The United States has world responsibilities, including the eventuality, which may be not far removed in the future, of becoming involved in the defense of Taiwan or South Korea against a belligerent North Korea and/or a resurgent, modernized Chinese military determined to prevent Taiwanese independence. Only Japan, which has only partially rearmed, is available as an American ally in the Far East. According to Hillen (1997, 30 June), America's ability to meet all of its defense commitments, especially its combat readiness, has been impaired by the steady decline in American defense expenditures since 1989 (p. 39). It may be in Europe's interest to pacify the Balkans, but it is hardly in the American interest to get bogged down there or to risk a major confrontation with the Russians.
s ratified by the U.S. Senate on July 21 of that year by a vote of 82 to 13. Under Article 5 of the NATO treaty an armed attack on any of the original signatories (the Brussles Treaty five plus the United States, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Norway, and Portugal), was an attack on all and required them to act in their common defense. Greece and Turkey joined NATO in 1952, West Germany in 1955 and Spain in 1982.
A diplomat at century's end. (1996, 11 March) U.S. News &
Steel, R. (1996, 25 November). The hard questions. New
survive the war? Los Angeles Times, p. B7.
NATO at 50, at risk. (1999, 19 April). Los Angeles Times, p.
One of the factors keeping NATO alive is uncertainty over the intentions and tendencies of an unstable Russia. Advocates of re-taining the alliance, such as German Kamp (1995, Spring), observed that "the honeymoon in Russia's relations with the West is over" and that it is simple prudence for the West to keep its powder dry in the form of NATO (p. 121). Whatever happens in Russia, however, it is clear that the Russian threat to Western Europe, if one still exists, is remote. According to Kupchan (1996, May-June), "Russia is neither interested nor capable o