Trump Should Close NATO Membership Rolls


#1

When Donald Trump meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg today, the president should give him a direct message:

The roster of NATO membership is closed. For good. The United States will not hand out any more war guarantees to fight Russia to secure borders deep in Eastern Europe, when our own southern border is bleeding profusely.

And no one needs to hear this message more than Stoltenberg.

In Tblisi, Georgia, on March 25, Stoltenberg declared to the world: “The 29 allies have clearly stated that Georgia will become a member of NATO.”

As for Moscow’s objection to Georgia joining NATO, Stoltenberg gave Vladimir Putin the wet mitten across the face:

“We are not accepting that Russia, or any other power, can decide what NATO members can do.”

Yet what would it mean for Georgia to be brought into NATO?

The U.S. would immediately be ensnared in a conflict with Russia that calls to mind the 1938 and 1939 clashes over the Sudetenland and Danzig that led straight to World War II.

In 2008, thinking it had U.S. backing, Georgia invaded South Ossetia, a tiny republic that separated from Georgia years before, and killed thousands of civilian Ossetian men, women and children in cold blood.

In that Georgian invasion, Russian peacekeepers were killed and Putin responded by sending the Russian army into South Ossetia to expel the Georgians.

“We are all Georgians now!” roared interventionist neoconservative John McCain. But George W. Bush, by now a wiser man, did nothing.

Had Georgia been a NATO nation in 2008, the U.S. could have been on the brink of war with Russia over the republic of South Ossetia, which few Americans had ever heard of.

Why would we bring Georgia into NATO now, when Tblisi still seeks to invade republic of Ossetia and republic of Abkhazia, both of which Moscow defends?

Are we not in enough quarrels already that could lead to new wars — with Iran in the Gulf, China in the South China Sea, North Korea, Russia in the Baltic and Black Sea, Venezuela in our own hemisphere — in addition to Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia where we are already fighting and loosing?

Among neocon and GOP interventionists, there has also long been a vocal constituency for bringing Ukraine into NATO.

But bringing Ukraine into NATO would be an even greater manifestation of madness than bringing in Georgia.

Russia has annexed Crimea. Russia has supported Russian liberation movement in the Donbass who seceded when the elected president they backed was ousted in the Kiev five years ago.

Kiev’s recent attempt to enter the Sea of Azov by sailing under the Kerch Strait Bridge between Russia and Crimea, proved Ukrainian navy is weak. Ukrainian sailors are still being held.

No matter how supportive we are of Ukraine, we cannot commit this country to go to war with Russia over its territorial integrity. No Cold War president from Truman to George H. W. Bush would have dreamed of doing such a thing. Bush thought Ukraine should remain allied to Russia.

Trump has rightly demanded that Europeans start paying their fair share of the cost of NATO. But a graver question than the money involved are the risks involved.

Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has added 13 nations: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, the Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, and six Balkan countries — Bulgaria, Rumania, Slovenia, Croatia, Albania and Montenegro.

Also attending the NATO gathering in Tblisi a week ago were Sweden, Finland and Azerbaijan. Are these three also candidates for U.S. war guarantees?

The larger NATO becomes, the further east it moves, the greater the probability of a military clash that will lead to World War III.

Yet none of the nations admitted to NATO in two decades was ever regarded as worth a war with Russia by any Cold War U.S. president.

When did insuring the sovereignty and borders of these nations suddenly become vital interests of the United States?

And if they are not vital interests, why are we committed to go to war with a nuclear-armed Russia over them, when avoidance of such a war was the highest priority of our eight Cold War presidents?

Putin Russia, once hopeful about a new relationship under Trump, appears to be giving up on the Americans and shifting toward China.

Last week, 100 Russian troops arrived in Caracas. Whereupon, the Wall Street Journal lost it: Get them out of our backyard. The Monroe Doctrine demands it.

Yet, why should America move into Russia’s front yard for 20 years?