“The Carcass Of Dead Policies”—Can Uncle Sam Ever Let Go Of NATO?
"In 1877, Lord Salisbury, commenting on Great Britain`s policy on the
Eastern Question, noted that `the commonest error in
politics is sticking to the carcass of dead policies.`
"Salisbury was bemoaning the fact that many influential members of the
British ruling class could not recognize that history
had moved on; they continued to cling to policies and
institutions that were relics of another era."
NATO has been irrelevant for two
decades, since its
raison d`être—to keep the Red Army from driving to
the Rhine—disappeared. Yet Obama is headed to Brussels
to celebrate France`s return and the 60th birthday of
the alliance. But why is NATO still soldiering on?
In 1989, the Wall fell. Germany was
reunited. The Captive Nations cast off communism. The
Red Army went home. The USSR broke apart into 15
nations. But, having triumphed in the Cold War, it seems
the United States could not bear giving up its role as
Defender of the West, could not accept that the curtain
had fallen and the play was closing after a 40-year run.
So, what did we do? In a spirit of
"triumphalism," NATO "nearly
doubled its size and rolled itself right up to Russia`s
Richard Betts in
Three Faces of NATO, March 2, 2009]
Breaking our word to Mikhail
Gorbachev, we invited into NATO six former member states
of the Warsaw Pact and three former republics of the
Soviet Union. George W. Bush was disconsolate he could
not bring in Georgia and Ukraine.
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 a Russian move on Vilnius will be met by U.S.
strikes on Mother Russia? Are we insane?
Let us thank Divine Providence
Russia has not tested the pledge.
For 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.
Great powers do not go to war
against other great powers unless vital interests are
imperiled. Throughout the Cold War, that was true of
both America and Russia.
Though he had an atomic monopoly,
Harry Truman did not use force to break the Berlin
blockade. Nor did Ike intervene to save the Hungarians,
whose 1956 revolution Moscow drowned in blood.
John F. Kennedy did not use force
to stop the building of the Berlin Wall. Lyndon Johnson
fired not a shot to halt the crushing of Prague Spring
by Soviet tanks. When Solidarity was snuffed out on
Moscow`s orders in 1981, Ronald Reagan would not even
put the Polish regime in default.
In August 1991, George Bush I, in
poured ice water on Ukraine`s dream of independence:
not support those who seek independence in order to
replace a far-off tyranny with a local despotism. They
will not aid those who promote a suicidal nationalism
based upon ethnic hatred."
Many Americans were outraged. But
outrage does not translate into an endorsement of Bush`s
43`s plan to bring Ukraine into NATO and risk war with
Russia over the Crimea.
Bush 43 bellowed at Moscow last
summer to keep hands off the Baltic states. But his
father barely protested when Gorbachev sent special
forces into all three in 1991.
Bush I`s secretary of state, Jim
Baker, said it was U.S. policy not to see Yugoslavia
break up. Bush 43 was handing out NATO war guarantees to
"Washington … succumbed to victory disease and kept kicking Russia
while it was down," writes Betts.
"Two decades of humiliation were a potent incentive for Russia to push
back. Indeed this is why many realists opposed NATO
expansion in the first place."
Few Americans under 30 recall the
Cold War. Yet can anyone name a single
tripwire for war put down in the time of Dean
Acheson or John Foster Dulles that we have pulled up?
Dwight Eisenhower, writes Richard
Reeves, in his first meeting with the new
"`America is carrying far more than her share of
defense.` It was time for the other nations of NATO to
take on more of the cost of their own defense."
Half a century later, we are still
stuck "to the
carcass of dead policies."
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Patrick J. Buchanan
no introduction to VDARE.COM readers;
his book State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, can be ordered from Amazon.com. His latest book
Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its
Empire and the West Lost the World,
Paul Craig Roberts.