Washington Should Stop Reassuring Europe: Time for NATO Members To Grow Up, by Doug Bandow

Sometimes the best thing big brother can do for little brother is let the kid fight his own battles and live his own life. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

Russia is threatening Ukraine, causing yet another “crisis” in Washington. Kyiv isn’t a formal ally let alone in NATO. Yet the foreign policy establishment talks and acts as if Ukraine was a member of the transatlantic alliance. Which could lead to war between Washington and Moscow.

Yet defending Ukraine would be no cakewalk. Especially since Kyiv matters much more to Russia than to the US. Worse, justifying war with a nuclear-armed power over a country thousands of miles away with no connection to US security would be an especially tough sell to the American people.

Moreover, the more fervent Washington’s rhetoric – America has an “unwavering” commitment to Ukraine’s territorial integrity, said Secretary of State Antony Blinken – the more likely Kyiv will believe that it enjoys an implicit security guarantee. Which might encourage the Zelensky government to recklessly provoke Moscow. A similar assumption led Georgia to attack Russian troops in the breakaway province of South Ossetia in 2008, with predictably disastrous consequences. Tbilisi discovered that love letters from an American president did not an alliance make.

However, the easternmost members of NATO aren’t even satisfied with formal membership. They expect endless expressions of love and affection, and constant assertions that Washington cannot live without them. For instance, before Blinken arrived in Riga at the end of November Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks told the press: “We would like to have a permanent United States [military] presence in our country.”

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