NATO, or the North American Treaty Organization, was created by a treaty for the protection of Europe and the west from the Soviet Union and their “Warsaw” pact nations. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the alleged end of the Cold War, NATO has wandered the planet in search of a larger meaning. Meanwhile, the individual nations from Europe have allowed their military budgets to fall lower and lower, to offset the expenditure of their domestic agendas. Sure, they have engaged in some operations, such as Afghanistan, but largely, this just hasn’t had the same feeling of urgency since the old USSR left us. Now, we’re seeing a resurgence. Eastern Europe has brought life back into an older organization, and the Europe that has so long neglected their military is starting to see a need to re-tool, reorganize, and regroup. Newer nations, formerly under the old umbrella of the Warsaw Pact, are now seeking membership. As NATO grows, so will the bureaucracy and arguments, since there will be the inevitable clashes among the varying agendas, and self interests, of the individual nations comprising this now larger membership. Still, now there is meaning, and a real need to evaluate the world threat, even beyond that of terrorism. Congratulations, Mr. Putin, since you have single handedly done what nobody else could do. You’ve given Europe a focus and sense of defensive purpose that they haven’t had in years. I just hope to hell that it won’t come down to the actual use of that purpose. ~ Michael S. Pauley
Michael S. Pauley is a Navy brat and an old soldier who served in all three components of the United States Army. Living in Lexington, South Carolina, Michael is now a practicing attorney and member of the United States Naval Institute and the American Legion, Post 154, Tybee Island, Georgia.