May 27, 2022 | Foreign Podicy

NATO and Its Discontents

May 27, 2022 Foreign Podicy

NATO and Its Discontents



The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, better known by its acronym, NATO, was founded in 1949 to contain Soviet expansionism.

President Truman told a joint session of Congress: “It must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” This was the essence of the Truman Doctrine. Adopted on a bipartisan basis – with Sen. Arthur Vandenberg playing the most significant role on the Republican side – it encapsulated core American values and interests.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of its empire raised a question:

Was NATO’s mission accomplished?

President Trump at one point called the defensive alliance “obsolete.” He later walked back that description – though he was adamant that all members should be pulling the wagon, not riding on it (hard to argue with him on that point).

Vladimir Putin, Russia’s ruler, has long wanted to divide and, if possible, destroy NATO. But the brutal, imperialist war he’s launched against neighboring Ukraine has instead revived NATO – at least, so far.

This raises lots of questions.

Foreign Podicy host Clifford D. May poses these and additional questions to Frederick Kagan, Senior Fellow and Director of the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute. Fred was one of the architects of the successful “surge” strategy in Iraq – whose significance FDD understood and energetically supported – and he’s a former professor of military history at West Point. His books include Lessons for a Long War and End of the Old Order: Napoleon and Europe, 1801 – 1805.

Also on hand to both ask and answer questions: Bradley Bowman, a West Point graduate who served for more than 15 years on active duty as a U.S. Army officer, helicopter pilot, staff officer in Afghanistan, assistant professor at West Point, and top defense advisor in the U.S. Senate. He’s now Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power (CMPP).


International Organizations Military and Political Power Russia U.S. Defense Policy and Strategy