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Logic behind Macron’s remarks on NATO is sound. NATO’s purpose is to prevent attacks from non-members, and to defend members should prevention fail. Trump states he wants to withdraw from NATO, if NATO does not meet his expectations. His verbal attacks on NATO, and its individual members, would make any country feel insecure. So why should we express surprise if President Macron suggests Europe should defend itself against the United States?

Fact is, Europe appreciated U. S. leadership, especially its contributions to NATO, until 2003. At that point, George W. Bush tried to strong arm Europe into support of his Iraq war. Under German leadership, NATO declined Bush’s invitation. Before that, for eighteen months after 9/11, Europe supported U. S. military efforts in Afghanistan. It supported U. S. diplomatic efforts to unite all countries to oppose Islamic militancy. The Iraq war ended that period of U. S. leadership.

Macron merely states where Europe and the U. S. stand, seventeen years later. Trump wants to bully members of NATO. He publicly pressures them to comply with his personal vision for the alliance. Why would Macron not say, “Enough. If you believe American nationalism inconsistent with membership in this alliance, leave it. After you leave it, we will count you among the countries we have to defend ourselves against.”

The U. S. renounced its leadership of NATO seventeen years ago. After Trump’s extraordinary, two-year tirade against the alliance and its members, Macron wonders why we hang around.

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