Monday, July 08, 2024

NATO'S 3 Original Purposes: keep the Russians out, keep the Americans in, and keep the Germans down

Donald Trump said in the presidential debate last month that without his pressure on European allies to increase defense spending, NATO risked “going out of business.” Mr. Trump’s critics, including many Europeans, say they worry the alliance might unravel if he returns to the White House. 

NATO Matters More Than Ever to America’s Role in the World writes Dalibor Rohac, adding that "Washington won’t succeed if it tries to deal alone with the revisionists in Beijing, Moscow and Tehran" (thanks to Vincent Bourdonneau).

NATO’s primary purpose—“to keep the Soviet Union out,” as its first secretary general Lord Hastings Ismay put it—is as important as ever. For pro-American Eastern Europeans, distrustful of their complacent peers in Germany, France or Spain, Ismay’s second imperative—to keep “the Americans in”—is a matter of survival.

In a report for the American Enterprise Institute, Giselle Donnelly, Iulia Joja and I argue that American leadership in NATO isn’t an act of charity. Peace and security in Europe have always been vital to U.S. interests. Our nation fought two world wars on European soil precisely because we saw domination of Eurasia by our adversaries as unacceptable.

As for Berlin and others not paying their fair share, remember that according to Ismay, NATO’s third purpose was to “keep the Germans down.” The enduring fecklessness of Germany’s political elites is a testament to NATO’s success in solving what in the 1950s loomed large as the “German question.”

 … Countries that do need defending, from Finland in the north to Romania in the south, remain committed to the alliance and to their security, spending well above the target 2% of gross domestic product on defense. Many members, including Lithuania and the Czech Republic, share Washington’s concerns about China and the Indo-Pacific.

To stay relevant, NATO must strengthen its deterrent posture on the Eastern flank, which it can do at little cost to the U.S. Poland and the Baltic states should be brought into the alliance’s nuclear-sharing system and Polish F-35 jets should be certified to carry nuclear missiles.

 … The tasks of pushing against Russia in Eastern Europe, Iran in the Middle East and China globally are all connected. Washington can’t succeed if it tries to deal with them in isolation. NATO and the trans-Atlantic relationship are central to America’s role as the world’s leading superpower. It would be a tragedy for Americans if the incumbent or his Republican challenger squandered this asset.


Jackosan10 said...

Not anymore! The west in Europe stopped standing up for itself 30 years ago. Now they have invited in the very enemy that hates them. Not worth our blood and treasure.

Rusty in Pittsburgh said...

We are pledged to fight nuclear war to defend Montenegro. Really?
Finland adds 800 miles of border we cannot possibly defend.

Try to find Ukraine on a map dated 1935.
Ukraine-Russia war is like the Spanish Civil War 1935+ Both sides tried out their new weapons.
What we find in Ukraine is that cheap drones can blow up war ships and tanks. Are we learning that lesson?

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