Although I am a great admired of Harry Truman the man, I am much less impressed with some of his legacy, namely the United Nations and NATO. Like so many progressives (read socialist or neo-Marxist) I’m sure he labored under the impression that he was establishing a foundation for world peace. Many at the time thought that WW II was a result of the failure of the League of Nations and America’s failure to join. This of course is the typical reaction by France and Britain as they refuse to ever assume any responsibility for the disasters they created in Africa and the Middle East with their arrogance and meddling. Their unjust treaty of Versailles was the direct cause for the rise of Hitler and the desire of the Germans to retaliate against their oppressors. It is highly unlikely that even if America had joined the League of Nations WW II could have been avoided. But certainly President Truman must have felt that his United Nations would provide a forum to prevent any future wars. Of course he was proven wrong even in his life time.
The United Nations has morphed into a corrupt organization that is nothing more than an impotent debating club where nothing ever gets done and their peace keeping activities not only have universally failed to keep the peace but seem to have no function whatsoever other than cosmetic. This organization has become dominated by Islamic States led by strongmen, Presidents for Life, and terrorists like Arafat masquerading as heads of state. Yet the United States continues to participate in this charade which is bad enough but the US is expected to pay for its demonstrable anti-American activities. This is a failed organization that has clearly outlived its usefulness, must like that other misguided dream of Truman’s – NATO.
NATO was created in 1949 for the collective defense of Europe – aimed primarily at defending Europe from the Russian colossus to the East. In fact the role of NATO was summarized by the first Secretary General as “the purpose of NATO is to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down”. While that may be a flippant remark it is also painfully accurate but in that accuracy also lies the truth that it is no longer relevant, a burden on the US military, and a constant irritant to the Russians. Russia is no longer the USSR and generally thought of as no longer being a super power, but that is just whistling in the dark. Russia is and has always been powerful and while it is distracted now as it grows into something similar to a democratic state, it is not a military threat to Western Europe.
The Germans have grown into a major economic power with an invisible military. Germany dominates Western Europe and the Euro-zone economically while France and the majority of Western Europe sink into their socialist quagmire of entitlements, over taxation, and irrelevance. So the only real function of NATO is to “keep America in” meaning that NATO is in fact just the United States acting under the euphemism called NATO. It is America that funds NATO and it is American soldiers who act under its banner. The military and defense budgets of Europe are virtually non-existent and their military is hardly capable of defending themselves much less providing any meaningful support to any joint activity like Afghanistan, Iraq, or Libya. The military support coming from these NATO nations is at best cosmetic because with the exception of the UK they do not conduct active military operations in any major way. In general their troops are kept away from any real danger, because their governments can barely accept any military involvement and they participate only to keep the American money flowing into their military and NATO.
The fact is that America can no longer nor should any longer be expected to keep the peace world wide. If Europe needs defending then the Europeans should do it themselves and pay for it themselves. If South Korea needs to be protected from the North then they should do it with their troops and their money. If they think they need UN protection then let the UN field and pay for the troops not America. What purpose is served by maintaining a major military presence in Germany and Japan? These represent a drain on the American treasury and a misuse of American Troops that could be used more effectively in other places. NATO has seen its day and that day has past. It is an expensive anachronism and no longer serves America’s interests.