Former Vice President and current GOP presidential candidate Mike Pence seemingly and unwittingly made the case for why the United States should rethink the NATO Treaty.
During a NewsNation town hall on Friday, Pence said, “I’m convinced that if the Ukrainian military doesn’t stop and repel that Russian invasion, it’s not going to be too long before that Russian army crosses a border that our men and women in uniform are going to have to go and fight under our NATO Treaty.”
While Pence didn’t specify which NATO country US troops would be defending, a CBS News poll conducted last week showed that only 24% of Americans supported sending their country’s soldiers to Ukraine.
Ukraine is not currently a NATO member.
But with only a quarter of Americans supporting sending US soldiers to Ukraine in particular, it is likely that support for sending them to NATO countries—what Pence anticipates—is something many Americans also wouldn’t want.
Maybe it’s time to rethink this thing?
Republican Congressman Thomas Massie noted that Pence’s comments about sending American troops are precisely why NATO’s critics say the U.S. should be reconsidering the whole arrangement.
A fair observation. Should America be on the hook to fight so many potential European wars with debatable U.S. interests? In 2023?
It’s an absolutely reasonable question that the Washington foreign policy establishment won’t even consider.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, created in 1949, requires member states to defend others who are invaded, with the United States long being the largest participant. Founded primarily to contain the Soviet Union, many have understandably debated if the alliance still makes sense nearly 80 years after the end of World War II.
Proponents of NATO might argue that the current Russia-Ukraine conflict shows a need for NATO. NATO critics might argue—and do—that this conflict was created due to the existence of an ever-expanding NATO.
American hawks, like Pence, in both parties have long supported maintaining and expanding NATO. His former boss, former Republican President Donald Trump, along with many on the populist and libertarian Right and a minority of the contemporary progressive Left, have also questioned the need for such an alliance in the 21st century.
If Mike Pence’s prediction comes true and U.S. troops are yet again deployed to another foreign country for uncertain reasons, more Americans might begin asking questions too.