First off, he plays Moscow’s “blame the victim” game over the August 2008 Russian-Georgian war, as an argument against NATO expansion. It is a brave man who trusts the word of the unelected and unaccountable European Commission, especially over a matter as serious as war and peace. It is hugely convenient for the Commission to lay the blame for the August War at the door of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili; after all, the Russians are in permanent violation of the EU-negotiated ceasefire, which the EU conveniently ignores so long as Russia supplies it with much-needed helicopters for the French colonial (sorry, EU) mission to Chad.
Although it is completely un-testable, it is worth pondering whether Russia would’ve invaded Georgia if Germany and France hadn’t colluded with Moscow to deny Georgia NATO’s Membership Action Plan at the Bucharest Summit in April 2008 (which Britain, America and the Baltics supported).
Who cares about little Georgia? Expand the argument a little further and there are large parts of ‘Europe-proper’ that can be written off. There are two realistic futures for Europe: (1) a Europe of free and self-determining nation-states allied with the United States and anchored to Euro-Atlantic institutions; or (2) a Europe divided among those whom Russia considers in its zone of privileged interests and those who are not, who are ruled under the iron fist of a supranational, incompetent, militarily inept and corrupt European Union.
Mr. Bandow is correct that Kosovo didn’t really “matter” to America and that the U.S. had no overriding strategic interests in stopping the mass killing of Kosovar Muslims in 1999. President Clinton could have easily adopted the tone that President Obama is taking today toward the Iranian protestors being brutalized by the killing merchants of the atomic ayatollahs; more so considering Kosovo’s relative lack of importance to U.S. strategic interests compared to Tehran. However, if America won’t stand for freedom, then who will? It should also be remembered that it was the Europeans who proclaimed, “This is the hour of Europe. It is not the hour of the Americans,” in 1991 when they took control of mediation efforts in Yugoslavia. The rest is history.
It is equally unfathomable to argue that Europe should fight Islamist extremism alone. 9/11, 7/7, 3/11 are all graphic and tragic examples of the West’s generational long struggle against this ideological threat. The United States will need to fight this menace on a bilateral, multilateral and — where necessary — unilateral level. Therein lies NATO’s inherent value, and the purpose of Rep. Turner’s NATO First Act: reinforce NATO as the centerpiece of America’s multi-layered European alliance architecture.