” Today, that observation can serve as a warning to the United States and its NATO allies when it comes to the threats they face in the Pacific. Though the moral superiority of the Western vision of freedom, democracy, and individual rights to Chinese oppression is self-evident, a collective commitment to defending those values – with force if necessary – is the only sure path to secure their survival in an uncertain world.

Ben Solis is the pen name of an international affairs journalist, historian, and researcher.

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6 months ago

looks like the poli-sci graduating class at any of the ivy-league colleges.

6 months ago

NATO is strictly where it should be. The USA has its treaties with Asian nations that it is allied with just like NATO and these treaties are similar to NATO. Cost? The USA is still paying out too much and all Allied nations need to pull their weight in the money department.
And don’t be fooled by any joint ops with the Dragon and Bear. They maybe dancing together, but each is loaded with hidden weapons to take out the other if a situation were to present itself. There are plenty of border incidents between to two that are never reported by MSM.

6 months ago

No. Warmonger. The last thing we need is any help with china. In fact let the chicoms have Taiwan. It’s not like anyone is going to do anything against china anyway.

The Chinese are implementing the nine dash line territory and no one is going to stop them

All we need to do is let them do whatever they want and simply forbid any imports or any company from dealing with them and making anything there. It’s already happening anyway it’s probably the one good thing out of covid.

6 months ago

We dont need to start with NATO we need to start at home ,,, HELL ,,, lets send more oil to China and deplete the reserves here a little more we really dont need it do we ,,, THE DEMORACTS ARE THE MAIN PROBLEM,,,,,

Robin Boyd
6 months ago

China’s Communist. Russia was Communist until recently. China aided Communists to fight against American forces in the Korean and Vietnam wars. China exposed to world to a lab created virus. What part of “China is a threat” is a problem?

Philip Hammersley
6 months ago

Donald Trump was castigated for pointing out NATO’s flaws but he was absolutely CORRECT. He also told Angela Merkel not to get hooked up with Russia’s gas pipeline and again he was CORRECT as Putin has now cut off Germany’s supply of gas.
Will these globalist idiots EVER wise up?

6 months ago

NATO needs to be flushed. We as a nation cannot afford to continue to pay, pay, pay, for the protection of Europe and preservation of their peace. While I do not claim to be an isolationist, there is a lot to be said about being ” wise as serpents and gentle as doves” NATO, if it cannot function on its own with only supportive additions by America, should be allowed to fail. WE did our part to end the evil of tyranny in the second world war, rebuilt their economies and in the course of that, sacrificed our own national independence along the way…..coupled with our participation in the U.N., all we get is grief.
Time to hang it up and walk away.

6 months ago
Reply to  D.P.

Without the USA there is no nato. NATO is completely unable to house, feed, fuel and transport it’s forces (what little they have that isn’t the Americans) not to mention ammo etc

NATO is a joke without the us with the exception of the poles the take their freedom seriously

No more bus wars in Europe euro-trash needs to handle it’s own buisness and we need to stay out of it and sell ammo and weapons to everyone involved

Bill on the Hill
6 months ago

I have a problem with NATO itself today & any grand designs they too have in store for us mere mortals…I believe NATO is in bed with the UN ,the WEF & other well placed global elitist’s, all in the name of forcing the world to obey their woke dictates in all things green, climate change, food production, shortages now on a global scale, fuel prices, etc… I think NATO is working closely with the current administration’s plans of remaking America into something the average American wants NO part of i.e. becoming just another 3rd world country run by dedicated socialist’s & communists at the very top & living like kings off the misery of others, e.g. that would be you & me…
Bill… :~)

anna hubert
6 months ago

NATO better put it’s dentures in if it can find it

6 months ago

Why would like NATO update its greatest thread, which is China that was the same as the early to late 1980s when I was a member of the NATO AWACS COMPONENT.

Besides, re-emphasizing China as the Free World’s number one thread would go against the CCPs top employee, China-Joe.

Stephen Russell
6 months ago

Rename NATO for Today
Western Alliances Defense Organz
Western Allies Treaty Organz &
include the Pacific: Japan, Australia, So Korea, Phillippines

6 months ago

The world in general needs to be far better prepared to deal with the growing CCP threat from China. So far, with the current western leaders in place today, the West is sorely lacking in will to do anything of substance and the Chinese know it. Talk, meaning hollow speeches given by career politicians who for the most part lack any real spine to do anything to counter the growing Chinese threat, is NOT action. The ONLY thing the CCP reacts to or respects is actual physical action to counter their moves around the planet.

6 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

Not as long as China-Joe is in the WH.

6 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

The last time anyone stood nose to nose with the likes of such world powers was the Regan time frame. That advantage was quickly squandered by later administrations….and China has continue to expand, unabated as the “West” muddles around spewing empty words and rattling plastic swords.
Keep this up and we will all need to learn a new language……and it won’t be spanish.

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