NATO: Repurpose It or It Dies

NATO: Repurpose It or It Dies
AP Photo/Cliff Owen

Professor McDougall's persuasive indictment of American foreign policy since the fall of communism examines the positive feedback loop between misguided strategy and ill-conceived institutional objectives.

NATO's expansion under the Clinton administration, he observes in his Liberty Forum essay, did not strengthen the alliance that brought down the Soviet Empire, but rather transformed it into something different. The 1999 war against Serbia, which the Clinton administration forced upon Serbia in emulation of the 1914 Austrian ultimatum, provided “the chance to demonstrate NATO's new agenda and ‘out of area' operations,” as an instrument of the world's natural evolution towards a “globalization [that] toppled all barriers to the flow of capital, goods, labor, and ideas, spreading democracy, human rights, peace and prosperity.” Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan was “NATO's second war.” As McDougall observes, “Unanimity in the face of Al Qaeda was squandered, however, when President George W. Bush decided to invade Iraq in a wider war that 70 to 80 percent of French and Germans opposed. It might even be said that the alliance fell into abeyance during the final six years of Bush's tenure.”

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