July 10, 2024

NATO at 75 Needs U.S. Leadership

Member nations met in Washington for the historic anniversary, but an enfeebled Joe Biden reminds the alliance of the leadership it is missing.

It’s been 75 years since the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded, and NATO leaders were in Washington on Tuesday for a summit to celebrate the historic event.

Much has transpired in the past 75 years, including NATO’s victory in the Cold War against the Soviet Union. This was largely thanks to America’s steady and resolute leadership in NATO, particularly when Ronald Reagan was at the helm.

Yet since the end of the Cold War, the alliance’s importance to many Western European nations has been taken for granted and less appreciated. While the U.S. continued to do the heavy lifting militarily and financially over the past three decades, many of our NATO allies slacked off. In fact, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg admitted Tuesday that “production capacity has been delinquent” on behalf of Ukraine, and the war there has “demonstrated serious gaps in our interoperability.”

Despite this, the member nations are already in general agreement that those deficits must change. NATO has also expanded considerably — to the point where it now includes 14 former Eastern Bloc nations, much to the chagrin of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Adding insult to injury, Finland and Sweden have joined the alliance since Russia invaded Ukraine.

“The war will end with Ukraine remaining a free and independent country,” insisted Joe Biden in addressing the gathering. He also stopped short of NATO membership for Ukraine. He did, however, award Stoltenberg the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

While Donald Trump was widely maligned by Democrats and the mainstream media for his demand that NATO countries start meeting their financial and military obligations, his concern seems prescient given Putin’s invasion of and ongoing war with Ukraine, which will be the headline issue at the summit. While NATO nations have poured billions of dollars into Ukraine’s war effort, Russia appears to be slowly winning this war of attrition.

Furthermore, NATO nations are growing weary of the cost, with no clear end in sight.

Complicating matters is Biden himself. Not only has his foreign policy been marked by failure on nearly every front, including his disastrous surrender and retreat from Afghanistan, but his age-addled condition hardly imbues allies with confidence. Indeed, one wonders not only if Biden is the one calling the shots but if he even knows what’s happening.

His foreign policy record might best be described as weak and feckless. His decisions reflect a confused, muddled, and often incoherent state — a state that neither inspires confidence in our allies nor strikes fear in our enemies.

At this point, Biden resembles a sock puppet, and a bad one at that. And despite the fact that many NATO allies reportedly distrust Trump, they can be thankful that he pressured them into meeting their defense obligations, given that Putin has acted on his expansionist threats.

In truth, NATO needs Trump’s leadership again. While some might not like to admit it, his foreign policy record is downright impressive, especially compared to Biden’s. Sure, they claim to be worried that Trump could pull the U.S. out of NATO, but that warning has always been understandably conditioned on the members meeting their agreed-upon obligations.

The true threat to NATO is Putin, not Trump. And now, more than at any time in recent history, NATO needs strong leadership from the U.S. — leadership that it won’t get from Biden but leadership that Trump has proven he’s fully capable of providing.

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