NATO’s hard sell at the summit
By Michael Lynn and Roxane Assaf
May 16, 2012
In 1949, shortly after the Soviet Union exploded its first nuclear weapon, the United States and 11 WesternEuropean nations formed NATO. The organization’s original goals were the deterrence of Soviet aggression against the war-ravaged nations of Western Europe and containing Soviet influence within the boundaries of its already existing Eastern bloc.
Now, more than six decades later, as the 28-country alliance gathers in Chicago for its summit, the Afghan war and U.S. military spending in general are due for some increased scrutiny. President Barack Obama’s recently announced joint agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai calls into serious question Obama’s intention to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan by 2014 and the administration’s promise to be the most transparent in American history — ironic, since the proposed agreement bypasses Congress entirely.
If there is no accountability to Congress, the will of the American people is being ignored. A recent New York Times poll shows that nearly 7 out of 10 Americans (69 percent) believe the U.S. should not be at war in Afghanistan. Opposition to the war cuts across ideological divides, with 68 percent of Democrats saying the war was going somewhat or very badly and 60 percent of Republicans agreeing. Strikingly, a plurality (40 percent) of Republicans asserted that the U.S. should exit Afghanistan earlier than 2014. A recent Christian Science Monitor poll showed that 63 percent of U.S. respondents rejected the Obama-Karzai deal, while only 33 percent approved.