NATO Has Been a Joke Since 1961 But You’re Not Supposed to Know That
In the latest in a long line of newly-invented “impeachable offenses,” President Trump has pondered the worthiness of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). For daring to even question continued US membership in a defunct 70-year-old organization, the FBI opened a criminal investigation on President Trump.
“Is the president actually a Russian agent?” wondered officials at the highest levels of the FBI and the Department of Justice. These people are crazy, which we’ve known for a while, but aside from that President Trump has raised a great question: What good is NATO anyway?
Wouldn’t it be good to do a review of alliances that America is still in, now that everyone who made the original deal has been dead for several decades? Americans were still paying a 3% tax on their long-distance phone bills in 2006 which was ostensibly supposed to be paying for the Spanish-American War.
That conflict ended in 1898, but no one in Washington ever thinks, “Hey, that’s dumb so we should stop doing it.”
Having the benefit of hindsight 20/20, we should be able to take a look at NATO in 2019 and decide whether it’s worth preserving. No one in the European Union seems to value it.
They just adore the steady flow of cash from the American taxpayers to pay for their defense. Most European countries are worried about staving off populist uprisings in their own countries right now, rather than worrying about some imminent attack from Russia.
It’s hard for the French government to worry about Montenegro when the Yellow Vests are destroying all their speed cameras and setting cars on fire.
NATO was formed as an alliance in 1949 so that the United States could flex its muscle and prevent the Soviet Union from overrunning Western Europe. That was a real threat at the time.
Declassified KGB files now have historians rewriting the books for World War II, since it appears that Stalin provoked Hitler into that war to begin with. But the Soviet Union fell apart in 1992.
That threat has been gone for 27 years and counting. The Russia that exists today is not the Soviet Union of old.
Even if Vladimir Putin wanted to invade Western Europe, he doesn’t have the military strength to do it (and he’s given no indication that he wants to do it).
Donald Trump has wisely prevented NATO from welcoming Ukraine into NATO, ending a provocation supported by Hillary Clinton and the neocons that could have led to war with the Russians.
A lot of people are mistakenly under the impression that America is obligated to respond with nuclear weapons in the event of a Russian attack on a NATO ally. If Russia were to send tanks into Latvia, the United States would turn their country into a smoking pile of radioactive rubble in response. This is false.
President John F. Kennedy’s administration ended that policy in 1961. As Angelo Codevilla of the Hoover Institute has pointed out, NATO has effectively been a “Potemkin village” for the 58 years that have passed since that policy change. So again: What is the point of NATO?
It was an alliance to defend against a threat that no longer exists (the Soviet Union). NATO has pretty much been fully funded thanks to the largesse of the American taxpayers for all these years.
European contributions have historically ranged from 10% to 30% of NATO’s budget, with Americans paying the rest. As President Trump pointed out in 2017, Germany now spends billions of dollars purchasing energy from Russia – yet wants America to continue paying to defend against Russia.
Shouldn’t Russia fall more into the “ally” column for Germany when they’re doing that much business with them?
NATO is also supposed to be a two-way street. But what are European countries doing to help America in Afghanistan? There are a few Brits there, but not surprisingly, NATO did not come to help out America in any significant fashion in Iraq or Afghanistan. (But boy were they eager to help Hillary with Libya! Say, how did that work out?)
Maybe there is some purpose for NATO that could be worked out if people were willing to sit down and talk honestly about it. But it’s clear that NATO no longer serves its original purpose.
It might not be necessary to scrap it entirely, but until someone comes up with a better idea, that’s starting to look more and more attractive.