'NATO’S LOST DETERRENCE'

Daily Telegraph – 3 January 2015

NATO is in danger of forgetting what made it the most successful alliance in history for half a century of confrontation with Soviet Russia: its credible deterrent posture based on the collective security of Article 5 of its treaty. The Soviet Union was in no doubt that an attack on any NATO member would instantly involve it in a Third World War with all other members.

In order for any deterrent policy to be effective, the potential aggressor must be aware not only that the consequences of attacking will be unacceptable, but also that they will be unavoidable. For NATO this means that no country should be admitted to membership if there is little prospect of Article 5 being invoked on its behalf.

Before casually setting countries like Georgia and the Ukraine on the path to Nato membership, we must ask ourselves one key question:

"Would we be prepared to start a Third World War if such proposed new members were invaded?"

If the answer is "No", as I believe it is, then admitting them to membership would undermine, at a stroke, the credibility of Article 5.

We would then be back in the uncertainties of the Thirties, when aggressors could pick off weak countries while gambling that their stronger friends would not intervene. This is the very scenario which NATO was set up to avoid, and we should be mad to return to it.

Dr JULIAN LEWIS MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA