From Foreign Policy: In concrete terms, this attempt to reignite Europe’s martial spirit has found expression in the attempted conversion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) from a defensive alliance into an instrument of power projection. Washington’s aim is this: take a Cold War-inspired organization designed to keep the Germans down, the Russians out, and the Americans in, and transform it into a post-Cold War arrangement in which Europe will help underwrite American globalism without, of course, being permitted any notable say regarding U.S. policy.
The allies have not proven accommodating. True, NATO has gotten bigger — there were 16 member states 20 years ago, 28 today — but growth has come at the expense of cohesion. Once an organization that possessed considerable capability, NATO today resembles a club that just about anyone can join, including, most recently, such military powerhouses as Albania and Croatia.
A club with lax entrance requirements is unlikely to inspire respect even from its own members. NATO’s agreed-upon target for defense spending, for example, is a paltry 2 percent of GDP. Last year, aside from the United States, exactly four member states met that goal.
So why not have the citizens of France and Germany guarantee the territorial integrity of Poland and Lithuania, instead of fruitlessly demanding that Europeans take on responsibilities on the other side of the world that they can’t and won’t?
Like Nixon setting out for Beijing, like Sadat flying to Jerusalem, like Reagan deciding that Gorbachev was cut from a different cloth, the United States should dare to do the unthinkable: allow NATO to devolve into a European organization, directed by Europeans to serve European needs, upholding the safety and well-being of a Europe that is whole and free — and more than able to manage its own affairs. (photo: EU Digest)