Sunday, March 29, 2009

NATO & American Interests

Pat Buchanan, who I rarely ever agree with, had an article up yesterday called, "Can Uncle Sam Ever Let Go?" Buchanan argues that "NATO has been irrelevant for at least two decades." He goes on to attack NATO expansion.
Why did we expand NATO to within a few miles of St. Petersburg when NATO is not a social club but a military alliance? At its heart is Article V, a declaration that an armed attack on any one member is an attack on all. 

America is now honor-bound to go to war against a nuclear-armed Russia for Estonia, which was part of the Russian Empire under the czars.
That's a very good question. Unfortunately much of our political elite does not seem to understand that treaties and other international agreements should serve U.S. interests. Another obvious example is the ridiculous argument that we should extend the benefits of the Geneva Convention to non-state terrorist groups. Buchanan sharpens his case with a clear illustration of the dangers of treating NATO as a social club.  
can anyone believe that, to keep Moscow from re-establishing its hegemony over a tiny Baltic republic, we would sink Russian ships, blockade Russian ports, bomb Russian airfields, attack Russian troop concentrations? That would risk having some Russian general respond with atomic weapons on U.S. air, sea and ground forces.

Yet by bringing the Baltic states into NATO, we obligate ourselves to do just that. I'm am strongly against appeasement, and we should respond forcefully if a country like Russia threatens our vital interests. But what vital interest does the U.S. have in the Baltic states that is worth antagonizing Russia over? Georgia is another prime example. Had we admitted Georgia into NATO, we would have been obligated to defend it against Russia. Would that have been in the U.S. interest?

Before we enter into any treaty obligation of any kind, whether involving the expansion or creation of a defensive alliance, a convention of international law, an agreement involving climate change, or any other binding commitment, we should ask one question.  How and why does this serve U.S. interests? It would be nice if our government would ask that question before it takes any international action, such as handing out tax payer money all over the world. But it is critically important before committing the nation to a binding obligation.

No comments:

Post a Comment