An international event occurred April 4 that has been overshadowed by domestic events. This is a top positive international event of this decade — the expansion of NATO (Finland).
It is important to note that the NATO treaty was signed in 1949 and aimed to promote the security of Europe and North America when the expansion of the USSR was a real threat to U.S. security. My dad, a World War II veteran, was scared to death of a communist takeover of the United States.
What is remarkable about NATO is that it is a mutual voluntary self-defense treaty. No NATO country has invaded any country. Article 5 ensures that if a NATO country is invaded, all members act together in self-defense. This provision has deterred invasion of Western Europe and the United States and has only been invoked once (after Sept. 11, 2001).
Until the Trump years, NATO had 100% support by presidents of both parties. President Ronald Reagan’s strong NATO support and military expansion have been given credit for the eventual fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union.
It is remarkable to look at the European map in 1949 and now. NATO has grown from 12 to 31 countries. Sweden, a historically neutral country, is hoping to join soon. The entrance of Finland is important because it has a large border with Russia and Europe’s strongest artillery force.
While president, Donald Trump had an antagnostic relationship with many NATO leaders — and routinely calls our nearest ally, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, foul names. Now Trump regularly praises authoritarian dictators like Vladimir Putin, calling them brilliant. He called Putin “a genius” when he invaded Ukraine.
The irony of that is the invasion of Ukraine is the dumbest thing that Putin could have done. This invasion has led to the expansion of NATO — the opposite of what Putin wanted — and to increased mutual international cooperation and growth of military spending even in non-NATO allies like Australia, South Korea and even Japan, which has recently increased military spending substantially. Now many of these countries fear the aggressiveness of China as Russia has become a weaker country due to NATO’s support of Ukraine, strong leadership in Ukraine and the courage of the Ukranian people.
As our president, Joe Biden — the leader of the strongest NATO country — has led the charge to support Ukraine and fostered international mutual support. We are thus a safer and more secure country.
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