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Saturday, September 10, 2016

NATO’s Expiration Date

NATO’s Expiration Date

by John Feffer
If the number of eager applicants on a waiting list determines the strength of a club, then the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is in fine fettle.
At its most recent gathering in July, NATO welcomed its 29th member — Montenegro — which means that the alliance now outnumbers the European Union. Nearby Macedonia has been waiting for 17 years to be let in the door only to have Greece block entrance every time because of a longstanding dispute over Macedonia’s name. Bosnia also wants in but must first overcome its internal divisions. Georgia’s membership, too, has been on hold, for fear of inciting Russia’s wrath, though that hasn’t prevented the country from hosting U.S.-NATO military exercises.
Perhaps more surprising, the traditionally neutral Scandinavian states of Sweden and Finland have been making noise recently about joining as well. They both participated in the recent NATO summit. They’re both upset over Russian military maneuvers near their borders as well as the Kremlin’s meddling in Ukraine. Even if they don’t put in a formal application to join, they are signing defense agreements with the United States and will likely coordinate their military affairs more closely with NATO in what one observer calls “smoking without inhaling.”

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