Source: The National Interest

By Christian Whiton

Before President Donald Trump attempts real diplomacy with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in Helsinki on July 16, he’ll first be subjected to another summit. That first summit is a gathering of leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

These leaders continually assure the United States they are America’s best allies, even as most contribute little to America’s defense and rack up huge trade surpluses with the United States. Trump will insist on a better deal but should go farther and wind down U.S. membership in NATO.

After the alliance was established in 1949, its first secretary general, Lord Hastings Ismay, summed up its purpose concisely: “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.”

The unofficial mission matched the time well: Western Europe’s postwar future was clouded by the prospect of a Soviet invasion, American insularity, or German militarism—all possible given the preceding decades of history.

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