The New York Times today has a piece by the German defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen, entitled “The World Needs NATO.” The article gives the standard tripe about how NATO is a force for good in the world and needs to be preserved.
Actually, it’s the exact opposite. NATO is a force for bad in the world and needs to be dismantled.
NATO was formed after World War II to oppose the Soviet Union (including Russia), which had been a wartime enemy of Germany and partner and ally of the United States. Once the war against Germany was concluded, U.S. officials converted Germany’s enemy, the Soviet Union, from ally and partner to official enemy of the United States. West Germany, now allied with the United States, continued keeping the Soviet Union as its postwar enemy.
The idea was that NATO was needed to protect England and Western Europe from Soviet aggression. What were the chances that the Soviet Union was going to invade England and Western Europe? Nil. World War II had left the Soviet Union totally devastated. The last thing the Soviets wanted was another major war, especially since they lacked the manpower and industrial capacity to wage such a war.
So, what was the concern about the Soviet Union? One concern was that is was a communist state. Communism is a brutal philosophy. The mindset was, therefore, that it was necessary to oppose communism and any communist regime as a matter of principle.
Yet, that clearly is not what the U.S. government had done during World War II. That’s what Hitler had done. During the war, the U.S. made the Soviet Union into a partner and ally with which it cooperated to win the war.
But that ended up causing a major problem, one that was later used by U.S. officials, to justify converting the Soviet Union into a postwar official enemy. During the war, President Franklin Roosevelt agreed that the Soviets could have possession and control over Eastern Europe. That’s what the wartime conference at Yalta was all about.
The result was that at the end of the war, the Soviet Union controlled all of Eastern Europe and the eastern half of Germany. At that point, the U.S. government demanded that the Soviets return home. But as a practical matter, that wasn’t going to happen. Germany had devastated Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union, wreaking untold death and destruction. Soviet control of half of Germany and all of Eastern Europe provided the Soviets with an insurance policy and a buffer that would help to ensure that Germany wouldn’t rise up and do it again, as it had after World War I.
The U.S. and West Germany used the continued Soviet aggression with respect to Eastern Europe and East Germany as proof that the Soviet Union’s real aim was to conquer the world, including the United States. That’s why, they said, they needed to bring NATO into existence — to protect the world from the Soviet Reds and to a certain extent, the Chinese, North Korean, North Vietnamese, and Yugoslavia Reds. Throughout the Cold War, U.S. officials maintained that there was a worldwide communist conspiracy to take over the world, with the conspiracy based in Moscow.
That is what was also used to justify the conversion of the U.S. government after World War II from a limited-government republic to what is called a national-security state, which is a type of governmental apparatus that is inherent to totalitarian regimes. Nazi Germany was a national-security state. So was the Soviet Union. So was postwar America.
In 1989, the Soviet Union suddenly and unexpectedly declared an end to the Cold War and withdrew its forces from Germany and Eastern Europe, which caught NATO and the U.S. national-security establishment flat-footed and shocked. That brought to an end the justification for NATO and, for that matter, the U.S. national-security state. At that point, NATO should have gone out of existence. So should the U.S. national-national-security state.
But government bureaucracies are like cancer. Once they are brought into existence, they will fight fiercely to maintain their existence. One of the ways that NATO has done that is by doing its best to restart the Cold War against Russia.
In her article Ursula von der Leyen mentions the Russian invasion of Crimea. What she doesn’t point out what NATO and the U.S. government did to precipitate that invasion.
When the Cold War ended, U.S. officials assured Russia that NATO would not expand. Why should it? The Cold was over. But expand is precisely what NATO did, with the intent to restarting the Cold War, which had proven to be so lucrative to the “defense” (i.e., military) industries in the United States and Germany. NATO began moving eastward, toward the Soviet Union, absorbing one Eastern European country after another.
When NATO finally got to Ukraine, which is on Russia’s border, NATO wished to continue its absorption policy. The obstacle was a pro-Russia regime in power in Ukraine. No problem. Enter the CIA, which helped to ignite a regime-change revolution, which installed a pro-U.S. dictatorship into power.
That meant that the NATO could now absorb Ukraine, which, therefore, would give the U.S. government control over Russia’s centuries-old military base in Crimea. There was no chance that Russia was ever going to let that happen, which is why it invaded the area.
After the invasion, we heard all the standard Cold War lines about Russian (read: Soviet or communist) aggression and nothing about how NATO and the U.S. had cunningly brought about the crisis.
And then, not surprisingly, the Russian aggression on Crimea is now cited as the reason for keeping NATO in existence, just as the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe and East Germany (after FDR had given it to the Soviets) was used for the same purpose.
Americans should also keep in mind that under NATO rules and regulations, the United States is automatically committed to come to the defense of any NATO member that is attacked by some other nation. Thus, NATO has served to destroy the independence of the American people to decide, through a declaration of war by Congress, whether to embroil our nation in any particular foreign war.
NATO is a Cold War dinosaur, one that poses much more danger to the American people than Russia. It should be dismantled and cast into the dust bin of history. Or at the very least, the United States should simply leave.