The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is in the news again for not coming out in defense of the Ukraine who, although not a member, is facing the common enemy of that organization, Russia. This European mutual defense organization was forged by the U.S. in 1949, with its allies in Europe after WWII. It can’t do much now because it is and always was a paper tiger. They’ve always depended on us not only for its manpower but for its funding, as well. At its inception Europe was still recovering from the war and it was understandable that NATO members were not able to pay their fair share or to have the standing armies necessary to prevent the commonly accepted enemy, Russia, from attacking them. But recent decades have seen enormous prosperity across the continent, but instead of meeting their responsibilities, many of its members lived under the U.S. Defense umbrella and used the money saved to build their own lavish welfare states at our expense. So, at this time it’s useless and irrelevant in the defense of Europe.
NATO members are supposed to contribute at least 2% of their GDP on defense as a minimum. Of their current 28 members, 23 aren’t paying their share of defense costs. Former President Trump had, while in office, tried to embarrass this group. At one of his speeches to them in Brussels, he said, “Many of you nations owe massive amounts of money from past years and have not payed in those past years. That is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States.” He reminded the leaders what it means financially to not live up to what they promised, noting that NATO would now have about $119 billion more in resources if they had paid up.
He was right then and the organization’s weakness has spawned the Russian attack on Ukraine. Europe’s welfare states have never lived up to their part in the defense (of their own continent, by the way) bargain they made decades ago. In the 1990’s, when President Clinton was in office, European NATO forces were embarrassed at not being able to handle a conflict in the Balkans. American air power had to be brought in to end the skirmish between Serbia and Croatia, European nations, 4,000 miles from our shores. In 1989, the U.S. had 249.000 permanent troops stationed in West Germany, 28,000 in the UK, 16 thousand in Italy. The costs to maintain them were enormous. But as of the end of 2021, the total U.S. forces in Europe had dropped to about 60,000 in total for the continent. A massive reduction, but just think of the better use of our troops were they protecting our own borders rather than those of Europe’s nations. Security begins at home.
NATO was formed to protect Europe’s democracies from the grasp of the Soviet’s Stalin. We were 3,000 miles from that continent and already had earlier sacrificed hundreds of thousands of our young men to free them from Hitler, whom they had permitted to grow in strength and enslave them. It is now time for that organization to stand on its own two feet and protect their European members from the Putins of that area. We have our own problems at home that require the funds we now spend to guarantee their safety. We’ve been on that continent for over 77 years. Bring our troops (and the $$$ necessary to maintain them) home, now. enough is enough!!