NATO at 70: Still an Indispensable Partner
As NATO marks its 70th anniversary, the fact is that the Alliance today makes us stronger around the world and safer at home. Our NATO Allies magnify the strength of our military, stand ready to defend us, and protect our shared interests and values worldwide. As China and Russia struggle to maintain reliable allies, NATO has proven to be an enduring American advantage in an uncertain world.
That’s why Trump’s constant efforts to undermine NATO are so reckless.
The bottom line is that NATO has been and remains key to our security. As the most successful military alliance in history, NATO played a critical role in winning the Cold War. Today, we work with our NATO Allies regularly to defend our homeland in an evolving threat environment. Put simply, without NATO, Americans would be less safe.
Specifically, if the United States were to go it alone without NATO, among the assets we would stand to lose are:
The commitment of 28 other countries to come to our defense in the event of an attack. The mutual defense pact in NATO, Article 5, has been invoked only once: to come to our defense after the 9/11 attacks;
Access and cost savings for the 28 U.S. military bases on NATO soil, which play a significant role in cost-effectively defending our homeland far from our shores;
Support from NATO forces fighting alongside American soldiers in five active missions, a partnership that has saved countless American lives and over $45 billion in American taxpayer dollars;
A community of states bound together in Europe, a region that had previously experienced centuries of regular and often continuous conflict;
The best defense we have against authoritarianism in Europe, especially from hostile powers intent on undermining democracy. It is no accident that Russia’s most direct attacks (in Ukraine and Georgia) have occurred against non-NATO countries;
A community of democracies with the power to protect our interests and values abroad, whether by sharing intelligence to fight extremism, collaborating against new types of threats in space and cyberspace, preventing human rights atrocities, undertaking peacekeeping missions to prevent conflict, and deterring major wars.
Nevertheless, Trump has time and again sought to undermine the Alliance. During his campaign, he described NATO as “obsolete.” He has questioned why the United States should come to the defense of our Allies if they are attacked, forgetting that only the reverse has ever occurred. He has constantly criticized NATO countries for not spending enough money on their own defense and now is threatening to charge them to house our troops, yet fails to mention the American lives NATO has saved and the billions of dollars it spends helping underwrite our defense. Worse still, he has privately considered withdrawing from NATO, bucking the advice of his top aides and allies.