Roughly half of Americans don’t believe the commitment to NATO would be worth American sacrifice.
President Trump has been wary of the U.S. commitments to NATO during his campaign and after he assumed office. Most of his ire was directed at the European members who consistently fail to increase military budgets to match American protection.
Either through Trump’s continued discussion on NATO or a
general lack of caring, the American public is becoming increasingly skeptical
of the institution.
After World War 2, part of the world was determined to keep the enemy at bay. The defeat of the Axis powers led to Russia filling the power vacuum. NATO was the bulwark to the Warsaw pact, with members vowing to protect each other in case of Soviet aggression.
As Mark Hannah at Politico notes:
To the extent that U.S. citizens think about NATO at all, they disagree about whether honoring its commitments would be worth the sacrifice.
At this time in its existence, American’s are split down the
middle on whether the American military should be used to defend European
countries as part of NATO.
Hannah also writes that perhaps it is time for NATO’s
mission to change as Germany doesn’t represent an existential threat and
Russia, while imposing, probably won’t invade Europe any time soon.
Perhaps it is time to reorient NATO and its mission. With
hesitation from both the president and the American people about its current
state, and unwillingness to sacrifice American service men and women and
material, the use of NATO to deter military action should not be a primary
I believe that NATO will continue to have its use as long as
Russia remains a threat, however distant. But with European members refusing to
bolster defense budgets, a new mission should be the primary focus, be it
terrorism or cyberwarfare, as Mark Hannah suggests.