Tony Wood lives in New York and writes on Russia and Latin America. His book Russia without Putin: Money, Power and the Myths of the New Cold War is out in November 2018. (August 2018)

NYR DAILY

NATO and the Myth of the Liberal International Order

President Donald Trump with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Brussels, July 11, 2018

The core message Trump delivered in Brussels was not that different from those given by previous administrations. So why the sudden concern, if US complaints about their allies’ military and financial contributions are nothing new? Liberal anxieties about NATO stem more from discontent with Trump’s brusqueness and his discourteous tone—at a rally in Montana in early July, he said “we’re the schmucks paying for the whole thing,” and claimed to have told German Chancellor Angela Merkel, “I don’t know how much protection we get by protecting you”—than from the actual substance of US policy toward the alliance, which has remained remarkably consistent over time.