The possible split within NATO

The Turkish downing of the Russian jet near the Syrian border brings serious divisions within NATO to the forefront. While the US insists on supporting Turkey, the Europeans want to avoid a possible war.

The Question of Article V

1.    Yesterday NATO countries held an extraordinary session after the downing of the Russian jet by Turkey. Turkish officials said it had violated their country’s airspace on the border with Syria. Suddenly, remembering that they are part of NATO, Turkish officials applied to the alliance to secure support. 
2.    The 5th article of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization says that an armed attack against one member state is an armed attack against them all, and obliges the countries to provide help to the victim of aggression. 
3.    That article was invoked only once in the alliance’s history by the United States after the September 11th attacks in 2001. The previous Turkish attempt to use this clause in 2012, after the downing of the Turkish military jet by Syria, in fact failed. 

The US against Europe

1.    However, yesterday the US showed its willingness to support Turkey in its probable war against Russia. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg supported the Turkish position, but his statements were not agreeable to most European countries.
2.    While US officials including President Obama unanimously said that Turkey had the right to defend its airspace, Europeans were more cautious and called for de-escalation. 
3.    Continental Europe strongly opposes the idea of involvement in a new war against its natural geopolitical and geoeconomic partner, Russia. The US does not respect this.
4.     US 'hawks' (predominantly in the US media) are saying that the absence of a hard response will show the impotence of the alliance.
5.    The 'hawks' main argument: If NATO countries are not going to stop Putin in Syria through firm measures as exampled by Turkey, then NATO as a geopolitical player will cease to exist, and Putin will achieve his major goal – the geopolitical weakening of the Atlanticist core.
6.    Today, consultations among NATO countries regarding a possible response to Russia continue at the highest level. The common position of Germany and France will be determined today at the meeting of Hollande and Merkel in Berlin.


Can NATO split?

1.    Divisions on the present question can seriously damage the internal integrity of NATO. 
2.    However, the weakness of the current European leaders and their ideological adherence to Euro-Atlanticism, as well as the European need for the US as a security protector after the terrorist attack in Paris, will mitigate the differences. 
3.    The risk of war today is greater than ever before. The European resistance to the US can be easily broken, if America continue its pressure, due to the weakness of European leaders.