Hello, everybody. And thank you for being here with me today as the Scathing Take brand embarks on its maiden voyage into hotly contested waters. I am your host, Scathing Take.
In this very special and very first installment, I will be giving my unfiltered but mostly scripted opinion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; commonly known as NATO.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But Scathing, surely there are more exciting topics to cover, and a coalition of nations can’t possibly hold a dear enough place in your heart to merit being the focus of your very first episode. Can’t you just make a commercial parody or just rail on STAR WARS for 45 minutes?”
Oh, my sweet summer child, thank you. I know. But we can’t always have things as we want them, can we? The fact is that NATO is a relevant topic at the moment, and I, as a slave of the zeitgeist must strike while iron is hot. For there are too many people meandering about the internet who have yet to hear my incessant brand of scrutiny. Besides, technically speaking I’ve already given my YouTube virginity to my most favorite topic of all. Me.
But before we begin, I’d like to make two things clear:
First, this is not a political channel, okay? Granted, this is a channel that discusses political topics every so often because, let’s be honest, politics is a mutant strain of entertainment, and I live to entertain.
Second, I am, by no metric, an expert in…well, pretty much anything. But what even is an expert these days anyway? I’m here to give my two cents on a variety of different things: Movies, games, streams, products, life’s most vexing and haunting questions that rattle the souls of lesser men, and politics. So take me as seriously as you want. You might agree, you might not. Let me know in the comments, if you’re so inclined, or just use your thumb.
Now, with all that in mind, let’s get into the grit.
But first, A little worldbuilding and atmosphere.
Following the end of World War II, there were immediate concerns around the potential for expansion in the communist controlled regions of Eastern Europe. Russia had seized territory once controlled by Germany, and neighboring nations feared Soviet forces pushing west in an expansionist campaign. Western nations knew they need to bolster a new defense and empower their allies. In April of 1948, the Marshall Plan, otherwise known as the European Recovery Act was signed by President Truman, affording $15,000,000,000.00 (1.5 Trillion today) to friendly European nations. Those being [Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, West Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom], to aid in the post-war recovery effort. With this gesture of solidarity, the bill’s recipients were provided the means to rebuild their infrastructure and feed their people and spared countries that bordered Soviet territory from taking desperate measures – such permitting occupation by the Soviets in exchange for resources.
In February of 1948, Soviet entities in communist-occupied Czo-ko, Cez-chos, Mmm…Check-osu-Lava-Kia, [Czechoslovakia] sponsored a coup that usurped that countries democratically elected government, bringing the entire country firmly under the control of the Soviet Union. With their concerns verified by the aggressive overthrow of Cheeco-Slaw-Vodka, representatives of the United States and those of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United Kingdom, converged in Washington DC in April of 1949 to sign the North Atlantic Treaty; a mutual defense pact against Soviet aggression and expansion into their boarders. NATO was born. Six years later, as its fractured capital finally recovered finally recovered, West Germany joined NATO and built up its armed forces. The Soviets had warned against this, and in turn, created its own mutual defense alliance, the Warsaw Pact, among its satellite states just two weeks later. Albania, Bulgaria, Chiii-Ko-Slow-Vaki-AAAAA, the “German Democratic Republic”, Hungary, Poland, and Romania.
Tensions remained high between the hostile alliances for decades, nearly escalating to the point of a third world war dozens of times. Ultimately, however, it was the Warsaw Pact of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, faced with greater internal strife and mismanagement, that buckled first. Being forced to put down two attempted revolts in Hungary and Czechoslovakia in 1956 and 1968 respectively, the meltdown of Chernobyl’s reactor number four, and being forced into a space-race with the US and its superior economy, the patchwork empire began to crumble. The standoff came to an end in 1991 when the USSR disintegrated and was forced to withdraw from its occupied satellite states.
So…we won, right? The Soviets lost, East and West Germany are reunited. Russia has a new government, mission accomplished. What’s NATO doing now? Just hanging out?
Right now, supporters of the organization assure that NATO is still as necessary as it’s ever been; that NATO deters military action from hostile actors, that it affords intelligence agencies a fluid network for intel sharing, and that it, in general, creates a sense of fellowship between its members. And while that all may be true to some extent, I can’t honestly say that these supposed net-positives really counteract that organizations shortcomings adequately. Let me explain.
On September 11th of 2001, NATO’s Article 5 – the mutual defense bit – was invoked for the very first time in NATO’s history; at which point military assets from…two other NATO members [UK and Germany]…Jesus, guys, don’t all get up at once. I know more came out later, but come on! Now, it’s great and all that other countries would mobilize to assist an alley in Afghanistan, but my question is this: Was it crucial that we receive help in that fight? Could we not have done this alone? No. I’m fairly confident to the point of absolute certainty that the US could have handled things on its own. Never mind the fact that that we’re STILL THERE.
Now there’s a lot of evidence surrounding 911 that could be used to argue whether or not the invasion into Afghanistan was justified or not, but I think it’s safe to say that the way all that was handled could have been done differently than nearly 20 years of military occupation. Like, say, heavy sanctions and a travel ban? That’s just me though.
Aside from 911, there have been numerous recent attacks on NATO members that HAVEN’T invoked any kind of military action, as well as attacks on NON-NATO members that have, so I guess I’m just a bit confused as to what requisites an attack needs to qualify for a unified international beatdown or not?
Alleged Chemical attack in Syria (not in NATO) supposedly perpetrated by its own government: Yup
Alleged chemical attack in England (NATO OG) supposedly perpetrated by the very nation NATO was established to defend against: Nope
Any of this adding up to you?
Not to mention you have another bloated and ineffective international body essentially importing and defending enemy combatants – but that’s a topic for another video.
B-b-But Scathing, Russia does other bad stuff too! They stole Crimea from Ukraine and they’re fighting right now!
Hmm, well it true Russia’s claimed Crimea as their own, but if I recall there was a referendum that was voted on.
But it wasn’t legitimate Scathing!
I don’t know about that; was Brexit not a legitimate referendum? Was the push for California to be three states not a legit referendum? Was the signing of the declaration of independence not a legit referendum? We had a lot of people here who wanted to remain a British colony, you know. I don’t doubt that there were multiple hands at play in that situation, but if we’re being real about it that’s Ukraine’s business. Also, they aren’t in NATO, so, you know.
As far as the point about intel sharing goes – eh – I don’t know, aren’t there just more chances of sensitive intelligence falling on the floor the more hands it gets passed to? Isn’t the whole point of clandestine operations that as few people as possible know about it? Just seems a bit counter intuitive to me.
And the point about friendship – I mean, if someone was paying ¾ of my bills and I was paying less than I said I would, and I used more AC, water, electricity and internet than they did, I think I’d see them as more of a gullible sucker than a real friend, figuratively speaking, of course.
So what can be done? Is there any hope of making NATO as useful as it used to be? There could be, but I’m not optimistic.
For starters, It’d help if all members actually pay their 2%’s worth of their GDP into the organization like they’re supposed to, and I think their should be consequences when those payments aren’t made: Like, say, ejection from NATO. You wouldn’t NOT pay a security firm and expect them to protect you. To that same point, I think nations that are actually exceeding their 2% commitment – of which there are five – should cut back down to 2% – We in the US are paying close to 4%, followed by Greece, Britain, Estonia, and Poland. No reason we five should be subsidizing the other twenty-three.
*Isn’t Greece broke?*
Second, it probably won’t hurt to have NATO consider the legitimacy of its current and future members. As is stands, right now, the door for membership into NATO is open for anyone who wants in. Meaning that – in theory – anyone worried about being attacked by anyone else could join and then sit back and let their wars be fought for them for, what amounts to, a small fee.
Just an aside: I don’t like the idea of soldiers, wherever they’re from, fighting and dying on behalf of other countries – countries they didn’t swear to defend, countries that aren’t their home or have even the slightest thing to do with them. If you’re a country that can’t defend itself or at the very least, reciprocate the aid given to you dollar for dollar, than you should have no expectation that help will come. Looking at you, Montenegro.
Also, in the case that a member country is engaged in questionable dealings with our supposed enemies (all of them), they’re membership should be called into question. Most notably, Germany. It recently came to light that Germany is more or less economically dependent upon Russia and has a fuel pipeline between them. And I’m supposed to believe that Germany needs to be protected from Russia? Is that some kind of joke?
In addition, I think it’s worth considering where exactly the money for NATO is going. If Russia is still the big bad as so many seem to think, than wouldn’t it make sense if all that money goes straight into countries like Poland, like Estonia, like Norway, that are geographically next door to Russia? Wouldn’t they be the first line of defense? Do they not have a bone to pick with Russia for invading their lands before, during, and after World War 2: The Greater War?
And finally, if the objective here really is about defending the world from communism rather than just Soviet-communists, than I think a few things need to happen to help with this. NATO members ought to take a close look at their own governments and identify groups representing and sponsoring communist-style policies and candidates – otherwise you’d just essentially be doing the work of the USSR’s ghost for them. With all the ass-backward politics in our midst’s you’d almost think the West actually lost the Cold War.
But again, that’s a topic for later.
And isn’t there this huge Communist dictatorship with a one party government that’s hostile to everyone? I think it funnels money to North Korea, hacks every business on the planet, censors its internet, controls its media, killed tens of millions of its own people, harvests organs from prisoners, steals billions in intellectual property, ignores trade regulations, populates more than any other country, invades Tibet, Threatens Anime-Land and ships in international waters, builds artificial islands in the South China Sea and fills it with military equipment, lobbies in DC, owns multiple Hollywood studios, and eats dogs? No, no that be. Why would any responsible country let such a massive threat fester and grow like that?
And the last thing I can think of, if all else fails, would be to just leave.
There’s no reason to keep pouring time and money into something that doesn’t work like it should. Some brainlets might suggest that the reason something bad isn’t working is because we just haven’t put enough money into it, that thing will magically turn around if you just spend more on it. No. No, that is stupid. Those are stupid people. We here in the US have the biggest, baddest, military there’s ever been. We don’t need protecting. And if most of our so-called allies want to ride us all day, well, then I guess they don’t need protecting either.