NATO should have been disbanded in 1991 upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union. But au contraire, the US goosed NATO membership from 16 at the time, to 30, in their effort to degrade the newly weakened Russia, while expanding its dominance over Europe; indeed the world.
But 31 years of expanding NATO up to Russia’s borders turned deadly in 2008 when Russia smacked down NATO wannabe Georgia for counting on US and NATO to support their incursion into Russian leaning breakaway Georgian provinces.
Learning nothing from that debacle, the US decided to wage war upon Ukraine democracy, supporting a coup against the democratically elected, Russian leaning Ukraine president in 2014. That led to civil war between the new ultranationalist, US brokered Ukraine government, and the Russian leaning Donbas region of Ukraine. 14,000 dead there provoked the Russian invasion to end Ukraine brutality and secure Russia’s borders against NATO expansion. Criminal yes, but completely predictable.
That inspired long neutral Sweden and Finland to apply for NATO membership. Russia is zero threat to both; indeed all of Eastern and Western Europe outside the Ukraine orbit. But it does give Sweden and Finland an opportunity to get in on the billions of free stuff Uncle Sam keeps stuffing into the pockets of NATO member governments.
How much? Prior to the Russian invasion which the US provoked, over $5 billion a year of US treasure rained down on those nations to house our 75,000 troops sitting around with nothing to do except support US unipolar dominance over Europe. When Trump proposed a measly drawdown of 10,000 troops in Germany, the German government went ballistic, calling it "deplorable" and "completely unacceptable." The only red they saw was not Russian, it was the German bottom line.
Sweden and Finland want to do what the other 28 European NATO members do….use their treasure for domestic needs while Uncle Sam funds their national defense against a phantom enemy. The US spends 3.6% of GDP on military while the NATO freeloaders average under 2%. Only Greece spends like a drunken US sailor at 3.6%, but that is to counter its arch local enemy and fellow NATO member Turkey, not the dreaded Russian Bear.
Speaking of Turkey, let’s hope they successfully block NATO membership for Sweden and Finland over their charge both offer too much support for the Kurdish insurgents Turkey is at eternal war against. Supporting 28 countries with free stuff is 28 too many.
Time to draw down, not squander up.
Walt Zlotow became involved in antiwar activities upon entering University of Chicago in 1963. He is current president of the West Suburban Peace Coalition based in the Chicago western suburbs. He blogs daily on antiwar and other issues at www.heartlandprogressive.blogspot.com.