Is it time for the U.S. to exit NATO? Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Turkey are all members of NATO. If Russia were to attack any of these countries, the U.S., as part of NATO, would be obligated to defend them. Can you imagine any scenario whereby the war-weary American people would be willing to go to war with a nuclear state in defense of Latvia, Lithuania, or Estonia? I can’t. I also find it hard to imagine Americans laying down their lives to defend Turkey, especially if it transitions from a secular state to a fully Islamic state (as it seems to be doing).
George Washington’s advice to avoid “entangling alliances” holds true, especially if one reads about the hundreds and hundreds of European wars over the past 5 centuries. I have thought for a long time that the U.S. ought to encourage those who are the closest to the scene and who have the most at stake to form their own alliance.
The article on the Baltic Entente was a good reminder of how difficult and ineffective such local alliances might actually be. This was an alliance between Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to defend themselves against the Nazis and the Soviets. It ended when the Soviet military took over the Baltic states. According to Wikipedia (“Baltic Entente”), the alliance failed for several reasons. It could not agree on what its enemies were. It was not a military alliance, so there was no military coordination. There was no economic unity, only competition. Finally, there was a lack of cultural unity. (The lack of cultural unity is a major problem I have with Turkey being in NATO.)
To sum up, if you’re young, here’s a map of the NATO countries you’re obligated to defend, along with the date when each entered the alliance: