Remember the Words of George Washington, and Withdraw from NATO

The United States should withdraw from NATO. Continued membership is a great liability, and there is little, to no, benefit for the U.S.

After WWII, the Soviet Union occupied or annexed an extensive list of countries and territories. As a response, on April 4, 1949, an intercontinental alliance founded NATO with a defensive mission.

NATO served a valuable purpose throughout the Cold War. The U.S. needed to strengthen Western European allies both on the ground and in the air, should the Soviet Union invade via means of conventional warfare. For decades, the image commonly portrayed to the American public was a great Soviet advantage. Additionally, the U.S. needed to provide a nuclear umbrella with strategic forces if escalation occurred.

The geopolitics of today are not those of the mid-twentieth century – Russia isn’t the Soviet Union. With its collapse in 1991, more accurate assessments of the economy, demographics, and military strengths were possible.

Since then, so many things have changed, necessitating a new analysis regarding whether the U.S. should remain a member of NATO. Context is important to make such a decision. The Russian economy was almost that of Texas’, each sized at about $1.7T. In 2021, Texas’ economy was the second largest in the U.S., yet Russia’s economy remains dwarfed by the entire U.S. economy, which was about $20T. Subsequent to the invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. and the EU applied economic sanctions against Russia. One estimate showed about 80% of the world’s countries have declined to join the sanctions because doing so would adversely impact their citizens’ standard of living. Even so, reports detail the significant detriment of the sanctions on the Russian economy.

Russia poses no economic threat to the U.S. in any industry  there is no Russian industry of which the U.S. is jealous or aspires to emulate.

In response to the staging of over a hundred thousand Ukrainian soldiers ostensibly preparing to occupy the Donbas region, plus public provocation of Russia by the U.S. and Europe speculating about Ukraine joining NATO, Russia initiated a large-scale invasion of Ukraine February 24. The war with Ukraine obliterated the impression of astute conventional warfare prowess by Russia. After a few months, about 20% of Ukraine is now under Russian control, but at a horrific cost to Russia, both in material and casualties.

It’s not just American treasure being spent in the proxy war against Russia. The State Department reported two Americans are missing and presumed captured by the Russians. Now, there is a third missing. So, American blood may be spilled in this foreign entanglement.

The EU has five member states bordering Russia, including all three Baltic states – Japan and the U.S. share its maritime borders. The U.S., even with Alaska's proximity to Russia, is extremely remote from the major cities with political dominance, as they are on the western end of the country.

The Ukrainian war is a European affair. European leaders desire EU membership for Ukraine, and provocatively, some NATO leaders have intensely encouraged NATO membership, which would be one more threat to Russia’s border. NATO expansion limits had never been promised to Russia, but Russia is paranoid about NATO troop proximity. In any case, it's clear that Europe can manage their own defensive affairs. If conflict transpires, they have conventional forces superior to those of the paper tiger Russia. And, both the UK and France have nuclear missiles to deter any such exchange with Russia. Only the lack of political will prevents these countries from developing nuclear-tipped cruise missiles or similar advanced munitions. These two countries can extend their nuclear umbrella over all NATO countries – allowing the burden to be lifted from the U.S. It is wrong for the U.S. to electively make the Ukrainian war an American affair.

Historically and consistently, incompetent intelligence has overstated the Russian menace in conventional warfare. Now, it is clear Russia is a paper tiger. Ukraine rocking Russia on its heels should cause eyebrows to lift off the foreheads of military analysts. Russian war material losses are surprising, as is the low morale. Reports show Russia is resorting to tens of thousands of mercenary troops. There are claims of about a dozen Russian generals killed in action.

There is no critical interest for U.S. involvement in the Ukrainian war. Russia isn’t the threat the Soviet Union was. If Russia had no nuclear forces, aspersions cast upon them would be rarer. Besides having a relatively small economy from which they can fund adventures, Russia is facing a demographic crisis which suggests the existing able-bodied, military-aged manpower shortage will only worsen. Also, the U.S. is having to choose between two dictators: Volodymyr Zelensky, who censored the media and banned opposition parties, and Vladimir Putin, who is better known for his tyranny. As it does for Russia, the U.S. government should deplore Ukrainian corruption.

The government and military-industrial complex continually agitate for endless wars in order to test their newest deadly toys. There is nothing about endless wars that is compatible with what citizens want – American citizens want peace, liberty, and prosperity.

American prosperity is convolved in the Ukrainian war because our standard of living is rapidly deteriorating, both by the profligate spending and a masochistic embargo of Russian products. Congressional spending confiscates U.S. taxpayer wealth and redirects it to the Ukrainian adventure. Because the U.S. doesn’t possess its own wealth in hand to pay for its profligacy, there is a budget deficit, and the Federal Reserve monetizes it, exacerbating inflation.

Coupled with Ukrainian actions, Joe Biden promised to wage a war on fossil fuels, and he has made good on this threat. Predictably, gas prices at the pump ballooned to historic highs. Other products made from oil, such as plastics, medicines, detergents, pesticides, paints, solvents, asphalt/bitumen, and a myriad of others, have drastically increased in cost, too. Mr. Biden is concerned about the likely adverse impact on midterm election results, but not so concerned as to reverse any of the policies hammering fossil fuel exploration, production, distribution, and refinement. Because the actual inflation inflicted on anyone paying with dollars is much higher than the government’s published CPI value, Mr. Biden found little success pleading with dictators from the Mideast, who are paid in debased dollars to pump more, which would lower prices. Pertinent to the Ukrainian war, Mr. Biden has led an international initiative to embargo Russian oil and gas products. So, there’s a double whammy on Americans from Mr. Biden for his direct attack on fossil fuels plus his indirect attack by keeping Russian products off the American market.

In his farewell address to our nation at the end of his second term, President George Washington warned the U.S. should “steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.” The judicious move would be to take this good advice and withdraw from NATO. Republicans controlling the House could unilaterally defund NATO contributions. Republicans controlling the White House with a veto-proof Senate could pull out from the NATO treaty altogether.

Whitson G. Waldo, III is a capitalist, a venture capitalist, and a master and skipper of a 43-foot monohull sloop-rigged sailing vessel.

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