The United States should begin the process of renouncing the extra-constitutional trappings of empire by withdrawing from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on one year’s notice as provided in Article 13.
The treaty obligates us to defend the borders of 27 other NATO members under Article 5 without constitutionally required congressional authorization. (The U.S. Supreme Court held in Reid v. Covert that treaties cannot override constitutional imperatives.)
We have 67,000 military personnel stationed in NATO countries. And we shoulder seventy-three percent of NATO’s financial burden.
The NATO game is not worth the candle.
We do not need a single NATO member to defend us against an actual or imminent attack. Our military’s ability to protect our sovereignty is invincible.
NATO members have neither a legal nor moral right to our shield.
They do not obey our laws.
They do not pay us taxes or tribute.
They act in their self-interests, not in our interest. As British Foreign Minister Lord Palmerston lectured, nations have no permanent friends or enemies. They have only permanent interests.
In 2002, NATO leaders in Prague set a floor of 2 percent of GDP for military spending by each member. Twelve years later, only four had satisfied the benchmark: the United States, the United Kingdom, Greece, and Estonia.
Hungary, a NATO member, features a prime minister, Viktor Orban, who embraces Russia as a model of how “we have to abandon liberal methods and principles of organizing a society … because liberal values [in the United States] today incorporate corruption, sex, and violence.”
NATO members can defend themselves against Russian or other external aggression. Russia’s defense spending is but a small fraction of the Pentagon’s. Even tiny, isolated Finland during the 1939-40 Winter War delivered fearful blows to the Soviet Red Army. At present, the Russian army is hard pressed to contain chronic revolts in Chechnya, Dagestan and among its Muslim population at a staggering financial cost.
As Napoleon emphasized, “In war, everything depends on morale.” The idea that Germany, France, Great Britain, or other NATO members would succumb to Russian aggression insults their patriotism and courage. The knowledge that their lives would plunge into a Russian police state penury would concentrate their minds wonderfully on victory.
Even if aggression against a current NATO member succeeded — like Russia’s annexation of Crimea — the national security of the United States would be undisturbed. The fate of Croatia, Hungary, the Slovak Republic, Poland, the Czech Republic, or the Baltic States are irrelevant to any unstarry-eyed vision of our national security.
Indeed, if Russian conquests of NATO members succeeded, the safety of the United States would paradoxically be enhanced, not diminished. As was demonstrated in Eastern and Central Europe during the Cold War, Russia would immediately confront chronic uprisings like Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, and Poland in 1980-81. Russia’s military would be diverted away from the United States. The costs of Russian occupation would be stupendous and threaten bankruptcy. Military spending would be cramped.
The Berlin Wall fell because the Soviet Union could no longer afford the Iron Curtain!
Russian President Vladimir Putin is no idiot. He refrains from annexing all of Ukraine not from good will, but to avoid insolvency. He can barely afford the costs of Crimea.
We should be unsparing in our resolve to defend our liberty and sovereignty. But we should not spend one cent or devote a single soldier to defend NATO members.
John Winthrop’s celebrated “City upon a Hill” envisioned influencing the world by example, not by predator drones.
For more information on Bruce Fein, visit brucefeinlaw.