Is Trump Right About the U.S Commitment To NATO?

Posted: March 30, 2016 in Uncategorized
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Donald Trump told the New York Times last weekend, “I am ‘not isolationist’, but I am ‘America first’. A logical expression.

Of NATO, where the U.S underwrites three-fourths of the cost of defending Europe, Trump calls the arrangement “unfair, economically, to us,” and adds, “we will not be ripped off anymore.”

But the ideas Trump exclaimed should ignite a national debate over U.S overseas commitments – especially NATO.

For the Donald’s ideas are not lacking for authoritative support.

The first NATO supreme commander, Gen. Eisenhower, said in February 1951 of the alliance: If in 10 years, all  American stationed in Europe for national defense purposes have not been returned to the United States, then this whole projects will have failed.”

As JFK biographer Richard Reeves related, President Eisenhower, a decade later, admonished the president – elect on NATO.

Eisenhower told his successor it was time to start bringing the troops home from Europe. ‘America is carry far more then her share of free world defense,’ he said. It was time for other nations of NATO to take on more of the costs of their own defense.”

No Cold War president followed IKe’s counsel.

But when the cold war ended with the collapse of the Soviet Empire, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, and the breakup of the Soviet Union into 15 nations, a new debate erupted.

The conservative coalition that had United in the Cold War fractured. Some argued that when the Russian troops went home from Europe, the U.S troops should have come home from Europe.

Time for a populous prosperous Europe to start defending itself.

Instead, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush began handing out NATO memberships, i.e., war guarantees to all ex – Warsaw Pact nations and even Baltic Republics that had been part of the Soviet Union.

In a historically provocative act, the U.S moved its “red line” for war with Russia from the Elbe River in Germany to the Estonian – Russian border, a few miles from St. Petersburg.

We declared to the world that should Russia seek to restore its hegemony over any part of its old empire in Europe, she would be at war with the United States.

No Cold War president ever considered issuing a war guarantee of this magnitude, putting our home land at risk of nuclear war, to defend Latvia and Estonia.

Recall. Ike did not intervene to save the Hungarian freedom fighter in 1956. Lyndon Johnson did not lift a hand to save the Czechs, when Warsaw Pact crushed “Prague Spring” in 1968. Reagan refused to intervene with Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, on Moscow’s order, smashed solidarity in 1981.

These Presidents put America first. All would have rejoiced in the liberation of Eastern Europe. But none would have committed us to war with a nuclear – armed nation Russia to guarantee it.

Yet, George W. Bush was declaring any Russian move against Latvia or Estonia was meant war with the United States. John McCain wanted to extend U.S war guarantees to George and Ukraine.

This was madness born of hubris. And among those who warned of moving NATO onto Russia’s border’s  was America’s greatest geostrategist, the author of Containment, George Kennan.

” Expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the post Cold -war era. Such a decision may be expected to impel Russian foreign policy  in direction decidedly not to our liking.”

The Russian people, extending a friendly hand and seeing it slapped away, cheered the ouster of accommodating Boris Yelstin and the arrival of a autocratic strong man who would make Russia respected again. We ourselves prepared the path for Vladimir Putin.

While Trump is focusing on bearing too much of the cost of defending Europe, it is the risk we are taking that is are paramount, risks no Cold War president ever dared to take.

Why should America fight Russia over who rules in the Baltic States or Romania and Bulgaria? When did the sovereignty of these nations become interests so vital we would risk a military clash with Moscow that could escalate in a nuclear war? Why are we still committed to fight for scores of nations on five continents?

Trump is challenging the mindset of a foreign policy elite whose thinking is frozen in a world that disappeared in around 1991.

He is suggested a new foreign policy where the United States is committed to war only when are attacked or U.S vital interests are imperiled. And when we agree to defend our nations, they will bear a full share of the costs of our own defense. The era of the free rider is over.

Trump’s phrase “America First!” has a nice ring to it.

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