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Should the United States Uphold its Contribution to NATO?

Robert Dimuro

Posted on July 29, 2018 19:06

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Under President Trump's leadership, the United States is poised to finally embrace an "America first" foreign policy.

Since the North Atlantic Treaty was signed in April 1949, the United States and 11 other founding nations became part of the collective defense pact called NATO. Its primary goal was to defend against invasions from the Soviet Union at the onset of the Cold War. Fast forward to 2018, and this threat simply no longer exists; it hasn’t existed since 1991.

Amazingly, under the reigns of Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama, it has been accepted practice that the United States should shoulder more of the military and financial burdens of NATO than all of the remaining 28 member states combined. This mentality has now changed under President Trump’s leadership.

Trump, being characteristically pragmatic and non-ideological, has called into question why the United States is contributing 3.6 percent of its GDP (almost $686 billion) toward NATO, whereas the next largest contributor, the United Kingdom, is only contributing 2.1 percent of its GDP (about $55 billion). The answer to this involves understanding the United States’ foreign policy agenda that has been in place since the onset of the Cold War.

The Cold War marked a dramatic shift in foreign policy in which the United States began to use its military force not only to protect the homeland from the threat of invasion but also to protect freedom and democracy wherever they were threatened. Although the threat of a nuclear first strike on the United States by the Soviet Union fueled much of the tension between the two superpowers, the reason why the United States intervened in Korea and Vietnam was to stop the spread of communism.

Moreover, although it was certainly argued to the public that the spread of communism was a danger to the security of the United States, escalating tensions with a powerful nation boasting nuclear weapons certainly didn’t improve the safety and security of our homeland. It took a president like Ronald Reagan to finally pull us out of that mess after over 40 years of tension.

However, the spread of communism was certainly a security threat to Europe, which, having recently been overrun by Hitler’s regime, saw the NATO alliance as crucial. It’s clear that, from the onset, NATO has served the interests of Europe more than those of the United States. In today’s world, without the threat from Soviet Russia, this schism has become even more stark. The recent addition of Montenegro into NATO further exacerbates this problem. Should the United States prepare itself for war against Russia if it decides to invade Montenegro?

The message that President Trump is sending to our allies and NATO is that this is no longer acceptable. NATO is being used to sanction the idea that the United States is an altruistic police state that should defend the interests of its freeloading allies above its own. In my opinion, the lion’s share of financial and military contributions to NATO should come from Europe. If Europe thinks that NATO isn’t worth the investment, then the alliance doesn’t need to continue.

Robert Dimuro

Posted on July 29, 2018 19:06

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Source: HuffPost
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