As the G20 summit gets underway in Turkey, France has announced it will be convening Parliament and most likely this will be to declare and carry out war against Isis. There’s a real possibility that they will invoke NATO article five to call on the allies to join them.
Will the major powers at the G20 come together on a strategy to fight Islamic terrorism? Until now, United States President Barack Obama has refused to even use the phrase Islamic terrorism. Canada’s novice Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has ordered the withdrawal of its forces from Iraq and has confirmed the order since the Paris attacks.
This leaves both North American allies offside should France invoke Article 5. Both countries are led by men who seem to be ideologically incapable of confronting the Islamist extremists. Justin Trudeau holds a solid majority in the House of Commons. While the Conservative Party can block legislation in the Senate it has no way to force passage of a Declaration of War against ISIS. It seems inevitable that Canada will default on its NATO obligations.
The United States is in a more complex situation. Congress has the power to declare war, but it’s a power that has only ever been exercised at the request of the president. The current president is also ideologically incapable of acknowledging the Islamist threat. Congress, on the other hand, is controlled by Republicans who are itching to declare war. Would Obama veto a declaration of war by Congress? It seems likely that he would and in so doing would have to expressly use his veto power to default on the United States obligations to NATO.
We could easily see the end of NATO with both North American partners defaulting while one of our most important allies has been attacked in its own soil. France and its major European allies, Britain and Germany, likely will want to proceed with war with or without the United States. France has already stepped up its bombing of Isis.
One more country that is already engaged with Isis, Russia, has also suffered an Isis led terrorist attack in just the last few weeks with the bombing of its airliner. At this stage it seems inevitable that Russia, France and its allies Germany and Britain will want to unite to wage war against Isis, with the North American allies sitting out the fight.
The NATO alliance was formed to bring the United States and Canada together with its European allies to fight the threat from the former Soviet Union. We are now in a situation where Russia is more inclined to defend our European allies than the United States and Canada are. This could be the beginning of a new alliance between Russia and the powers of Western Europe with an isolationist North America on the sidelines.