14:52 May. 26, 2016
NATO's foreign ministers met last week to assess current security threats. Alas, the meeting illustrated how NATO has become an expensive burden for America, reducing U.S. security
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was birthed during the Cold War. The Soviet Union was an "evil empire," in Ronald Reagan's words. The war-ravaged states of Western Europe were vulnerable to Soviet pressure if not conquest. America's defense shield allowed them to recover economically and politically.
However, the threat of Soviet invasion ebbed. The Red Army mostly ensured the loyalty of Moscow's nominal allies. Europe recovered economically. Yet the military capabilities of NATO's European members did not keep pace. As President Dwight Eisenhower had predicted, permanent U.S. military deployments created European dependency. NATO remained North America and The Others.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact NATO's raison d'etre simply disappeared. There was no more threat to defend against. As Gertrude Stein said of Oakland, "there's no there there."
For a time alliance supporters worried about the organization's future. Some proposed that NATO organize student exchanges and undertake drug interdiction. The alliance reinvented itself as a sort of Welcome Wagon for Moscow's former republics and satellites, ignoring the security implications of issuing new defense guarantees.