President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron don’t agree on much. During a tense joint press conference ahead of the NATO leaders meeting, the two sparred over the fate of captured ISIL fighters, Macron’s recent comments about the “brain death” of the alliance, and Turkey. Some of their disagreements are less important but just as serious. Trump thinks America has better wine than France. Macron, presumably, doesn’t. The two leaders do, however, appear to agree on one thing — something is wrong with NATO.
Both leaders are right to point out that NATO is ailing, but their diagnoses are wrong. The real issue isn’t European shirking on defense expenditures, and neither is it a lack of American commitment. These, rather, are symptoms of a larger disease: NATO’s long-lived attachment to a presence-heavy model of deterrence that a new study suggests may no longer be necessary.
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