To which extent is NATO unified? Can the alliance be considered as a tool of the United States only? These and other questions surface yet again during a regular anniversary of the establishment of the alliance. Many countries did not support NATO's aggression against Libya. Germany, for instance, originally refused to participate in the bombing of Libya. It is an open secret that Germany maintains friendly ties with Tripoli: the European country consumes ten percent of Libyan oil. In addition, Germany was developing mutually beneficial military and technical cooperation with Libya. However, economic issues can not explain the reasons behind political decisions.
Moreover, even NATO's allies in Eastern Europe share different views about the crisis in Libya. Some of them, Poland, for example, support the establishment of "democracy" in Libya. Some others, Bulgaria for example, criticize others for the operation claiming that it is simply a struggle for the interests of energy companies.
France and Greece have caused most trouble to the administration of NATO. France pulled out from the military organization of NATO in 1966, but stayed in the political one. In 1986, France closed its air space for the US Air Force operating from British air bases against Libya. During the war in August of 2008, it was France that played the key role in the solution of the crisis with Georgia. France, Germany and Italy joined their efforts to prevent the creation of the anti-Russian stance in the world.
As for Greece, this country was not a member of the military organization of NATO from 1974 to 1980, which was based on the country's complex relations with Turkey. During NATO's aggression against Yugoslavia, Greece was supporting Belgrade. Some were even saying that Greece was providing the Serbs with intelligence information.
A record low number of European members of the alliance supported NATO's operation in Iraq in 2003. Many European countries sent symbolic contingents there afterwards, but it was only Britain that supported the USA fully.
Is it possible to say that NATO is still a political tool in the hands of the USA? Pavel Zolotarev, deputy director of the Institute of the USA and Canada, believes that NATO is experiencing such a crisis because its primary enemy - the USSR - does not exist. Since there is one common enemy, the members are allowed to have their own views on all other issues. However, the expert added, NATO is still a tool of the United States in the first place.
"Let's take the European missile defense project, for example. This is a purely American project, because no other country can contribute anything to it. Most likely, the talks about the cooperation with Russia in this field will only exist on paper. Many NATO members in Europe have to play under American rules. The USA is the basis of the military power of the alliance. All others cut their defense spending hiding behind the back of the USA. Others sacrifice defense budgets for the sake of healthcare and the social sphere. They rely on the United States in the questions of their own defense," the expert said.
Will Americans be pulling the chestnuts out of the fire of African conflicts for the French, for instance? It is an open secret that France has many interests on the territory of its former colonies on the Black Continent, especially in the countries where France traditionally receives uranium. At any rate, if NATO members rely on the USA too much, they can seriously jeopardize their interests outside Europe.