Republicans Threatened NATO Once Before. Dwight Eisenhower Stopped Them.
His efforts show why withdrawing would be a catastrophic blunder.
During his recent visit to Washington, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg faced the unenviable task of easing concerns about whether the United States would pull out of NATO while pushing back against President Trump’s impulse to do so. Trump has never hidden his disdain for NATO — or alliances more broadly. Recent reports of his private threats to withdraw, amplified by Jim Mattis’s resignation as defense secretary while stressing disagreement with the president about NATO’s importance, have raised the real possibility Trump may actually pull the Twitter trigger.
Although such worries about American leadership in NATO are unusual, they are not unprecedented. In fact, they stretch back to NATO’s origins, and a dramatic moment that occurred 68 years ago this month. Recalling this history helps remind us what’s at stake today. It’s easy to say leave Europe’s security to Europe, but that puts peace and prosperity at risk for the United States in a way that hasn’t existed in almost seven decades.