Is President Donald Trump going to destroy the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) when he attends its summit in Brussels on July 12?
To watch and read the commentary being broadcast and published by the foreign policy elite on both sides of the Atlantic, it certainly seems like it.
One of the interesting aspects of the hysteria is that NATO’s supporters never seem to think it is necessary to explain why it would be a bad idea to end the alliance. In a spate of interviews ahead of the summit, NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchinson enumeratedthe many ways that Russia threatens Europe and U.S. interests. But while the threats she mentioned – political subversion through social media, nerve agent attacks in Great Britain, support for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) treaty, and annexation of Crimea – are all major threats, they are not the main threats that the U.S. faces today. Moreover, NATO has been ineffective in confronting these malign actions by Russia.
NATO’s ineffectiveness ought to be the key issue of discussion when considering its future. But to date, that weakness has been largely overlooked in the rush to blame Trump for allegedly destroying America’s alliances.
NATO was established in 1949. It was the second major organization, after the United Nations, which was formed in the aftermath of World War II. Like the U.N., NATO was envisioned as a means to secure the peace in the post-war era.