The Lawfare Podcast: Stephen Wertheim and Sara Moller on the Past, Present and Future of NATO

By Jen Patja Howell
Monday, June 21, 2021, 5:01 AM

NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was founded in 1949 and quickly became the main way that the United States guaranteed the security of Western Europe, especially against possible invasion by the Soviet Union. But with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the end of the Cold War, NATO has faced a series of identity crises. Should it continue to exist in its current form or change? If it should change, should it shrink or expand? Should it continue focusing on European security or embrace global peacekeeping? What should its relationship with Russia be? And perhaps most importantly, should America continue to serve as the de facto head of NATO and the main guarantor of European security? Last week's NATO summit offers an opportunity to revisit all of these cases.

To discuss it all, Alan Rozenshtein spoke with two experts on U.S. foreign policy: Stephen Wertheim, a historian and director of the Grand Strategy Program at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, and Sara Moller, an assistant professor in international security at Seton Hall University. To frame the conversation, they focused on Stephen's recent essay in the New York Times, provocatively titled, "Sorry, Liberals. But You Really Shouldn't Love NATO."