At the first NATO summit in the wake of Brexit, U.S. and European leaders looked to the military alliance as a needed source of stability. As Adm. James Stavridis (Ret.), a former NATO commander, wrote hopefully in Foreign Policy weeks ago, predicting Brexit’s minimal effect on NATO, “There’s no doubt that we have entered a difficult era for the international system, politically, economically, and militarily. The ill effects will take several years to fully play out. But NATO stands ready, stronger probably than it was before, to help mitigate the pain.”
While we share Admiral Stavridis’s hopes in this regard, we feel it is critical for leaders of the alliance to consider more troubling implications of the “leave” campaign for the future of NATO: Could a similar populist campaign lead to efforts with NATO members, including the United States, to leave the alliance? And if so, what can supporters of NATO do to defend it?
The above excerpt was originally published in The National Interest.
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