Should NATO be extended to the whole world?


fin April, faced with the Russian threat, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, without going so far as to ask for expansion beyond Europe, confirmed the need for a “World NATO”, even act a certain way “preventive” for the risks in the Indo-Pacific region. This dream is not new. It was theorized in an even more ambitious way in a magazine article in the fall of 2006 Foreign Affairs, signed by two specialists in international relations, James Goldgeier and Ivo Daalder. For them, NATO is already “global” in his missions: “Designed to protect post-war Western Europe from the Soviet Union, the alliance is now seeking to bring stability to other parts of the world. † But according to the two authors, it should go further and open its doors “to any democratic state, anywhere in the world, ready and able to contribute to the fulfillment of [de ses] new responsibilities. This would mean a revision of the founding treaty, excluding expansion to include non-European states.

In a context of (already) increasing Russian warmongering and the stagnation of US intervention in Afghanistan, some observers pointed to the risk of excessive ambition to the detriment of the ” core business of NATO. Founded in 1949, it can be seen above all as a defensive territorial alliance to guarantee the security of its members; but it can also be seen as an organization united by certain values ​​and striving to promote them. The two dimensions are also present in one of the organization’s definitions, that of the American political scientist of German descent Karl Deutsch, who in 1957 “security community” become. For him, NATO was founded with a security purpose, on “the assurance that members of the community will not fight each other physically, but will resolve their differences in some other way.” But it is also a community defined by “the compatibility of large values” – constitutional democracy and the market economy – and by a “mutual sympathy” of the “loyalties” the “feeling of one us”which would not preclude its extension to democracies outside the Atlantic sphere.

For some, the idea of ​​a “world NATO” is part of a redefinition of what is called Atlanticism. If it arose in opposition to communism during the cold war, this current emerges from the end of the 19the century and is already aiming well beyond the transatlantic area. In 1939, the American journalist Clarence Streit suggested in his book Union Now (“The union now”, unpublished in French), founding a “Atlantic Union” which would also include Commonwealth states such as South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, but whose constitution should? “explicitly affirm that it is designed to evolve into a universal government”. In this perspective, Atlanticism is not only a defensive alliance, but also a democratic vanguard that should inspire by example. Vanguard who looks like the“covenant of peace” described by Kant in his treatise: Towards Eternal Peace (1795): “If luck would have it that a powerful and enlightened people should form a republic (a government that would naturally eternal peace), there would then be a center for this federated alliance: other states could join, so to to ensure their freedom, in accordance with: the idea of ​​international law, and it would expand more every day with new additions. †

Today, it is because illiberal or dictatorial states reinforce themselves and destabilize the security of Europe and its allies that the idea of ​​a global NATO is resurfacing. That said, criticism pointing to a disguised form of Western imperialism or the strategic risks of such expansion remains no less legitimate. World NATO is therefore probably not for tomorrow.

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