NATO allies just want the United States to subsidize European defense

Jordan Schachtel, Opinion contributor

NATO was founded just after World War II as the Soviet Union’s communist empire threatened the integrity of the free world. The USSR has long since perished, and Russia, though a nuclear-armed state with a powerful military and impressive cyberwarfare sophistication, does not present the global threat equivalent to that of the USSR. Russia is just Russia.

Sure, Moscow is a worthy foe that presents a challenge to our strategic objectives, and it remains an ideological adversary, but the Kremlin no longer wields the power to threaten global freedom. By every important metric — whether it’s economic, military or diplomatic might, the primary threat to the United States is not in Moscow, it’s in Beijing.

President Donald Trump rightly expressed frustration with our allies and asked them to make good on their financial commitments to NATO. He sees the statements that come out of European prime ministers’ offices regularly championing the importance of NATO. He then observes several NATO allies busily ensuring its decline with double-dealing and deception.

When they’re not talking NATO, some of our partners in the alliance —  Germany,   France and  Turkey, to name a few — are cozying up to Russia at every turn, which includes a broadening of economic, diplomatic and military ties to Moscow.

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President Donald Trump and other NATO leaders in London on Dec. 4, 2019.

It seems the Europeans want this alliance to exist so that the United States can continue to subsidize their defense. These are some of the richest countries in the world, yet only nine of the 29 will meet the contribution guideline this year, according to NATO’s optimistic projections.

If the Europeans were truly committed to countering Russia and footing the bill for NATO, then perhaps it would still be worthwhile. The evidence tells us that they have no interest in doing the former or the latter.

China is our foremost adversary. My proposal: Reform NATO to take into account the threat posed by Beijing, or scrap it altogether.

Jordan Schachtel is a foreign policy analyst and investigative journalist based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter: @JordanSchachtel

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NATO allies just want the United States to subsidize European defense