Is It Time For The US To Leave NATO?

APPLETON, WI — NATO was sold to the American people and the U.S. Congress in 1949 as an alliance needed to prevent the Soviet Union from gobbling up more nations to its West. With such an attitude prevailing, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization won ratification in the Senate with only 13 negative votes.

Opponents of entangling the U.S. in additional international pacts claimed correctly that membership in NATO would require U.S. involvement in disputes all over the world. Only a few knew that NATO was created as a “Regional Arrangement” authorized by Articles 51-54 of the United Nations Charter.

Then-Secretary of State Dean Acheson didn’t attempt to hide this relationship and, in his March 19, 1949 speech to the U.S. Senate, he confidently proclaimed, “it is designed to fit precisely into the framework of the United Nations” and is “an essential measure for strengthening the United Nations.” The text of the very brief NATO Treaty, only 14 brief articles, actually mentions “the United Nations” five times.

The treaty’s Article 5 pledges all signers to consider an attack on any member nation as an attack on all that must be met by all with a military response.

In 1950, membership in NATO was cited by President Truman as his authority to send American forces into Korea to counter North Korea’s invasion of its southern neighbor.

Later, the precedents established by NATO led to the creation of a virtually identical treaty known as the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). President Lyndon Johnson pointed to it for authority to commit hundreds of thousands of U.S. forces to Vietnam. The two wars were the first waged by the United States without victory. And NATO is now the overall leader of the military action in Afghanistan, where victory is seemingly impossible.

NATO has recently raised its voice in response to Russia’s annexation of the Crimean area of Ukraine, and to the further stationing by Russia of tens of thousands of troops near the Ukraine-Russia border. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says that the Russian actions have “undermined the very foundations” of the relationship that NATO has been building with Russia.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry joined with officials of other NATO member nations in planning to build up air, sea, and land forces for possible use in reversing Russia’s moves.

Should force be employed against Russia, one can be certain that its main ingredient will consist of U.S. military might. But such a development is extremely unlikely inasmuch as it would have to stem from authorization supplied by the U.N. Security Council– where Russia possesses a veto.

Seemingly lost in all of this headline-grabbing activity is the fact that the people in Crimea have already approved being annexed by Russia. At most, the situation involves only the two neighbors, Ukraine and Russia. In years gone by, such a low-level problem would involve only those affected by it.

Now, thanks to the United Nations and its NATO subsidiary, any such dispute seems poised to become a regional or even a world conflagration. U.N. and NATO leaders seem desirous of injecting their organizations and their forces. And, if they succeed, existing treaty obligations will require the U.S. to participate, and even lead the response.

All of which points to reasons why the United States should withdraw from NATO and its parent, the United Nations. Doing so would terminate the ongoing U.S. policy that has American forces acting as the policemen of the world. And respect for the United States would begin to rise again to heights previously enjoyed when our nation minded its own business.


John F. McManus is President of The John Birch Society.

Photo credit: Medien Bundeswehr (Flickr)


The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Leaving Afghanistan – Why Wait Until The End Of The Year?

APPLETON, WI — American troops went into Afghanistan in 2001 after the destruction of New York’s Twin Towers. Then, in 2003, U.S. forces reinvaded Iraq while the struggle in Afghanistan continued at a slower and more agonizing pace. The latest Afghanistan casualty figures note that, in more than 12 years, 4,410 have perished–and close to 20,000 have been wounded. President Obama has decided to renege on his frequently uttered pledge to remove U.S. forces by the end of 2014. He is now seeking permission from Afghan leaders to keep 3,000 American military personnel in this faraway land.

There is probably nothing more self-defeating for a military force than announcing the date of an intention to withdraw. Won’t the enemy simply wait until you’re gone and then ramp up its activity? No military man would sanction such a plan. This one was decided upon by politicians.

Even so, casualties continue, and the men and women assigned to this war-torn country increasingly wonder why they are there. Their mission’s goal has been changed so often – from capturing Bin Laden, to destroying opium production, to pacifying villages, to opposing the Taliban, to resisting counterinsurgency, and more – that their heads must be spinning. Recent publication by angry veterans of this war discusses the incredible Rules of Engagement under which they were forced to operate. No more could they expect air support when attacked. No more could they shoot when threatened. The rules seem almost designed to get them killed.

Frequently, U.S. casualties occur at the hands of the nation’s military and police who have been trained by U.S. personnel. After these locals have been armed and trusted, some turn their guns on those who taught them how to use the very weapons given them. Also, only a week ago, Taliban forces killed 21 Afghani soldiers, their newest favorite targets who are accused of unwillingness to submit to strict Islamic rule. Meanwhile, President Karzai, a frequent and sharp critic of the U.S. effort, now finds himself looked upon by ordinary Afghani citizens as a friend of the murderous Taliban. After all, say Afghanis of their country’s president, he maintains an apologetic tolerance of the Taliban and even refers to them as his “brothers.”

American forces should be brought home, the sooner the better. There’s no other way. Let the Afghanis fight each other without the U.S. acting as a referee, or as a target. No more dead, no more wounded, and no more mental basket cases among those who have been inserted into this war zone and wonder why. It is not the job of the U.S. to police the world. The policing that has been done hasn’t solved anything, either in Iraq where sectarian violence is almost worse than ever, or in Afghanistan.


John F. McManus is President of The John Birch Society.

The Birch Log is copyright (c) 2014, by John F. McManus and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom