Unless NATO as an institution undergoes major political and military reforms, it is quite likely that it will melt into irrelevance in less than a decade.
This will be welcomed by many people worldwide.
The Afghanistan fiasco will make it difficult for the alliance to operate as a unified military or political entity in the near future.
Already in disagreement over how to approach China, Russia and Iran, NATO’s latest defeat will diminish its ability to execute decisive policies.
America’s European allies that previously unquestioningly accepted Washington’s leadership on crucial matters, are now more likely to debate and question its approach to strategic matters.
On September 6, this was admitted by one of the key initiators of the war of terror in 2001, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
NATO is primarily a military alliance which was established to maintain Western hegemony after WWII.
This, however, was based on the political and military realities of the 1940s that are no longer relevant.
In the current multipolar global order, state and non-state entities do no hold back from challenging Western neo-colonialism and hegemony.
This reality will require a nuanced political, military and economic approach from NATO.
To formulate such an approach and implement it, NATO regimes will require an operational agreement on multiple matters in a relatively short time.
This is unlikely to happen as the alliance now stands fully exposed as a grouping of regimes which function based on the geopolitical realities of the 1990s.
Reforming NATO requires US leadership.
Considering that the Joe Biden regime will likely be a one-term presidency, the prospects of this happening are quite slim.
Under America’s dismal internal conditions, a post-Biden regime will not see NATO as a priority.
Reforming NATO would require Western powers to admit the reality of a multipolar world order and a significantly constrained global reach of the alliance.
Such admission at a practical level is likely to trigger internal political infighting in many NATO member states.
This will further weaken the decayed alliance.
That a significant and influential portion of the West’s political elite are not going to accept the new global economic and geopolitical realities was recently highlighted by US Senator Lindsey Graham.
Speaking to the BBC on September 5, the Republican senator said he believes that in the future American troops “will be going back into Afghanistan… We’ll have to because the [terror] threat will be so large.”
While many current NATO regimes can dismiss Graham’s statements as typical Republican bluster, it represents a significant sentiment of the US political caste.
It is highly unlikely that the US will launch another invasion of Afghanistan anytime soon.
The fact that influential politicians in the US—the leading NATO member—still operate based on outdated geopolitical concepts is a sign that NATO is unlikely to muster the political will to reform itself.