by Victor Davis Hanson // Defining Ideas
Declaring the North Atlantic Treaty Organization dead has been a pastime of analysts since the end of the Cold War. The alliance, today 28-members strong, has survived 65 years because its glaring contradictions were often overlooked, given the dangers of an expansionist and nuclear Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact subjects.
From its beginning, NATO had billed itself as a democratic Western bastion against Soviet totalitarian aggression—if not always in practice then at least in theory. NATO never had much problem keeping Greece and Turkey in the alliance despite their occasionally oppressive, rightwing military dictatorships, given the strategic location of both and the need to keep the pair’s historical rivalries in-house. If the alliance’s exalted motto “animus inconsulendo liber” (“A free mind in consultation”) was not always applicable, NATO still protected something far better than the alternative.