NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg articulated the bloc’s policy during an interview with the German publication Der Spiegel, explaining that Israel isn’t a member of the alliance and therefore ineligible to receive multilateral mutual defense commitments from it. This came as a shock for some people who had hitherto assumed that the organization would take Israel’s side in any prospective conflict with Iran, prompting claims that this represents a defeat for unipolar interests and is bad news for Israel.
In reality, however, that’s not exactly the case because the US always has been the most important member of NATO and would surely side with Israel under that scenario, with the participation of militarily useless members such as Albania and Croatia not making any difference whatsoever in determining the course of what would come next. The UK and France, the two next most relevant forces in this bloc notwithstanding Turkey who obviously wouldn’t get involved, could follow America’s lead just like they did when they carried out joint bombings against Syria in April.
Given the likelihood of an instantaneous pro-Israeli “coalition of the willing” forming within NATO, Stoltenberg’s policy announcement begins to look less dramatic and comes off as a “politically correct” statement of technical fact that might have even been designed to mildly signal passive aggression from some of the bloc’s European members who are angry with the US for unilaterally withdrawing from the Iran deal and threatening to escalate the so-called “trade war”.
If push comes to shove, however, then the UK and France would probably join the US in – as they’d frame it – “defending Israel”, but even in the event that they don’t, it won’t make much of a difference anyhow since all that’s important is that Washington rushes to the aid of its top ally. Clumsily attempting to manage a multinational war effect at the spur of the moment after an unexpected outbreak of hostilities might even hold the US back from its full potential, with it being much more effective just “going it alone” with its massive military instead of wasting time trying to get insignificant countries to jump on board with it.