Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Trump Is Both Wrong and Right about NATO ; Historic Alliance Has Kept Peace in Europe for Nearly 70 Years

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Trump Is Both Wrong and Right about NATO ; Historic Alliance Has Kept Peace in Europe for Nearly 70 Years

Article excerpt

Some projects work out so well over time that we take them for granted. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, is just such a project. Hatched in 1949 by America and her European allies following victory in World War II, this historic Western alliance has grown to 28 countries. Under Article 5 of NATOs founding treaty, each member nation, large or small, benefits from NATOs longstanding commitment that an attack on one constitutes an attack on all.

As a result, NATO has stood as a highly effective check to Soviet now Russian aggression for nearly seven decades. Yet in recent years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has come perilously close to triggering Article 5, particularly with actions toward natural gas- rich Ukraine.

A former Soviet republic with Western leanings, Ukraine would like to be a NATO member nation. Nearby Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are NATO members, and they worry what Putins intentions will be next if he takes Ukraine.

But some, including President-elect Donald Trump, ask whether NATO is really needed now that the Cold War is over. The easy answer to that shallow question is to look at all the Eastern European countries, for decades in the Soviet orbit, who have elected to join NATO since the fall of the Soviet empire in December 1991: Albania (2000), Hungary (2004), Romania (2004), Slovakia (2004), Croatia (2009), Latvia (2004), Czech Republic (1999), Lithuania (2004), Estonia (2004). …

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