That was a bloody good show NATO put on in Washington last weekend. Quite admirable that the assembled heads of state should want to guarantee human rights and ethnic integrity in every nook and cranny of Europe.
It's about time, after they have been brutally killing each other for so long. But as they rearrange their maps over there, they should do it without us. The U.S. must get out of NATO because for Americans, with the end of the Cold War and after a half century, that organization has lost its strategic purpose.
Cheers for the Europeans--who have grown fat and sassy while being kept dry under the U.S. military umbrella--if they will now shoulder the burden of their own defense. But with the Soviet threat ended, there's no longer a raison d'etat for the U.S. to be paying for their protection.
If the Germans, who once committed genocide in Yugoslavia, now want to liberate Yugoslavia with their bombs, let them at least take the risks and responsibility of the bombing. If the Italians and French, who once capitulated all too readily to the Nazis, now want to show their democratic valor, it should be their ground troops sent to "liberate" Kosovo. And afterward, let these Europeans administer the equivalent of a massive Palestinian refugee camp and a breeding ground for terrorism.
It's obscene that Americans now play dial-a-war on the European continent when we have neither the knowledge nor the will to intelligently shape its future. Behind the cloak of human rights, we've become experts in technological terror, raining madness from the skies.
It's immoral that we casually slam million-dollar cruise missiles into the heart of Europe, randomly killing noncombatants in the name of refugees whose plight we have dangerously exacerbated.
The depth of our hypocrisy is marked by our reluctance to provide safe harbor for those same refugees on our shores. No one has the right to bomb another people in the name of saving them if we aren't willing to take them in from the cold.
If we want to crusade for human rights, let's ride to the defense of the defenseless beginning with the tribal regions of Africa, where no one else with the power to do good seems to give a damn. Or freely admit as political refugees the women of Afghanistan fleeing from the Taliban terrorists, who we armed and trained and who now have the entire female population of their country under house arrest. We could clean up the many toxic waste sites left over from the Cold War beginning with the land minefields of Southeast Asia.
This is not a call for isolationism. There are many targets of opportunity for constructive involvement on environmental and development issues in the impoverished Third World. But a prosperous Europe can, and must, take care of its own.
Our involvement in NATO was a temporary arrangement until Western Europe got on its feet economically and could defend itself against the Soviet Union. But now a united Western Europe is our key economic rival and the Soviet Union no longer exists. The remnants of that empire are either being absorbed into NATO or are on economic life support maintained by NATO member nations.
The remaining strategic danger for Americans is best exemplified by the Y2K disaster about to overwhelm the Russians. They need our help to modernize their crumbling infrastructure, which controls the 10,000 nuclear weapons still capable of obliterating us.
For the U.S., survival is dependent on our access to the rational side of the Russian mind, and the current assault on their dangerously morose Slavic soul is dangerous folly. It's in our vital interest to assure the Russians--leaders and people--that NATO is no longer a Cold War instrument, and that they will be given the significant role in any future reordering of Europe that the size of their population and land, as well as historical grievances, require.
The contempt we have shown for the wounded Russian sense of self as we invade their fellow Slavs, a key ally in what for them will always be the great war in which 20 million died, may come to be viewed as an act of unprecedented stupidity. But if those nuclear bombs go off, even accidentally, there won't be anyone around to record the dimensions of this blunder.
NATO is a dangerous anachronism. The security of Europe should be managed by an expanded European Union that includes Russia. We Americans should follow the advice of George Washington and wave at our cousins across the ocean while wishing them well.