Enlarging the Atlantic Alliance

An excellent op-ed by Ruppert Murdoch:

Unfortunately, far from reflecting our unity, NATO’s entry into Afghanistan has exposed its divisions. Instead of standing together as full and equal partners, a handful of alliance members are bearing the brunt of the fighting. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said that the lack of equal burden sharing threatens the future of the alliance. He is right.

We must face up to a painful truth: Europe no longer has either the political will or social culture to support military engagements in defense of itself and its allies. However strong NATO may be on paper, this fact makes NATO weak in practice. It also means that reform will not come from within.

…Right now the U.S. has a test in its own backyard. Colombia is a nation that is fighting poverty, battling the drug lords, and taking on terrorists backed by foreign governments. Its citizens have suffered terribly from violence, and want peace and opportunity. So its brave and innovative president, Álvaro Uribe, is trying to bring the rule of law to people who have not known it.

All President Uribe asks of us is that we ratify the trade agreement we have negotiated with his nation. By ratifying this agreement, we would open an important market for American goods. We would demonstrate to millions in our hemisphere that the path to prosperity lies in freedom and democracy. And we would give strong moral support to a leader struggling to bring hope and opportunity to his people in an important part of the world.

Everyone knows this, Democrats as well as Republicans. Yet House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has effectively put off the bill by not scheduling a vote. We need to make clear to the leadership in Congress what killing this trade deal would mean.

Throughout Colombia, a defeat for the trade deal would be confirmation that the U.S. is not an ally you can count on. Throughout Latin America, a defeat for the trade deal would be exploited by thugs like Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, who would tell the people, “See, the Americans will never accept you as equals and partners.” And throughout the world, a defeat for the trade deal would be taken as another sign that the U.S. will not stand by its friends when the going gets tough.

Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico’s ambassador to the U.S., puts it this way: “The most important geopolitical mistake the United States could do today . . . is not ratifying that treaty.”