By Joe Schaeffer

Take a look at a map. See where the North Atlantic is?

Now check out where the tiny nation of Georgia resides.

How in the heck can a North Atlantic Treaty Organization created in 1949 to check the advance of Soviet communism into Western Europe plausibly be seen as having any vital concern with the affairs of a small nation east of the Black Sea?

Yet there was NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi, vowing that the Caucasus nation would join the alliance and saying “[w]e deeply appreciate Georgia’s strong support for NATO’s operations and missions.”

Gottemoeller brought up the war against terrorism in her Tbilisi statements, but everyone knows Georgia joining NATO would be another way to check Russia. And it would be a particularly provocative check, with Georgia being as close to Russia as Quebec is to the United States.

Poking the Bear

The Soviet Union collapsed almost three decades ago. Russia is not making a serious threat to invade Western Europe anytime soon. So why is America overwhelmingly footing the bill for a military alliance against an outmoded danger? Instead of fading away along with the Cold War, NATO is instead constantly pushing closer to Russia’s borders, and what reasonable person can be surprised that the Russian nation is not happy about it?

“We have … combat-ready battle groups in the eastern part of the alliance, in the Baltic countries and Poland, for the first time in NATO’s history,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg declares. Stoltenberg also states that the organization has increased its presence in Bulgaria, Romania and the Black Sea, Business Insider reports.

Do the American people really welcome this development? Does a citizenry completely worn out by endless war in the Middle East and Afghanistan with dubious results want to see the United States dragged into a much larger conflict with Russia? Particularly over European worries about Russian influence halfway across the world?

European Freeloaders

The fact is, if European nations are truly concerned about Russian “expansion” in Eastern Europe, they easily have the means to build up their own defense infrastructure against it.

Large, economically strong nations like Germany and France have outsourced their defense costs to the United States. Perhaps if they had to actually worry about their own military security for a change these nations would have less time to spend harassing their own citizens over what they post on the Internet.

The feckless lack of regard for military concerns has created an unhealthy bubble for the prosperous nations of Europe to dwell in. It should be no surprise that a state with nothing to worry about beyond its borders would turn its security apparatus inward and against its own people.

Similarly, the American Empire has been a psychological disaster here at home. Perhaps if we weren’t knee-deep in every problem throughout the world, the United States could reclaim its status as a Republic and focus on the qualities that make us uniquely American. We’re “protecting” most of the world yet we are losing what it even means to be an American in today’s “global” world. How are we winning here?

Opportunity Lost

The saddest consequence of all is the squandered chance for friendship between the U.S. and Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. Russia and China recently held a massive joint military exercise, an engagement overwhelmingly seen as a sign of Russia’s disillusionment with hopes of better relations with the West. China is, without doubt, a much greater security threat to the United States than Russia today. Yet an obsolete NATO continues to agitate the Russian Bear and now seems to be driving it into the arms of much more dangerous China.

None of this makes any sense if the national security interests of the United States are the sole consideration. An America First policy as espoused by President Trump must free the nation from old, tired foreign entanglements that no longer serve our interests.

There can be no greater example of this than NATO.

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