The Instigator
Pro (for)
5 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

NATO- Outdated and Unnecessary?

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/25/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,123 times Debate No: 15591
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)




I shall be arguing that NATO is outdated, unnecessary and no longer needed.

Definitions: NATO- North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

My opponent will therefore need to argue that NATO is necessary and needed.

Round One is for accepting the debate.


The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is an international military alliance. Not so long after the end of the WWII, the North Atlantic Treaty was signed in Washington, D.C to ensure the security of the several nations in the western European region and the United States of America. This treaty further deepened the chasm between the west and the east of the European continent, resulting in the establishment of its rival alliance, the Warsaw Pact. During the Cold War era, despite of the arms race of both sides, their cooperative and dense diplomatic friendship within each alliance acted as a deterrent for many future threats.

Although NATO's role during the Cold War was mainly to pursue detente as they officially announced on 30 May 1978, it started to take a significant turn after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Moreover, with the dissolution of the alliance of the Eastern Europe, NATO evidently lost the rival to pit against.

I think this is the point where you may want to say that NATO became unnecessary organization in dealing with international military and political affairs.

However, NATO even played a greater role after the disestablishment of the Warsaw Pact. Many of the former-communist countries joined NATO during the 90s. The Treaty’s area of influence not only was limited to the Western Europe anymore, but projected toward the large portion of the Balkans and the Eastern Europe. At that point, NATO, along with the only Super Power existing at that moment, enjoyed the triumph of freedom and capitalism for several decades.

In these days, NATO does play an active role in the world-wide scale, and their partnership and diplomatic relationship with other countries is rapidly growing as international cooperation on security issues becomes more important as the terrorism soar throughout many affluent and important regions.

Debate Round No. 1


NATO was formed with the intention of countering Soviet military influence within Europe. It now has the aim of promoting democracy and freedom within its members, and to provide a defensive reaction against any attacks. Many eastern European nations clambered to join as a defiant symbol against Russia. ( With NATO gone, and in the unlikely event of Russia invading eastern Europe, would the rest of the world sit idly by and watch? Of course not. The EU certainly wouldn't allow its members and neighbours to be invaded.

With the fall of the Soviet Union and the establishment of democracy throughout Europe, the requirement to have NATO disappeared. The European Union now secures its own freedom, democracy and safety, and that of its neighbours. The EU now collectively have:
•Over 2million active personnel.
•Nearly 10,000 tanks
•Over 5000 fixed wing aircraft
•Over 3000 helicopters
•7 aircraft carriers
•26 destroyers
•108 frigates
•And spends over $300billion a year on defence
In short- the only military force more powerful than the EU is that of the USA. Is NATO required to protect Europe from the USA? Of course not.

With two nations within the EU also having enough nuclear weapons each to knock any country out of a war, the chance of a military threat to NATO members within Europe is next to zero. The establishment of EUMS and EUFOR (although not as powerful as NATO) essentially do the same job as NATO. The USA also has no need for NATO, as its own military power provides enough defence. With neither the USA nor the EU needing NATO for protection, I feel it is time to disband the organisation.

All action taken by NATO is by consensus, and with Turkey being a Muslim country, it is hard enough to get them to agree to action against Libya, let alone be a quick reactive force against external threats. NATO refused to participate in the invasion of Iraq but it went ahead anyway. So NATO clearly doesn't hold a place in the hearts and minds of any of its members. Which poses another question- why is NATO now being used to influence external politics? Has NATO strayed from defence to offence? If it has it needs to be disbanded.

Could NATO be the USAs last chance of hanging on to military influence within Europe? Let's look at the figures:

There are currently over 86,000 US military personnel in Europe. That is essentially the size of the British Army. (

Losing that would be a bitter blow for US power projection around the area. I don't think the USA is willing to do that, even though there is no threat to Europe. NATO might be a smokescreen for USA power. In which case, if true, would call for the dissolving of NATO.

NATO was formed to deal with a world order that no longer exists. It was used to ensure values now ensured by other organisations, and a defensive strategy has gradually turned into an offensive track record. A mission of peace is solely turning into political showcasing. Why should smaller NATO nations be dragged into conflicts across the globe while the USA exerts its influence. For that reason I feel NATO is past its best-by-date.


It is true that NATO was formed with an intention to prevent the influence of the communist countries in Europe. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the bond within the Warsaw Pact, NATO's character dramatically changed from a passive bunker to an active diplo-military organization. In other words, NATO tries to seek its position as a moderator within the embattled region like the powder keg of Europe and Middle East, rather than lose its meaning of existence by merely sitting back with claiming the empty victory of capitalism.

From what I understand so far, you seem to think that NATO should dissolve quickly in the international society because :

  • The organization is U.S-oriented and EU with EUMS has enough power to defend themselves
  • EU does not bare any threat when it comes to military conflict
  • NATO has members with different idea, in this case, Turkey, thus making the consensus is hard to be met, making them inactive in certain issues.

I will refute your arguments point by point.

NATO being too dependent on the United States and EU has enough power

It is tempting to think that the members of EU have enough power to sufficiently defend themselves with their military budget. This is why EU assembled European Union Military Staff (EUMS) when forming a simple economic union could've been simpler and more efficient in timely manner.

Keep in mind that EUMS is responsible for the realm of the Common Security and Defense Policy(CSDP), formerly known as the European Security and Defense Policy(ESDP), where "US-oriented" NATO transferred their power of influence to EU.

U.S has been trying to hand over the military responsibility and influence to EU. In fact, the U.S Forces in Europe have gradually decreased throughout times. The threats among the region of Balkans and political instability around the region made U.S to ponder for halting further cuts on forces making the rate a little slower these days, but the number itself significantly decreased each year[1].

Furthermore, with the financial crisis of 2008 and resulting collapse of the economy in several EU nations, many have doubted the role of EU as an integrated government. As a result, military and miscellaneous tasks other than economic issues were not discussed on the table of EU. Also, other influential nations' reluctance to fully cooperate with EU further hindered the EU agenda to proceed.

Simply, EU does not have enough power and influence yet to fully defend their mainland and, of course, to reach for mediating international disputes. According to SIPRI, a Swedish think-tank, United States spends 43% of world's military expenditure, which is double the expenditure of the sum of all the nations in EU. 8 of top 10 spending nations have some form of U.S Forces defending for each of their countries [2].

It is no wonder U.S is taking leading and somewhat dominant role in NATO. Nobody can compete against the U.S when it comes to military force.

On the other hand, Britain and France speaks out to deploy forces in Libya. Why do you think it is possible? Because they got NATO, not EUMS. With American forces on two nations' back, France and Britain can still play some leading roles on international affair and U.S can evade the criticism of trying to dictate the world with its force as they have suffered in Afghan and Iraq War. The scene is more of reciprocity, not a Super Power trying to take over everything it can.

(I personally think the Bush administration's dogmatic invasions against Iraq and Afghanistan were politically wrong. So let's put that argument aside. Bush should've gathered more nations into his side to confirm the attack.)

It is natural and unavoidable that U.S plays major role on deploying forces around the world. To help my argument, U.S is seeking to further reduce the size of deployed force in the developed countries, thus thickening the forces on more important regions such as the Balkans, Middle East and South Korea.

So, back to your question: Is NATO required
to protect Europe from the USA?
The answer is: Yes, NATO, more specifically, U.S Forces need to stay in Europe, especially in the regions of Southeastern Europe to intervene and settle military conflicts between the belligerents.


The chance of a military threat to NATO members within Europe is next to zero

Soviet Union may not be there, but Russia is still a nuclear power with evident ambition to be the Super Power again. Around Russian boarder, many military encounters are observed in order for the Kremlin to maintain its influence over the region. Also, the Balkans is always known for its volatility of the situation. Lastly, European continent including Turkey is geographically close to the Middle East, making the region strategically important. Claiming there is no threat or incentive to install forces on the European continent is simply misleading.

Turkey is a Muslim country.. They will never make a consensus on Libya issue..

This point is very interesting. Many media covered about how Turkey's Muslim-majority society would play in the Libyan Qaddafi crisis.

My opinion is as Turkey acts as one of the member of NATO, it will bring the diversity of ideas and better understanding of Muslim mind to the western mind. At this moment, Turkey is not seeking to avoid the situation
. Rather, the nation tries to engage more deeply into the issue, accentuating its role as both NATO and Muslim member. I believe Turkey being NATO's side will enable the members to ponder over radical decisions that traditional western countries find feasible when it is, in fact, not.


We all want balanced, ideal world, where everybody has equal amount of rights and power. Unfortunately, as we know, the world today is not. Not only European nations but also many heavily-armed countries still need U.S military aid and technology support. When not a "war." but so many battles are taking places like this, I hardly think just one nation can defend themselves fully. Rather, co
-operating each other by forming an alliance would be more efficient and powerful. NATO is expanding its role and accepting many countries as its members and diplomatic allies. Its role and power is not shrinking, but is burgeoning throughout the world,

Debate Round No. 2


America is the worlds most indebted country, yet it can defend itself. Europe may have had a financial crisis, but it can still defend itself. The notion that it can't defend itself without the USA is absurd.

Britain and France has taken a strong roll over Libya, and they are the ones who paid for, developed and built the equipment they are using, so that is a sign of their relative independence. It is also interesting to note that the smaller NATO nations are not playing a role in Libya. So we might as well have ignored NATO, phoned up 3 or 4 countries and did exactly the same thing. This is my point- NATO is not needed as an organisation. Work can be done without it, and very often is done without it.

Are US troops needed in Europe? No they are not. Europe is not on the brink of war, and with the EU,
its members may never be. Are US troops NEEDED for places like Kosovo? No. Is it handy to have them there? Yes. There is a difference, one which my opponent decides to overlook.

My point on there being no threat to Europe is not disproved by my opponent. Yes there are volatile regions, but the same goes for the Americas. NATO doesn't do anything more to protect Europe than Europe does for itself.

I do agree that alliances are needed, I just don't see any real argument for NATO being that alliance, when so many other alliances already exist that do the same thing.


Well, things got deviated a little bit... I elaborated the inevitable presence of US in European region to justify the presence and the role of NATO.

EU does not have a unified military, yet. EUMS acts like U.N's Peace Keeping Corp. Nobody deploys troops unless they want to. That means sometimes each nation should face a situation when the destiny is entirely on its own.

The predecessors of EU were not devised as a strong military alliance as NATO seemed to be a sufficient military resource [1]. 21 of EU members are also the part of NATO, showing how dependent and engaged they are in the system of NATO.

Also, nuclear umbrella is heavily depended upon U.S Intelligence system. NATO announced they are expecting to have the best UAV in the world, the Global Hawk, by 2012. This is possible because US is a part of NATO. Despite of many offers by many countries around the world, US never sold any of the Global Hawk to foreign countries so far.

I do not know why I am so focusing on NATO's role on European region. However, it is evident that Europe's entire defense system is heavily depended on NATO, especially with augmentation from U.S.

So, again, the notion that i cannot defend itself without U.S.A is not absurd but quite reasonable. NATO comprises many multinational forces, including that of U.S.A, some of which are deployed to many regions of the world. Britain and France could not have gone for a war against Libya if there were not U.S forces on their back.

"My point on there being no threat to Europe is not disproved by my opponent. Yes there are volatile regions, but the same goes for the Americas. NATO doesn't do anything more to protect Europe than Europe does for itself." - From your quote -

I do not want to say your statement was disproved by me. But I want to say that NATO plays a significant role on defending and deterring any threat that may be implicated.

Lastly, EU and NATO walk significantly different road themselves. EU was born to integrate European nations into one to ensure efficiency and maintain influence toward the world. NATO, on the other hand, it is not an organization seeking for unification, but a military alliance that helps each other when there is urgent moment when the help is needed.

I do not know why you become so antipathetic against NATO, but NATO shaped itself through long time and bonded with many allies with dignity and trust. I do not think NATO should be dissolved unless the free world is overturned by a new idea so that the topology of world is changed.

[1] Wilkinson, Paul. International Relations. Oxford University Press. p. 100.ISBN 1845425391. "The EU states have never felt the need to make the organization into a powerful military alliance. They already have NATO to undertake that task."

Debate Round No. 3


My opponent points out a weakness in the EU organisation, in that individual agendas may prevent unified action. Yet he fails to mention the same applies for NATO. If the EU were attacked, you can be guaranteed they would muster their military might, as would any parliament across the globe. He also mistakenly added that EUFOR is voluntary, this is untrue, it is compulsory, and is done on a rotation basis between the nations.

I would like to remind my opponent that this debate is on whether or not NATO is outdated and unnecessary. My opponent never disagreed with the figures I put forwards about the EU military capabilities, which means we both agree the EU is the world's 2nd most powerful military force (if the situation should arise to put it all into action, of course). So why, therefore, does he seem to stick to the idea that the 2nd most powerful military in the world needs protection from threats which are far less powerful? Why does the USA need to feel it has to defend a continent so wealthy, advanced and independently capable? Adding needless firepower on top of what Europe already has is comparable to the following analogy: "Two enemies are in a gasoline soaked room. One has 1000 matches, the other has 1100 matches...". You can see the point. My argument is that Europe does not need the USA to defend itself. Having the USA around isn't a problem, hey if they want to hang about and pay billions in doing so then feel free, but it isn't reliant on the USA. Britain has developed the new type 45 destroyers, the worlds most advanced destroyers to date (can only afford 2 of them though). European nations have also developed new aircraft and technologies on its own. Hence NATO is unnecessary (unless some magical superpower the size of the USA appears by the time he writes his rebuttal.)

"In 2004 the EU deployed a robust military force (EUFOR) - at the same force levels as it's NATO predecessor SFOR" ( This support my point that without NATO, the EU could defend Europe. There is no evidence to suggest the dismantling of NATO would leave Europe in a military stone age. Lets not forget that France and Britain have enough nuclear weapons to wipe out the USA.

If Europe, nor the USA, needs protection (which with the firepower and economies it has, it obviously doesn't need protection), then NATO has become outdated, as this debate clearly says in the title. What is NATO doing getting involved in affairs in Asia, Africa etc? This leads me to my 2nd point- that NATO is unnecessary. If the USA is capable of undertaking every NATO mission globally to date by itself, and Europe no longer needs the help of the USA to protect itself, then NATO has become outdated and unnecessary.

NATO is not useless, it is a very capable military force, but it is outdated and unnecessary. It could quite easily be scrapped, and have nations act on a situation to situation basis, which is essentially what happens anyway.

I thank my opponent for a civilised and entertaining debate, thank you.


Refuting Argument #1: NATO being outdated

It is hard to interpret how NATO is outdated. Many military think-tanks publish military expenditure lists every year. Every time they publish it, EU may or may not be on the list but all the time, they do not count EU as a nation thus making 2nd place to, usually, China.

This has a point. Yes, when EUMS has a resolution it will be compulsory. So is U.N Peacekeeping. It is not like a prime minister orders and troops go there. More delicate and complicated process waits ahead.

The EUMS does not directly control the EU military missions. In order to conduct an EU military crisis management operation, an Operational Headquarters (OHQ) is nominated by the appropriate EU Council decision. The OHQ directs the ForceHQ, also provided by a member country. Many times EU operations are planned and conducted with recourse to NATO assets and capabilities, and usually OHQ becomes automatically NATO Allied Command Operations (ACO).

EU has still a long way to go to establish firm commitments to the region. Only 10 years have past since they decided to enhance regional security. Some can say it's enough but, trust me, when it comes to security, 10 years is not long enough to change the system.

Let me get to my original point, NATO's initial role may be disappeared after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. However, that cannot justify NATO is outdated. NATO still seeks for world's international military leadership to maintain the volatility of the region ot the minimum. So, yes, NATO changed its role from passive to active, which was one of the results trying to adapt to modern international phenomena.

Refuting Argument #2: NATO is unnecessary

Again, NATO itself has way better equipment than any other military alliance ever. Not only conventional weapons but also asymmetric weapons system, too. What it implies is Northeastern Asia, Middle East, Europe, and Africa etc. Nowhere cannot maintain their national security without the aids of NATO(or American) forces.

There's a good example on this: South Korea.

When a progressive party won the South Korean government presidency, it wanted American augmented troops to retreat from their peninsula. It was to ensure the idea that they can defend their own soil. However, public detest and censure from national defense advisors arose and that attempt went failed. The party's motive was merely based on the belief what they trusted in, not on the facts involving the circumstance of the situation.

What I am trying to say is, yes, maybe NATO is becoming too big and may one day play unnecessary Big Brother. The idea is good but, in reality, it is too naive. We - Europe, Asia, Africa and so on - cannot defend ourselves sufficiently without any form of help from NATO forces. This is so true.

Merely stating the numbers of troops and destroyers EU has does not make the case, as with that analogy, North Korea can be the world's 4th military power.


NATO itself plays a significant role that a single nation has hard time executing it. Also, it has many developed countries as its members, enabling sophisticated and justified resolution to come out.

No other military alliance can play on international level, yet. Their influence is limited to the region, at the best.

Abolishing NATO will only worsen the situation in many volatile regions and make it hard to act when one unified force with strong and versatile capabilities is needed.

Thank you for the debate. Had fun.

Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by wolfhaines 7 years ago
NATO is showing it's ineptitude right now over the Libya situation. Can't get enough planes because half the nations within NATO don't want to participate. Waste of time.
Posted by wolfhaines 7 years ago
Zetsubou, with regards to your voting comment. It is BRITAIN not England, there is a distinct difference. I am sure 15million non English people in Britain will oppose you assuming England is Britain. Please try and keep this in mind when talking of the UK, as it causes offence. Thanks
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by petersaysstuff 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: First off let me say that this was a hard round to vote on. I voted Pro because Con did little to now work refuting Pro's facts which are important. I wanted to vote Con but couldn't because the majority of Pro's arguments in the last round where still standing. But this was a great debate!
Vote Placed by Zetsubou 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's argument is full of assumptions about NATOs role and NATOs process of intervention. Pro also assumes that having nuclear weapons means that you are a stronger military entity. Nuclear weapons are deterrents, they're only to be used when a nations has complete disregard for another - Mutually Assured Destruction if you will. England and France, even if they ever go to open warfare with the USA, would never launch nuclear missiles at the USA.