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  • Norman Young

Why We Need A Russian Reset

NATO’s Missing Modern Mission

“England, in 1803 created a new civil service position. It called for a man to stand on the cliffs of Dover with a spyglass and ring a bell if he saw Napoleon coming. They didn't eliminate that job until 1945. In our own country, there are only two government programs that we have totally wiped out and abolished: the government stopped making rum on the Virgin Islands, and we've stopped breeding horses for the cavalry.” - Ronald Reagan

At the beginning of the Cold War, in response to the global threat of totalitarian communism, several Western European nations plus the United States and Canada signed a North Atlantic Treaty. It was a pledge of mutual defense—a mirror image of the Warsaw Pact between the USSR and its satellite states in Eastern Europe. During the Reagan administration, this NATO alliance fulfilled its purpose as allied nations worked together to deploy conventional and nuclear defenses along the border between Western and Eastern Europe to resist Soviet expansion. Miraculously, none of the Articles of the North Atlantic Treaty were invoked during the Cold War conflict. Soviet communism collapsed of its own weight after failing to keep up with the West during an arms race. The war was won without a shot. Mission accomplished.

When the Soviet Union dissolved, the reason for the existence of a North Atlantic Treaty evaporated with it. But, unsurprisingly, the entangling alliance lived on. In fact, NATO was just getting started. Since the end of the Cold War, the articles of the treaty have been invoked several times, serving as a pretense for allied involvement in a series of dubious wars in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, and Syria. Yet another war might have started in 2014 if Western nations had been successful in bringing Ukraine into the NATO alliance back in 2008.

No one has clearly articulated the post-Cold-War mission of NATO. Judging by its operations, the organization primarily serves as an arm of U. S. policy in the War on Terror. So why does Europe continue funding NATO? The short answer is: they fear Russian territorial expansion and prefer American defenses to their own. America capitalizes on this fear. For the cost of a few state-of-the-art missile-defense systems sprinkled throughout Eastern Europe, the United States convinces European nations to cough up 2% of their GDP to fund its global hegemony. And as the contributions from some Western nations have declined, more Eastern European nations have joined the alliance and picked up the slack. Basically, American foreign policy is like a game of Monopoly, and NATO is its biggest cash cow.

Russians don’t play Monopoly; they play chess. Th