Monday, April 4, 2016

Happy Birthday, NATO

April 4 marks the anniversary of the signing of the treaty creating NATO in 1949.  Its purpose, pungently expressed by its first Secretary-General, Lord Ironside,, was "to keep the Americans in [Europe], the Russians out, and the Germans down."  Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

I think NATO's record over the past 67 years is actually much better than that. It has provided both the reality and the psychological comfort of security. It has rescued some of the former Soviet satellites from intimidation and domination by Moscow. It has performed well in some difficult military operations.

It is far from "obsolete," as the uninformed Donald Trump claims. Thanks to Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post for demolishing much of Trump's criticisms.  On the other hand -- there always is another hand, isn't there? -- NATO could do much better, and member countries need to do more in their own and the common defense.  I'm pleased, for example, by the European Reassurance Initiative, both its measures to improve the balance of power in eastern Europe and its restraints to reduce Russian reactions.

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