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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

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APRIL 2017

27

Without wholehearted commitment by all of its members,

the alliance would be weakened severely, possibly fatally. It is

optimistic, to say the least, to believe that belligerence in the

Kremlin will be replaced by benevolence. History tells us that

those who enjoy spheres of influence are rarely satisfied by

what they control. Characteristically, they look to expand.

Diminishing the American commitment to Europe can only

further encourage Putin. It is said that a deal can be struck with

him, and that better relations can be achieved. This is both prag-

matic and laudable. But what would such a deal involve? Do not

such dealings involve concessions on both sides? What would

Putin be prepared to offer in such a bargain, and what could he

be offered in return?

Buoyed by his diplomatic and military success in the Middle

East, why would he be in any mood to make concessions? Who’s

to say he would not simply bank any concession made to him

without reciprocating? And even if such a deal were achieved,

the continued maintenance of the deterrence which NATO pro-

vides would be a necessary safeguard.

Protecting U.S. National Interests

It is easy to see that Europe has a real stake in preserving

the trans-Atlantic relationship. But what of the United States?

A stable and secure Europe making a proper contribution

to its own defense is the best means of protecting American

Pres. Trump has a point

when he says that the

European members of

NATO have not contributed

sufficiently to the cost of

their own defense.