Pat Buchanan: Is Macron right? Is NATO, 70, brain dead?
A week from now, the 29 member states of “the most successful alliance in history” will meet to celebrate its 70th anniversary. Yet all is not well within NATO.
The gathering, on the outskirts of London, has been cut to two days. Why the shortened agenda?
Among the reasons, apprehension that President Donald Trump might use the occasion to disrupt alliance comity by again berating the Europeans for freeloading on the U.S. defense budget.
French President Emanuel Macron described NATO as having suffered “brain death.” Macron now openly questions the U.S. commitment to fight for Europe and is talking about a “true European Army” with France’s nuclear deterrent able to “defend Europe alone.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose nation has relied on the U.S. and NATO to keep Russia at bay since the Cold War began, is said to be enraged at the “disruptive politics” of the French president.
Also, early in December, Britain holds national elections. While the Labour Party remains committed to NATO, its leader, Jeremy Corbyn
During the Cold War, NATO enjoyed the widespread support of Americans and Europeans. The USSR had 20 divisions in Germany, surrounded West Berlin, and occupied the east bank of the Elbe, within striking distance of the Rhine.
But that Cold War is long over. Berlin is the united free capital of Germany. The Warsaw Pact has been dissolved. Its member states have all joined NATO. The Soviet Union split apart into 15 nations.
As a fighting faith, communism is dead in Europe. Why then are we Americans still over there?
Since the Cold War, we have doubled the size of NATO. We have brought in the Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania but not Finland or Sweden. We have committed ourselves to fight for Slovenia, Croatia, Albania and Montenegro but not Serbia, Bosnia or North Macedonia.
In the House Intel Committee’s impeachment hearings, foreign service officers spoke of “Russian aggression” against our Ukrainian “ally” and our “national security” being in peril in this fight.
But when did Ukraine become an ally of the United States whose territorial wars we must sustain with military aid if not military intervention?
When did Kyiv’s control of Crimea and the Donbass become critical to the national security of the United States, when Russia has controlled Ukraine almost without interruption from Catherine the Great in the 18th century to Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 20th century?
Among the reasons Trump is president is that he raised provocative questions about NATO and Russia left unaddressed for three decades.
Do we truly believe that if Russia marched into Estonia, the U.S. would start attacking the ships, planes and troops of a nation armed with thousands of tactical and strategic nuclear weapons?
Would NATO allies Spain, Portugal and Italy declare war on Russia?
Under NATO, we are now committed to go to war for 28 nations. And the interventionists who took us into Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen want U.S. war guarantees extended to other nations even closer to Russia.
One day, one of these war guarantees is going to be called upon, and we may find that the American people were unaware of that commitment, and are unwilling to honor it, especially if the consequence is a major war with a nuclear power.
Pat Buchanan is author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”