The NATO alliance’s fault lines extend beyond the Arab World. In most cases, these divisions trace back to member states’ unease with U.S. imperial overreach and pugnacious provocations. Early rumblings surfaced during the Afghan War, when many NATO allies proved unenthusiastic about — and attached combat-avoidance “national caveats” to — increased roles in the alliance’s first “out-of-area” expeditionary operation. Member states were quick, and correct, to point out that NATO was never designed for such missions.
More recently, in ruptures that can be blamed on Mr. Trump, some NATO allies have proven lukewarm on Washington’s belligerence towards China, Iran, and Venezuela. For example, while the alliance has seemingly closed ranks against Beijing in the wake of COVID-fallout, it’s less clear that the previously wavering Europeans — on the Chinese telecom giant Huawei’s 5G network and China’s overall “Belt and Road Initiative” — will sign on to Trump’s desired Cold War 2.0 in the longer term.
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