WA few days after Easter, NATO can celebrate not only its 75th birthday, but also its resurrection from the brain dead and obsolete, to which a French and an American president were counted just a few years ago. However, even the most loyal supporters of the Atlantic defense alliance are not happy about the revival, which was even accompanied by an increase in size.

Because it is Russia's ten-year war against Ukraine that brought NATO out of its coma and made it clear to it that the aggressor Putin is also an acute threat to the security of its members.

Eastern Europeans have been warning about Putin for a long time

The states of the former Eastern Bloc, which joined the alliance of their own free will 20 and 25 years ago, had already warned of the danger looming in the east before the occupation of Crimea. In the west of the continent, however, this was dismissed as paranoia. Even when it had long been obvious who Putin's evil child was, the axiom in Germany was that security in Europe could only be achieved “with Russia” – and prosperity only with Russian gas. Putin's attack on the entire Ukraine brought this reverie to an abrupt end, although not in every single case, as reflexes in the SPD show.

Other NATO states are also not yet reacting with the utmost rigor to Putin's course of securing his dictatorship by inventing grotesque threats from outside and at the same time presenting himself as a successful conqueror.

In most Western capitals it is known that the fight in Ukraine is not only for its territorial integrity and sovereignty, but also for the security and self-determination of the European states, whose right to exist is doubted by Putin and his bullies.

Then NATO would be at war with Russia

But if the Kremlin attacked the Baltic republics or Poland, NATO would be at war with Russia. Even Chancellor Scholz, who prides himself on prudence, reiterated several times that every square centimeter of the alliance's territory would be defended.

To avoid reaching this terrible point, NATO must do two things. It must support Ukraine so that it can stop Putin and push him back. And the alliance must strengthen its military capabilities to deter Putin from aggression against its member states. In both fields, not everything that could and should have happened is happening yet.

In its anniversary year, NATO is not only threatened with danger from the East. There is also a time bomb ticking inside her. Her name is Trump. His point of view that Europeans themselves must do more for their security was and is correct. But since the Second World War, no American president or presidential candidate has sowed doubts about the United States' loyalty to its European allies as much as Trump.

However, the American assurance that an attack on a NATO state is viewed as an attack on itself is the backbone of the alliance's defense and deterrence strategy. The decoupling of America from Europe, which the Soviets had tried in vain for decades, would be a catastrophe for the security of Europeans. An aggressor like Putin could only see the American desertion as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The European NATO members would not be able to compensate for the loss of America's conventional and nuclear capabilities for a long time, if at all.

The Scholz government relies on the principle of hope

The security of Europe and the future of NATO will depend not only on Putin's further war plans, but also particularly on the outcome of the American election and the decisions of the next president. So far, the Scholz government seems to be betting that things won't get that bad, even if Trump returns to the White House.

In a certain way, this hope is understandable, because the occurrence of the worst-case scenario – America's turning away from NATO and the fate of Europe – would raise questions for Germany, against which the controversial issue of basic child welfare, which is already taxing the coalition, is pure childish stuff.

But waiting and drinking tea is not enough when it comes to national security. NATO is Germany's life insurance. Berlin must do everything in its power to keep America in the alliance and in Europe. This includes a significant increase in the defense budget, which the boastful Trump would then be happy to claim as his success. But this “deal” wouldn’t be bad for Berlin either. Because a lot more money would have to be spent on rearmament if the USA withdrew. However, how much security Germany could buy with this remains questionable.

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