Should Trump attack NATO?

Trump to meet European leaders at stormy NATO summit

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Council on Foreign Relations

What Does NATO Do Today?

Founded in 1949 as a bulwark against Soviet aggression, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) remains the pillar of U.S. -European military cooperation. An expanding bloc of NATO allies has taken on a broad range of missions since the close of the Cold War, many well beyond the European sphere, in countries such as Afghanistan and Libya.

In 2018, the alliance faces a new set of challenges. Some analysts warn of a Cold War redux, pointing to Russia's military incursions into Georgia and Ukraine as well as its efforts to sow political discord in NATO countries. The alliance has responded by reinforcing defenses in Europe, but political rifts between members, some opened by the United States, have thrown NATO unity into question.

A Post–Cold War Pivot

After the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, Western leaders intensely debated the direction of the transatlantic alliance. President Bill Clinton’s administration favored expanding NATO to both extend its security umbrella to the east and consolidate democratic gains in the former Soviet bloc, while some U.S. officials wished to peel back the Pentagon’s commitments in Europe with the fading of the Soviet threat.

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