On the eve of the NATO summit held in Madrid on June 29–30, NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that “the number of NATO troops on high readiness will multiply by over seven times as part of its largest overhaul since the Cold War and in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine.” The multinational NATO Response Force (NRF) currently consists of around 40,000 troops. Stoltenberg told reporters that “we will transform the NATO response force and increase the number of our high readiness forces to well over 300,000.” He said it marked the “biggest overhaul” of NATO’s defense units since the Cold War.
Let the European members of NATO transform NATO all they want, but let them transform NATO without U.S. help.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was established in 1949 by the North Atlantic Treaty. It initially had 12 member countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States. That number has since grown to 30, with the most recent member being North Macedonia. Finland and Sweden have now completed accession talks at NATO headquarters and will become the newest members of NATO once the accession protocols are ratified by the existing NATO members.
The main purpose of NATO was always to counter the threat to Europe posed by the Soviet Union. That ceased to be true with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the deposing of the Communist governments of Eastern Europe, the destruction of the Berlin Wall, and the disbanding of the Warsaw Pact. But instead of disbanding NATO, or at least withdrawing from it, the United States sought to expand it up to the borders of Russia.
The main problem with NATO, as far as the United States is concerned, is that NATO is committed to the Article 5 collective defense clause of the North Atlantic Treaty:
The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
This means that the United States is obligated to go to war to defend countries like Latvia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia, that is, small countries that many Americans couldn’t locate on a map, don’t care a whit about, and — even if they have heard of them — may have never realized were countries.
According to the White House “Fact Sheet” on the 2022 NATO Summit, “President Biden will reaffirm the United States’ unwavering commitment to the Transatlantic bond and NATO’s Article 5 — that an attack on one is an attack on all.”
Contrast the foreign policy of President Biden (and Presidents Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton, and Bush before him) with that of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. In his Farewell Address, Washington famously warned against “permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.” He also said that “the great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible.” And then there is Thomas Jefferson: “I am for free commerce with all nations, political connection with none, and little or no diplomatic establishment. And I am not for linking ourselves by new treaties with the quarrels of Europe, entering that field of slaughter to preserve their balance, or joining in the confederacy of Kings to war against the principles of liberty.”
Biden maintained earlier this year that “NATO guarantees the security of one billion people in Europe and North America.” This is pure fiction. NATO outlived its usefulness more than three decades ago. And how does NATO guarantee the security of any American or Canadian? Will Latvia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia send their armies to North America in the event of a Russian attack on our shores?
The United States accounts for about three quarters of NATO’s defense spending. Why? Shouldn’t the countries of Europe — which will bear the brunt of Russian expansion, aggression, and militarism — be the ones spending the most for their defense? Shouldn’t the NATO countries on the border with Russia — Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Poland — be paying the most for their defense?
Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan asks some other pointed questions:
What patriot would commit his own country, in perpetuity, to go to war on behalf of another country not his own?
Why, 30 years after the Cold War ended, are we still expanding NATO?
But how does it benefit our country, the USA, to be obligated to go to war with a nation that commands the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons — over some quarrel in the Baltic Sea or Gulf of Finland that does not affect us?
I think the answers to these questions are quite obvious.
NATO needs to be disbanded, not expanded. But if the countries of Europe want to demonize, sanction, and embargo Russia; maintain a united front against Russian aggression, expansion, and militarism; exact retribution from Russia for invading Ukraine; and spend billions of euros to transform NATO, then they should be left to their folly. The United States should not only not join with them: we should be stridently neutral.