NATO Heads Toward the Nursing Home


From Elizabeth Pond, World Policy Journal:  NATO won’t be dismantled. Instead, it will move to an old people’s home. Sure, member-state officials will drop by Brussels now and then to pat auntie on the head, but they won’t expect her to do any heavy lifting.

This pungent metaphor was coined by veteran U.S. diplomat Robert Blackwill at the conference that kicks off the transatlanticists’ high season each fall. Surprisingly, virtually everyone at the Geneva palaver of the International Institute for Strategic Studies last weekend agreed.

Americans across the political spectrum blame the decay of history’s longest alliance on the free-riding Europeans’ slashing their defense budgets after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Reciprocally, Europeans blame the decay on American hyperpower hubris in starting the Iraq war and failing to end the Afghan expedition before the quagmire—thus overextending the West, incubating America’s present war fatigue, and giving the last laugh to Iran in the Mideast and China around the globe. . . .

In the coming decade, suggests London columnist Philip Stephens, Europeans will be nostalgic about their fears in the last decade of an overbearing America. Instead, they will fear something far worse: an America that is retreating from the world.

Elizabeth Pond is a Berlin-based American journalist and the author of "Endgame in the Balkans."  (photo: NATO

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