Europe hopes for status quo but must prepare for NATO without U.S.

Interesting and pessimistic take on the future of NATO by Sten Rynning in War on the Rocks:

In this short essay, I argue that NATO is actually witnessing a return of European geopolitics that runs in parallel to the questioning of geopolitical priorities occurring in the United States. European allies clearly prefer continuity when it comes to NATO, but are also coming to realize that as power shifts, so too must institutions. If the big shift comes and the United States leaves NATO, Western Europe may scrape by, but Eastern Europe will pay the price with the loss of sovereignty. Averting this major shift requires a stronger Europe within NATO, not only in terms of budgets but also political influence. Yet it is not clear that the Atlantic allies are ready to recast their bargain and stick to it.

In my conversations with European military planners, I am often surprised by their optimism about the future of NATO. It’s as if they cannot imagine what military operations would look like without U.S. assistance, so they prefer to assume that American support will remain unwavering. The prudent thing to do would be to start preparing for that contingency.

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