Trump’s Criticism of NATO Ignores the Real Questions,

Donald Trump’s bluster at the NATO summit only has to do with money, not whether the alliance serves any genuine security purpose, says Jonathan Marshall. […]

Despite Trump’s confrontational bluster, he joined other NATO leaders in signing off on their previously drafted summit declaration, including measures to upgrade alliance readiness and capabilities in Europe, create new NATO commands in Germany and the United States, promote cybersecurity, and train security forces in Iraq.

The declaration includes a plan by U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis for NATO to assemble 30 land battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 combat vessels capable of deploying in 30 days or less by the year 2020, to defend against a supposed threat from Russia. Moscow sees the plan instead as an offensive provocation. […]

Trump’s attacks on NATO—full of misinformation and distortions—have distracted critical attention from legitimate issues about the alliance. What is its mission in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union? Quite apart from the question of cost sharing, does it advance U.S. security and political interests? Could it be replaced without jeopardizing democracies on both sides of the Atlantic?

In the wake of Trump’s attacks, defenders of NATO have tried to educate Americans about its value. (One writer for The Daily Beast associated the alliance with “the greatest achievement of American history.”) What’s most notable, however, is how unconvincing these defenses are.

TheNew York Times, for example, declares that NATO’s worthy “new purpose” in the post-9/11 era has been “helping the United States fight terrorists in Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa and elsewhere.” These interventions outside of NATO territory have all been violations of Article 6 of NATO’s charter, which only authorizes military activity inside member states.

Quite forgotten are previous editorials condemning “deluded thinking about what could be accomplished” if NATO committed more troops to Afghanistan after more than 16 years of war, acknowledging that “the Iraq war was unnecessary, costly and damaging on every level,” and lamenting the many costs of “America’s Forever Wars” in Africa and other theaters since 2001.

From those perspectives, NATO’s support for reckless U.S. interventions abroad should be considered a bug to be erased, not a feature to boast about. And that’s without even considering the disastrous fallout from NATO’s mendacious attacks on Libya, which left that country a failed state, drove jihadists into Syria, unleashed terrorism in Western Europe, and produced a tidal wave of refugees that put the future of the Europe Union at risk. Läs artikel