Where Does the Anti-NATO Sentiment Come From?

 

Flag_of_NATO.svg_Rather than flapping my arms and screeching “Useful idiot!” at the television screen, I thought I’d try to explain (to the best of my knowledge) what NATO does, why, and where — I suspect — some of Trump’s anti-NATO sentiment must be coming from.

This brief history of NATO does a good job of explaining how NATO came into existence. The first paragraph is key:

It is often said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded in response to the threat posed by the Soviet Union. This is only partially true. In fact, the Alliance’s creation was part of a broader effort to serve three purposes: deterring Soviet expansionism, forbidding the revival of nationalist militarism in Europe through a strong North American presence on the continent, and encouraging European political integration.

I’m thinking that NATO’s been around so long that many Americans have forgotten that Europe’s the way it is now by design. By American design. We’re now entering an age when most of the generation that would remember this directly is dead. Perhaps that’s why ideas that would have been shouted down instantly by our grandparents — from communism to isolationism — are getting a hearing again now:

The aftermath of World War II saw much of Europe devastated in a way that is now difficult to envision.

I think that’s true. I think most people do now think of Europe as a bunch of pretty cities, and don’t immediately think of this:

Approximately 36.5 million Europeans had died in the conflict, 19 million of them civilians. Refugee camps and rationing dominated daily life. In some areas, infant mortality rates were one in four. Millions of orphans wandered the burnt-out shells of former metropolises. In the German city of Hamburg alone, half a million people were homeless.

The enormity of the destruction transferred the responsibility for preserving Western civilization to the United States. This was our strategy for rebuiliding it:

Aid provided through the US-funded Marshall Plan and other means fostered a degree of economic stabilisation. European states still needed confidence in their security, however, before they would begin talking and trading with each other. Military cooperation, and the security it would bring, would have to develop in parallel with economic and political progress.

With this in mind, several Western European democracies came together to implement various projects for greater military cooperation and collective defence, including the creation of the Western Union in 1948, later to become the Western European Union in 1954. In the end, it was determined that only a truly transatlantic security agreement could deter Soviet aggression while simultaneously preventing the revival of European militarism and laying the groundwork for political integration.

Americans who resent Europeans for being reluctant to militarize and for placing so much importance on political integration should remember that this is the world we created. We insisted upon this. Europe had no choice. It’s very strange for Americans suddenly to view the United States’ greatest military and foreign policy achievement as a failure. It was the United States’ plan for Europe to focus on economic growth rather than maintaining large conventional armies:

During this time, NATO adopted the strategic doctrine of “Massive Retaliation” – if the Soviet Union attacked, NATO would respond with nuclear weapons. The intended effect of this doctrine was to deter either side from risk-taking since any attack, however small, could have led to a full nuclear exchange. Simultaneously, “Massive Retaliation” allowed Alliance members to focus their energies on economic growth rather than on maintaining large conventional armies.

Some Americans now seem sympathetic to the argument that since the fall of the Berlin Wall, NATO has been obsolete. But NATO’s function was never solely to deter the Soviet Union, and a great deal of strategic thought — and historic memory — led American policymakers to think it should continue to be the basis for Europe’s postwar security architecture:

The fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 seemed to proclaim a new era of open markets, democracy and peace, and Allies reacted with incredulous joy as emboldened demonstrators overthrew Eastern European Communist governments. But there were also frightening uncertainties. Would a united Germany be neutral? What would become of nuclear weapons in former Soviet republics? Would nationalism once again curse European politics? For NATO, the question was existential: was there any further need for the Atlantic Alliance?

NATO endured because while the Soviet Union was no more, the Alliance’s two other original if unspoken mandates still held: to deter the rise of militant nationalism and to provide the foundation of collective security that would encourage democratization and political integration in Europe

The Soviet Union is no more, but the other imperatives remain. What’s more, we’re still stuck with a very aggressive Russia — one that views the West as its enemy, whether or not the feeling is mutual.

I think, or hope, that most conservatives know that the Soviet Union backed Western movements such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Putin’s Russia, unfortunately, targets American conservatives in a similar way. For example:

Knowing that evidence would implicate Russia in the shoot-down of the Malaysian Airlines MH17 plane, the Russian disinformation apparatus went into action early in the crisis, putting out the story that the plane was travelling almost the same route that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s jet had travelled before. In short, the accusation was that Ukraine downed the plane, thinking Putin was on it. Hence, it was an assassination attempt.

This bizarre piece of disinformation surfaced on RT (Russia Today), the Moscow-funded English-language propaganda network known to critics as KGB-TV. It was linked to by the popular Drudge Report, used by many conservatives as their homepage, and then picked up by the Alex Jones’ Infowars.com site, a reliable outlet for pro-Russian propaganda.

Drudge posted the item, “RT: Putin’s plane might have been target,” apparently to suggest that there was honest confusion over whether the Russians had shot down the plane.

It’s worth reading that article in full. This article, too, provides ample documentation of this effort.

Russian information warfare is remarkably sophisticated. They’ve been doing this since the era of spetspropaganda, which was first taught as a subject at the Russian Military Institute of Foreign Languages in 1942. It was removed from the curriculum in 1990s — but reinstated in 2000. In recent years, the disinformation assault on the media in Europe and the US is just as intense as it was at the height of the Cold War. And it seems to me that it’s been nightmarishly successful: We now have many Americans who think pulling out of NATO would be a good idea. It’s an idea very much like unilateral nuclear disarmament.

It’s taken a long time, but NATO’s beginning to realize just how vulnerable the alliance is to Russian efforts to undermine it through information warfare:

WOJCIECH JAKÓBIK: Is Russia increasing its information warfare activity against NATO?

PETER B. DORAN: We are witnessing the emergence of something new. Information warfare is creating a new kind of battle space. It is an emerging front similar to cyberwarfare. The bad news is that Russia has very sophisticated disinformation techniques; and they are winning.

How can you measure that?

It is now common to see the tropes of Russian disinformation and propaganda in the public discourse of the Western analytical community. That weakens the quality of the policy debate in the expert community. Often, experts do not even realise that they might be channeling an idea that originated from a node of Russian disinformation. Those ideas crop up in the strangest places.

I fully agree with Doran. (They’re cropping up, for example, in the Republican frontrunner’s ideas about foreign policy.)

Does Russia want us to focus on terrorist attacks and the migration wave?

The Russian government is very cynical when it talks about fighting terrorism. When this occurs, Russian officials are reading from an old playbook from the post-September 11th era. Recall that Russia was a partner with the United States in the war on terror back in the early 2000s. But that was a different time. That was before Russia invaded its neighbors and illegally annexed the territory of another European country. Moscow wants the West to focus on terrorism so that it can distract from the fact that Russia has stolen part of Ukraine’s territory. The West should not be distracted, nor forget.

Indeed. Terrorist attacks and the migration wave are serious things. This year, for the first time, Russia declined to attend the nuclear security summit. Russia effectively declared that it is no longer willing to cooperate with international efforts to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism.

The EU has at long last set up a counter-disinformation unit. Its efforts are pretty pathetic compared to what Russia’s been doing, but it’s still worth having a look. If you read the weekly disinformation review, you’ll have a better sense of which stories making it into the US media come directly from the Kremlin.

I find it pretty painful to see how many do. I don’t know what can be done about it, but I’d like to hear the candidates asked how they’d approach the problem.

Published in Foreign Policy, General
Tags: ,
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 72 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Giantkiller Member
    Giantkiller
    @Giantkiller

    My disappointment with NATO is based on current military effectiveness.

    Your original post outlining why we are in NATO and who was behind the thing in the first place is correct.  And throughout the 70s and even the 80s, NATO fielded credible forces that, taken together, deterred the Soviets from rolling up the rest of Europe.  After the Soviets faded then collapsed, the key allies – Germany, France, and the UK – suddenly found that military spending was way excessive.  So much so that these days the Germans have a less capable military than they did under the Versailles Treaty – Poland has a much more robust overall capability than Germany.  France has a small force, effective only for very limited power projection.  The UK has also downsized to a very dangerous degree – the RAF and the RN are too small to play any major role, even in the defense of their own island.

    Behind closed door discussions have been held – repeatedly – to no effect.  Most NATO nations don’t even pretend to take their military commitment seriously anymore.  They go to all the conferences, though.

    None of this is secret – none of it is news to the players involved, on both sides.

    NATO is still needed – it just is not there anymore, with some minor exceptions.

    • #31
  2. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Zafar:

    Doug Watt:

    Putin said that he could take the Ukraine and Poland any time he chose to.

    But could he keep them?

    Kiev and Warsaw would be harder to hold than Grozny, and that proved costly enough.

    I don’t think Putin spends much time agonizing over the loss of life whether on a small scale or large scale. For example there are now two types of murders in Russia. Solved and unsolved murders. Solved murders involve common criminals. Unsolved murders involve the state.

    Most recently Russian aircraft targeted schools and hospitals with their airstrikes in Syria.

    I think it is a mistake for us to try and mold Putin in our image. It’s like people who believe that grizzly bears are really human beings in big furry suits. Sometimes when one believes that and tries to be one with the bear they become one with the bear in bite sized digestible pieces.

    • #32
  3. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    With this in mind, several Western European democracies came together to implement various projects for greater military cooperation and collective defence, including the creation of the Western Union in 1948, later to become the Western European Union in 1954. In the end, it was determined that only a truly transatlantic security agreement could deter Soviet aggression while simultaneously preventing the revival of European militarism and laying the groundwork for political integration.

    Americans who resent Europeans for being reluctant to militarize and for placing so much importance on political integration should remember that this is the world we created. We insisted upon this. Europe had no choice. It’s very strange for Americans suddenly to view the United States’ greatest military and foreign policy achievement as a failure.

    This has the air of revisionist history. NATO was never intended to forward political integration. In addition to mutual defense economic collaboration alone is put forward as a treaty goal.

    Also preventing a revival of European militarism is completely different from a demilitarized Europe. Treaty members with a hollowed out military by definition cannot fulfill the primary purpose of the alliance.

    • #33
  4. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Roberto: This has the air of revisionist history. NATO was never intended to forward political integration. In addition to mutual defense economic collaboration alone is put forward as a treaty

    It is right in the language of the Brussels Treaty. Indeed, only Article IV is concerned with defense.

    ARTICLE I Convinced of the close community of their interests and of the necessity of uniting in order to promote the economic recovery of Europe, the High Contracting Parties will so organize and co-ordinate their economic activities as to produce the best possible results, by the elimination of conflict in their economic policies, the co-ordination of production and the development of commercial exchanges. The co-operation provided for in the preceding paragraph, which will be effected through the Consultative Council referred to in Article VII as well as through other bodies, shall not involve any duplication of, or prejudice to, the work of other economic organizations in which the High Contracting Parties are or may be represented but shall on the contrary assist the work of those organizations.

    ARTICLE II The High Contracting Parties will make every effort in common, both by direct consultation and in specialized agencies, to promote the attainment of a higher standard of living by their peoples and to develop on corresponding lines the social and other related services of their countries. The High Contracting Parties will consult with the object of achieving the earliest possible application of recommendations of immediate practical interest, relating to social matters, adopted with their approval in the specialized agencies. They will endeavour to conclude as soon as possible conventions with each other in the sphere of social security.

    ARTICLE III The High Contracting Parties will make every effort in common to lead their peoples towards a better understanding of the principles which form the basis of their common civilization and to promote cultural exchanges by conventions between themselves or by other means. …

    • #34
  5. Sabrdance Member
    Sabrdance
    @Sabrdance

    The purpose of NATO is to keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down.  And such was said as early as 1957.

    So I don’t object to the Europeans not having massive armies.  When they have massive armies they tend to use them.  (Of course, I’m realizing that when we have massive armies, we tend to use them too, but at least we don’t use them to start of world destroying wars twice in 40 years.  We just blow up the Middle East…)

    I do bristle at, as noted above, Bono and the other Euro[CoC]s who seem to be massively ungrateful for it.  Rather makes me want to leave them to their own devices and see how many decades it takes before France and Germany are at each other’s throats again.  And this time, we let them kill themselves.

    • #35
  6. ToryWarWriter Reagan
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    The USA deliberately chose to break their own allies because they dared to have their own Foreign Policy.

    Its called the Suez Crisis. The British and French get together with Isreal and do a massive disinformation campaign and proceed to invade Egypt.  I got a nice article on that published somewhere.

    The USA setup a bunch of client kingdoms and then used your policies to encourage them to disarm, and adopting the welfare states that would make them look inward. This made a lot of sense in a bi polar world vs the Soviets.

    Now that the SU is gone, now you are upset that they are freeloading on your defense. Its your fault.  You created that situation and with good reason, turns out client kingdoms are quite nice event in a unilateral world.

    That being said do you want Europe to rearm, cause as soon as they do they are going to develop their own foreign policy again and get up into all kinds of mischief.

    ARE YOU SURE ABOUT THAT?!?!

    • #36
  7. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Roberto: This has the air of revisionist history. NATO was never intended to forward political integration. In addition to mutual defense economic collaboration alone is put forward as a treaty

    It is right in the language of the Brussels Treaty. Indeed, only Article IV is concerned with defense.

    Signatories:

    • Belgium
    • France
    • Luxembourg
    • Netherlands
    • United Kingdom

    Hmm, notice who is missing from that list? I do not see how a treaty which is a predecessor to NATO, which the United States is not even a party to, is particularly relevant.

    Even if this were not the case, taking the quoted articles as a pledge for political integration seems an incredibly broad reading of the text.

    • #37
  8. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: …the High Contracting Parties will so organize…

    The parties were high when they signed the contract? Well, that explains everything…

    • #38
  9. mildlyo Member
    mildlyo
    @mildlyo

    I thought of the Soviet Union as an enemy. I do not think of Russia as an enemy. This viewpoint makes me disagree with a lot of the pro-NATO justifications in the OP.

    As a US citizen, I have very low interest in the theory that no foreign country in the world will remain a democracy without eternal occupation by US forces. This seems to be the gist of the arguments.

    • Rebuild devastated enemies and allies. Fine.
    • Exert influence to give former enemies a chance to democratize. Fine.
    • Occupy former enemies for a generation. Starting to lose me.
    • Occupy former enemies forever. No.
    • #39
  10. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: It is right in the language of the Brussels Treaty.

    It’s not in the parts you quoted, if by “it” you mean, as Roberto did, “political integration”.

    • #40
  11. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    NATO was created to do one thing: keep the Soviet Union from conquering a broken Europe after WWII. Mission accomplished. The Soviet Union is dead, and it’s not coming back. “But Putin!”, you say.  Russia is Russia. Russia is not the Soviet Union. Russia is in no way the existential threat Soviet communism was. NATO should have quietly, cleanly folded up its tent around 1995 or so, when we were filling missile silos with concrete on two continents, shook hands, and went our ways, remembering NATO fondly as a successful solution to a temporary problem.

    Instead, we kept adding new things to do: monkeying around in Yugoslavia (a European affair that the United States had zero business getting into), “humanitarian” missions, and now, Afghanistan. We called that “mission creep” back when I was in the military, folks.

    I don’t know why you guys are that concerned about NATO anyway, as the Europe you know will be dead soon. Probably in 50-60 years or so, when West Eurostan demands the alliance defend the honor of the Prophet Mohammed against those apes and pigs in Israel, and the Emir of Deutschestan starts eyeing Christian lands in Poland with hungry eyes.

    • #41
  12. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    Frank Soto:

    genferei: While I continue to think being on the other side of an issue from Pat Buchanan is the right place to be…

    Always hold to that conviction.

    It turns out there are many ostensibly on the right who don’t really want to see things like social security and medicare spending cut. When pressed for what they would do about the debt, they name things like foreign aid, welfare abuse, and NATO spending. All of which add up to almost nothing.

    We do need to deal with entitlements. That said we a $20 trillion in debt. We need to cut as much as possible. At this point China and other countries a financing our involvement in NATO. Maybe NATO is still important, but it is a legitimate question to ask; we are borrowing the money needed to pay for NATO is it worth the cost.

    • #42
  13. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    mildlyo: . I do not think of Russia as an enemy.

    You can think of Russia as your best friend forever, but Russia thinks of you as an enemy, which is surely the relevant point, from a national security perspective.

    • #43
  14. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Sabrdance:The purpose of NATO is to keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down. And such was said as early as 1957.

    Precisely.

    So I don’t object to the Europeans not having massive armies. When they have massive armies they tend to use them. (Of course, I’m realizing that when we have massive armies, we tend to use them too, but at least we don’t use them to start of world destroying wars twice in 40 years. We just blow up the Middle East…)

    Pretty much.

    I do bristle at, as noted above, Bono and the other Euro[CoC]s who seem to be massively ungrateful for it.

    Bono is a pop star. We have pop stars, too. We have Susan Sarandon. We have cultures that tolerate people saying all sorts of crazy things. I’d prefer not to be judged for Susan Sarandon. Let’s not judge Europe by Bono.

    Rather makes me want to leave them to their own devices and see how many decades it takes before France and Germany are at each other’s throats again. And this time, we let them kill themselves.

    • #44
  15. Bill Walsh Member
    Bill Walsh
    @BillWalsh

    Well, an answer is robust pro-Western, anti-Putin public diplomacy by the U.S.—and our allies. If NATO is a good thing, we need to educate our peoples why it is. Large numbers of Europeans have been snotty and resentful of the United States’ role in Europe since at least the ’80s. Their resentment was perhaps cultivated and stoked by Soviet black propaganda, but it had indigenous sources as well, with proud, once globally-powerful nations resigning themselves to a more regional role, resentment at the West’s leadership passing to vulgar, ignorant, parvenu cowboys, sublimated guilt at having laid waste to the Continent twice in four decades, etc.

    Similarly, contemporary American resentment has legitimate, indigenous bases, as argued above here and elsewhere. This serves and (as you note) is cultivated by Russian dezinformatsiya, but the latter isn’t its sole source.

    The fact is, the Alliance was for so long a relatively self-evident good (or necessity), we stopped promoting and defending it as such. After 1991, this neglect and the absence of a direct Soviet threat led us to where we are.

    The larger problem comes from the first half of the “pro-West, anti-Putin” formulation. Also influenced by Soviet measures (but with indigenous factors as well), the West’s intellectual class has internalized a fundamentally anti-Western attitude and this has been vulgarized through the streak of self-abasement and Marxisant who-whom nonsense that comprises much of higher (and increasingly large proportions of secondary and primary) education in the place where civics, humanities, and unironically named great books used to be.

    So, it’s tough to even rally our intellectuals (across the West) behind the project of rallying the people to overcome their objections, when the opinion class doesn’t believe the West is worth saving.

    • #45
  16. The Question Inactive
    The Question
    @TheQuestion

    Based on my observations on Facebook, the Alex Jones, “anti-globalist”  people believe that Putin is a very good man.  They talk a lot about the Obama administration and Putin as enemies, and Europe and Putin as enemies, with Putin as the good guy and Obama and Europe as the bad guys.  They see a big, sinister conspiracy by the West against Putin and Russia, to steal Ukraine away from Russia, because apparently it’s supposed to be a part of Russia.  They don’t seem to notice that Obama refused to give Ukraine weapons.  They constantly shift the topic when you point out their logical inconsistancies.

    • #46
  17. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    genferei: Nevertheless, in the spirit of reduced arm-flapping, what can the right-thinking people of the West demand of their institutions to compete with this?

    Carter Page should not be anyone’s foreign policy advisor, for one thing. The counter-disinformation unit should be scaled up in a big way.

    Why? His credentials are pretty impressive –

    • #47
  18. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Douglas:NATO was created to do one thing: keep the Soviet Union from conquering a broken Europe after WWII. Mission accomplished. The Soviet Union is dead, and it’s not coming back. “But Putin!”, you say. Russia is Russia. Russia is not the Soviet Union. Russia is in no way the existential threat Soviet communism was. NATO should have quietly, cleanly folded up its tent around 1995 or so, when we were filling missile silos with concrete on two continents, shook hands, and went our ways, remembering NATO fondly as a successful solution to a temporary problem.

    Douglas – the Soviet Union is not dead – Putin is making it his mission to return it to its former status – peel back the onion layers and you’ll see the henchmen behind Putin’s plan – in fact, the major refugee crisis in Europe was in part, Putin stirring the pot in Syria for a long time – just part of his Soviet stew. His sights are on more than Eastern Europe. Also, filling in the silos? They got rid of the old – and have been building the new for some time.

    Claire – can you add the link on the guy with the beard pulling the strings in Russia – forgot his name, but you did a story on him. Dugan?

    • #48
  19. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Let’s not judge Europe by Bono.

    OK Let’s judge Europe by Chirac and Schroder, who last set off a Saturnalia of anti-Americanism enjoying over 85% popular support when they strained every sinew of national power [short of taking up arms] to make sure as many Americans died in Iraq as possible. They did not say we profoundly disagree with you and have to abstain at the UN, they worked harder than Putin ever has to disparage America’s motives and hamstring the hyperpower.

    And I’m not pro-Trump by any means, nor have I drunk Putin’s Kool-Aid. Jeanne Kirkpatrick proposed that we wind down NATO once it’s mission was accomplished; I think we made a mistake not following her advice.

    • #49
  20. Randal H Member
    Randal H
    @RandalH

    I was in Germany a lot in the late ’70s and throughout the ’80s as an exchange student.  I was there when Reagan pushed to install Pershing II missiles in Europe and all the anti-American hoopla that ensued. I was dressed down by a French army officer (this is when France still had occupation soldiers in Germany) when he found out I was an American staying a couple of doors down from him. I spent countless hours defending against attacks from Germans (and other Europeans) who didn’t like US actions.

    That drove me straight into the arms of the libertarian movement. I grew up in southern Appalachia surrounded by poor people, and the thought of us providing and paying for the defense of these ingrates made me more than furious, especially since – from all outward appearances – they were far better off than most of my neighbors. To me, they needed to take all that social spending they did on themselves and pay for their own defense if they thought they needed it, or just take their chances if they thought they didn’t (which seemed to be the opinion of a lot of them).

    Don’t get me wrong, I wound up marrying a German lady and have been there many times visiting friends and in-laws. Not everyone shares the anti-American view. But enough for me to say it’s well past time to cut them loose.

    • #50
  21. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Even Jimmy Carter was contemptuous of Willy Brandt, who tried to surf the wave of “Ostpolitik” between the war mongering Americans and the misunderstood Russians in public, but would immediately revert to whining and wheedling for American missiles once the door shut.

    • #51
  22. Randal H Member
    Randal H
    @RandalH

    Petty Boozswha:Even Jimmy Carter was contemptuous of Willy Brandt, who tried to surf the wave of “Ostpolitic” between the war mongering Americans and the misunderstood Russians in public, but would immediately revert to whining and wheedling for American missiles once the door shut.

    Yeah, that was a topic I didn’t get into because of the word limit, but I was informed on any number of occasions that Germans fear the Americans more than the Russians, and after all, that Germans are really an eastward-looking people and thus more sympathetic to the Russians than to the cowboy Americans.

    • #52
  23. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    Hmm. Where does anti-NATO sentiment come from?

    It comes from the fact that Americans have noticed that Europe is ruled by suicidal fools who don’t like America, have parleyed their anti-Americanism into political power, and who have imported vast numbers of hostile foreigners into their failing countries for no reason other than that they hate the people who were already living on their continent.

    Furthermore, those folks worked hard to set up the EU as a rival and competitor to the United States, with the deliberate intent of dominating us economically, politically, and, eventually, militarily.

    Oops. Gosh, guess that ain’t working out too well, if now all-of-a-sudden the EU is worried that the US has lost interest in providing them an expensive, bloody insurance policy for their bottomless incompetence.

    Too bad for them. If for some insane reason Americans are expected  once again to build mass graves for the American soldiers killed saving Europe, then I say this time we stay, end the governments of the imbeciles, collect bounteous taxes, and control directly.

    If we’re going to pay for Europe- in blood as well as in taxes- we should also rule Europe.

    • #53
  24. Randal H Member
    Randal H
    @RandalH

    Xennady: Oops. Gosh, guess that ain’t working out too well, if now all-of-a-sudden the EU is worried that the US has lost interest in providing them an expensive, bloody insurance policy for their bottomless incompetence.

    I give Obama almost no credit for anything, but I do give him credit for leaving the Europeans with the impression that the US won’t always jump in to solve the problems that plague their region.

    My wife’s young German relatives all wanted Obama t-shirts (to wear along with their Che Guevara t-shirts, I guess) during his first campaign, which she purchased and sent over – much to my chagrin. That they now may feel abandoned by him causes me a slight bit of pleasure.

    • #54
  25. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    The Treaty of Brussels is a Benelux-French-British instrument and nothing to do with the US. The EU which decades later came out of this was parallel to the development of NATO and now is in competition with NATO.

    NATO did not have strong GOP support at its inception. Sen. Taft was very much opposed to American involvement in NATO.

    The basic problem with your narrative is that you give all the credit for this to the United States, when NATO is very much a American-British enterprise.

    Britain has lost interest at least from the actions of Cameron’s government. Obama has as well.

    The problems going forward are an Islamist Turkey in the alliance, European refusal to control their own borders with an invasion of hostile population of Muslims, and a Europe where Germany calls the shots and does truly remarkably stupid things (Greece, immigration). Why should we want to be allied with this? The other thing is they won’t care if we are gone. So farewell.

    • #55
  26. Guruforhire Inactive
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    America no longer has the social trust necessary to maintain their core national institutions, much less maintain international institutions.

    Europe can’t behave like Hank Reardon’s family forever.

    • #56
  27. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: I thought I’d try to explain (to the best of my knowledge) what NATO does, why, and where — I suspect — some of Trump’s anti-NATO sentiment must be coming from.

    You always amaze me with your insight, but this piece is crystal clear, and it is one of the best posts I’ve ever read here and one of the best articles I’ve ever read anywhere.

    I enjoyed reading it, and I commend you for excellence in journalism. :) :)

    • #57
  28. Sabrdance Member
    Sabrdance
    @Sabrdance

    While I am prone to thinking we should cut the ingrates loose, I should also say that when I was a kid -1988-1992 -living in Germany and Belgium on military bases (Stuttgart and SHAPE), I did on occasion talk with the people who lived around us.  They were Belgians and Germans, some of whom were old enough to remember WWII.  We visited France and I met a bunch of French people in Normandy visiting the battle fields, and a bunch of French and BeNeLux folks visiting Patton’s grave in Luxemburg.

    They were all very NATO and US positive.  I have since believed that while the governments of Europe (and the popstars) are arrogant fools who we could justifiably leave to lie in their own beds, the people of Europe are good folks -and our alliance is really with them.  And it’s worth remembering that by American standards of responsiveness and democratic accountability, most of Europe looks like a oligarchy(short ballots, lots of internal maneuvering by the bureaucracy -Americans would not stand for the type of control Sir Humphrey exercised over Minister Hacker).

    • #58
  29. CuriousKevmo Member
    CuriousKevmo
    @CuriousKevmo

    Sabrdance: Americans would not stand for the type of control Sir Humphrey exercised over Minister Hacker

    we wouldn’t?

    • #59
  30. Randal H Member
    Randal H
    @RandalH

    Sabrdance: They were all very NATO and US positive. I have since believed that while the governments of Europe (and the popstars) are arrogant fools who we could justifiably leave to lie in their own beds, the people of Europe are good folks -and our alliance is really with them.

    In my experience, there is great deal of difference between the opinions of the elites and the common people on the streets. In some ways, it’s no different than here. In addition to being a college exchange student in Germany, I also worked for a period of time in a paper mill while there. The academics and college students tended to be very vocally anti-American but the people I worked with and the normal people on the street were much less so, or could even be called pro-American. Some expressed concern that the US was in seeming decline militarily (especially after the Jimmy Carter disaster-in-the-desert fiasco trying to free the hostages in Iran).

    I haven’t made as many trips over in recent years, and I get the impression they have other things to worry about besides the Americans (the EU, Greek debt, refugees, etc.) So, I’m much less incensed about it, but I still think they should do a lot more for their own defense.

    And there truly are a lot of good folks there, some of the best and most generous I’ve met anywhere.

    • #60
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.