I have a radical policy suggestion: what if the U.S. indicated that, beginning in 24 months, we'd only defend those nations which were actually meeting their current year NATO obligation of spending 2% of GDP on defense? Nations unwilling/unable to meet their obligations would be publicly declared "associate" NATO members, not "members in good standing" entitled to defense.This morning the press is full of stories of Donald Trump essentially proposing something of the sort, in an interview with The New York Times, for example this ABC News article. We are not offended by stories of Trump seemingly channeling COTTonLINE, nor do we allege plagiarism.
If you can't pay your dues in an organization, they expect you to resign. It is long past time our allies in NATO either meet their treaty obligations or voluntarily drop their membership as Britain has decided to do with their EU membership, via Brexit.
Here's an example of why geography matters. Doing without NATO membership leaves a European nation at the tender mercies of Vlad Putin and his Russian bear hug. Putin may be a risk worth taking ... if you're Ireland or Portugal. For Estonia, Romania or Poland? Not so much.
Unclear as to why we say this? Look at a map of Europe and where countries are located with respect to Russia.