Patrick J. Buchanan / AntiWar.com & Rebecca Kheel / The Hill – 2019-01-18 23:01:59
At Age 70, Time To Rethink NATO
Patrick J. Buchanan / AntiWar.com
(January 18, 2019) — “Treaties are like roses and young girls. They last while they last.” So said President Charles De Gaulle, who in 1966 ordered NATO to vacate its Paris headquarters and get out of France.
NATO this year celebrates a major birthday. The young girl of 1966 is no longer young. The alliance is 70 years old.
And under this aging NATO today, the US is committed to treat an attack on any one of 28 nations from Estonia to Montenegro to Romania to Albania as an attack on the United States.
The time is ripe for a strategic review of these war guarantees to fight a nuclear-armed Russia in defense of countries across the length of Europe that few could find on a map.
Apparently, President Donald Trump, on trips to Europe, raised questions as to whether these war guarantees comport with vital US interests and whether they could pass a rigorous cost-benefit analysis.
The shock of our establishment that Trump even raised this issue in front of Europeans suggests that the establishment, frozen in the realities of yesterday, ought to be made to justify these sweeping war guarantees.
Celebrated as “the most successful alliance in history,” NATO has had two histories. Some of us can yet recall its beginnings.
In 1948, Soviet troops, occupying eastern Germany all the way to the Elbe and surrounding Berlin, imposed a blockade on the city.
The regime in Prague was overthrown in a Communist coup. Foreign minister Jan Masaryk fell, or was thrown, from a third-story window to his death. In 1949, Stalin exploded an atomic bomb.
As the US Army had gone home after V-E Day, the US formed a new alliance to protect the crucial European powers — West Germany, France, Britain, Italy. Twelve nations agreed that an attack on one would be treated as an attack on them all.
Cross the Elbe and you are at war with us, including the US with its nuclear arsenal, Stalin was, in effect, told. Hundreds of thousands of US troops returned to Europe to send the message that America was serious.
Crucial to the alliance was the Yalta Line dividing Europe — agreed to by Stalin, FDR and Churchill at the 1945 Crimean summit on the Black Sea.
US presidents, even when monstrous outrages were committed in Soviet-occupied Europe, did not cross this line into the Soviet sphere.
Truman did not send armored units up the highway to Berlin. He launched an airlift to break the Berlin blockade. Ike did not intervene to save the Hungarian rebels in 1956. JFK confined his rage at the building of the Berlin Wall to the rhetorical: “Ich bin ein Berliner.”
LBJ did nothing to help the Czechs when, before the Democratic convention in 1968, Leonid Brezhnev sent Warsaw Pact tank armies to crush the Prague Spring.
When the Solidarity movement of Lech Walesa was crushed in Gdansk, Reagan sent copy and printing machines. At the Berlin Wall in 1988, he called on Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”
Reagan never threatened to tear it down himself.
But beginning in 1989, the Wall was torn down, Germany was united, the Red Army went home, the Warsaw Pact dissolved, the USSR broke apart into 15 nations, and Leninism expired in its birthplace.
As the threat that had led to NATO disappeared, many argued that the alliance created to deal with that threat should be allowed to fade away, and a free and prosperous Europe should now provide for its own defense.
It was not to be. The architect of Cold War containment, Dr. George Kennan, warned that moving NATO into Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics would prove a “fateful error.”
This, said Kennan, would “inflame the nationalistic and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion” and “restore the atmosphere of the Cold War in East-West relations.” Kennan was proven right.
America is now burdened with the duty to defend Europe from the Atlantic to the Baltic, even as we face a far greater threat in China, with an economy and population 10 times that of Russia.
And we must do this with a defense budget that is not half the share of the federal budget or the GDP that Eisenhower and Kennedy had.
Trump is president today because the American people concluded that our foreign policy elite, with their endless interventions where no vital US interest was imperiled, had bled and virtually bankrupted us, while kicking away all of the fruits of our Cold War victory.
Halfway into Trumpâ€™s term, the question is whether he is going to just talk about halting Cold War II with Russia, about demanding that Europe pay for its own defense, and about bringing the troops home — or whether he is going to act upon his convictions.
Our foreign policy establishment is determined to prevent Trump from carrying out his mandate. And if he means to carry out his agenda, he had best get on with it.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Churchill, Hitler, and The Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.
Copyright 2019 Creators.com
Bipartisan Senators Reintroduce Bill to
Prevent Trump from Withdrawing from NATO
Rebecca Kheel / The Hill
(January 17, 2019) — A bipartisan group of senators on Thursday reintroduced a bill that would prevent the president from withdrawing from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) without Senate approval.
The bill, introduced by four Democrats and four Republicans, would require two-thirds approval from the Senate for a president to suspend, terminate or withdraw the United States from NATO.
“President Trump’s repeated threats to withdraw from NATO are dangerous,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said in a statement announcing the bill’s reintroduction. “Our NATO allies have fought alongside our troops since World War II, yet President Trump disparages these nations and cozies up to our adversaries.”
The other co-sponsors are Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).
The same bill was introduced last year after Trump rattled NATO allies at a July summit in Brussels. The sponsors last time were Kaine, Gardner, Reed and the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
The reintroduction comes after a New York Times report that Trump told aides several times last year that he wants to withdraw from NATO.
One of the occasions when Trump reportedly raised the issue of withdrawal was the lead-up to the NATO summit in July, when he told his top national security officials he did not see the point of the alliance and thought it was a drain on the United States.
Right now, presidents are required to get the consent of the Senate to enter into treaties. Article 13 of the NATO treaty requires a country give a one-year “notice of denunciation” before it can exit NATO.
In addition to requiring Senate approval for Trump to withdraw, the bill reintroduced Thursday would authorize the Senate Legal Counsel and the General Counsel of the House to challenge in court any attempt by the administration to withdraw from NATO without the Senate’s consent.
In statements touting the resolution, the co-sponsors stressed the importance of a strong NATO alliance.
“NATO is more important than ever with Russia’s growing subversive activities in the region and beyond,” Rubio said. “It is critical to our national security and the security of our allies in Europe that the United States remain engaged and play an active role in NATO.”
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