To NATO, or Not To Nato

“There is no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable; for in politics there is no honor. Benjamin Disraeli.

It was not long ago the shining stars of the republican party were a group of midwestern men running for governor of Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio, Most of their campaign was built around the promise of eviscerating the collective bargaining agreements. It seemed odd that these men who all called themselves “compassionate conservatives,” or something similar, made this the central tenet of their candidacy.

Despite their claims of fiscal responsibility they were going to tell all of these people that despite agreements, signed intractably by elected officials they were no longer going to honor these promises. It had become inconvenient. Somehow these men could justify reneging on legally binding contracts. And they were elected. It was illuminating.

Donald Trump, the republican candidate for president, has stated that he may not be inclined to defend the Baltic states against a Russian invasion. Despite the fact they are NATO members. His followers love the bluster. They adore his claims of demanding member nations toe the line, or be left behind.

NATO was formed with one mission, to control the wars that had been consuming Europe for hundreds of years. And consumed the world for the previous fifty. It was not a marketing tool, or an economic forum. It was built around Article 5. An attack against any NATO ally is an attack against all NATO allies. It is as simple as that. 13 words sums up the whole game.

Germany has vowed to defend the Baltic states in case of invasion. It does not take a particularly vivid imagination to see bad things arising from Germany and Russia locked in a land war in the Balkans. It does not really take any imagination at all. Just an internet connection or a library. It has happened more than once, and it never ended well.

During the course of WWII it is conservatively estimated forty five million civilians were killed. It will be worse in the next superpower struggle. If Germany and Russia become entangled in a protracted struggle it will only be a matter of time before the whole region is in flames, and there goes the whole thing all over again. So, if a person is inclined to ask “what possible effect could the fall of Estonia have on my life?” It is probably a lot better if that question is never answered.

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