Tuesday, April 01, 2008

NATO's existential crisis

President Bush is visiting Ukraine today, pushing for Ukraine to be the next new member of NATO, in advance of the NATO summit in Bucharest. He's beating an almost-dead horse. The poor dolt thinks he can do this without ticking off Putin -- and furthermore he thinks that if France agrees to send an additional 1,000 troops to Afghanistan that the summit will be a success. He doesn't realize -- he's not alone, few people do -- that NATO is on the verge of breaking over the Afghanistan commitment. Here's a Register editorial explaining some of the reasons.

NATO was founded as a defensive military alliance against the Soviet Union and has no real reason to exist now except to grant Good Housekeeping seals to eastern European countries and tick off a resurgent Russia. But what's likely to break it is the Afghanistan commitment. Almost all the European countries have committed to nation-building (in a nation that doesn't especially want to be built) reluctantly, and some stipulate that their troops won't go places where there might be actual combat. They're unlikely to have the patience to stick it out for five to 10 to 20 years, even if a Western-style regime could be constructed in Afghanistan in that time, which is unlikely. NATO is on the verge of breaking. But Bush doesn't care. It'll happen on the next president's watch. He is truly one of the most irresponsible presidents this country has had, and it's had some doozies.

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