- - Thursday, November 1, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created in the late 1940s to confront Soviet communist expansion in Europe and to protect Western civilization and freedom. NATO today, of course, has become something else entirely.

So I am going to ask the really difficult question: Why is the NATO alliance still expanding?

Stop it. This is insanity.

The American public elected Donald Trump in no small part to stop the United States from getting involved in more far-off wars that do not threaten the security or vital interests of this country. Expanding NATO to Russia’s borders is not what Mr. Trump was elected to do.

I can understand why Eastern Europeans and those in the Caucasus feel threatened, given their history and Russia’s looming presence on their border. But frankly, that’s not our problem.

We can help defend freedom in these regions. We can train, equip, sell weapons and offer other kinds of support. However, putting American lives on the line for countries such as Ukraine or Georgia makes no sense at all. Stop it.

Do not give these nations hope that the American nuclear umbrella or NATO will protect them. It is better that they protect themselves. They are free to build their own alliances. How about an alliance of former Soviet republics to provide mutual defense against aggressors? Why does it have to be the United States?

I am not a puppet or big fan of Russian President Vladimir Putin. I am a realist. I know a lot about this part of the world. But what we are doing is insanity. Have I said that enough already?

Think of it this way: What if Texas seceded from the union (it’s happened before) and Russia proceeded to arm it, even perhaps offering security guarantees. How would you feel, America? Russia as a nation got its start in Ukraine, for God’s sake. When the Kievan Rus was overrun by the Golden Horde, the princes moved north to Moscow. Would it hurt our policymakers and pundits to read some history books?

I will call out the Kremlin, as I have over and over again, for its malign behavior. However, that does not mean that America must be the protector of the world. Let other people protect themselves. American men and women should not be forced to risk their lives for the protection of Kiev or Tbilisi. That may sound harsh, but it is the truth.

We can help, but the moral hazard posed by NATO’s evolving mission has become dangerous. The American security blanket can have the perverse effect of encouraging aggressive, dangerous behavior as well. Ukraine and Russia are fighting a war — did the White House forget that?

Why is NATO giving Ukraine hope that it will eventually join the alliance? Were you even aware that a U.S. Air Force pilot was killed in an exercise recently in Ukraine? Corruption is rampant in Kiev, and the country is dominated by a selfish oligarchy that is making money on both sides of the separatist border.

Talk about your slippery slopes. Enough already. Stop the insanity.

Let’s be frank here: NATO is nothing without America. Germany can fly only a handful of fighter jets. NATO is not a genuine alliance. It is an American security giveaway to European nations that don’t want to defend themselves … again. How many times will Lucy pull the football away before we realize that?

I’m all for freedom. I served in the military. Ukrainians and Georgians are good people and deserve our support to realize their dreams. But it’s time to stop with the creeping borders of the alliance.

Moscow this week declared that if Georgia or Ukraine joined NATO, Russia would be “forced to act.” I take that threat at face value. Frankly, they have no choice. Any self-respecting Russian leader would have to react or resign.

Stop the madness. Stop the push for conflict.

Someone wants a war really badly. For the sake of our younger generation, I don’t.

L. Todd Wood is a former special operations helicopter pilot and Wall Street debt trader, and has contributed to Fox Business, The Moscow Times, National Review, the New York Post and many other publications. He can be reached through his website, LToddWood.com.


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