25 October, 2006

Israel in NATO?

The Jewish news service, Ynet has a story examining the possibility that Israel will join NATO. The obvious question is, why? What possible reason can Israel have for wanting to join a defensive alliance in which most of the member countries are in it for a free ride. Of the 26 member states, 21 will not raise a single rifle to defend themselves and one (France) behaves as though it is not a member.

NATO is a coalition of the unwilling. Its combat operations in Afghanistan are being undertaken by the US, British, Canadians and Dutch armed forces. Although NATO's ISAF is desperately short of troops, the rest of the members either will not send any troops or refuse to let those they do send go into combat areas. Australia makes a more military valuable contribution to NATO that the majority of member states. Do the Israelis really want to join this shambolic alliance?

A relic of the Cold War, NATO no longer serves any useful purpose and the farce over troops for Afghanistan is surely one of the final few nails in its coffin. The debate now should be about what structures are to replace it. Israel could be a valuable member of some type of new security apparatus.

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