NATO has three new members: Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. The event has taken place at a time when Europe is as stable and unthreatened as it has ever been in history.

The Russians—regardless of political persuasion—are profoundly disturbed at the shift eastwards of the limit of NATO’s Article 5 guarantee, which postulates that a perceived attack on any member state is an attack on all, including America. They see NATO enlargement as America’s equivalent of Russian missiles in Cuba, except that it is harder to explain; in Khrushchev’s heyday there was a Cold War on, and today there is presumably none. Enlargement tells them that Russia is still deemed dangerous, unstable, and untrustworthy in Washington.

The long-term effect of this decision is contained in the warning uttered by George Kennan, veteran diplomat and Kremlinologist, some months ago; “NATO enlargement would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post Cold War era. It will inflame nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion, have an adverse side effect on the development of Russian democracy and restore the atmosphere of Cold War to East-West relations.”

Our allies in Europe, too, remain unimpressed by Secretary of State Albright’s exultant exclamation that “the new NATO can vanquish old hatreds, promote integration, create a secure environment for prosperity and deter violence in the region where two world wars and the Cold War began.” Some quietly suggest that, if membership in NATO is the key to all those blessings, then perhaps NATO should be extended to the countries of Central America, Equatorial Africa, and the Middle East as well. According to the Times of London, “ask Britain’s politicians or diplomats about NATO enlargement and they give a despairing shrug. It is like global warming or drug cartels.”

To state it succinctly, NATO enlargement threatens peace in Europe and undermines American security. It offers three small nations a near-meaningless guarantee (for no American President will risk Boston for Bialystok) while encouraging them to be less cautious in their relations with Russia. While Madeleine Albright pleads with Europe’s skeptics to stop looking at enlargement as a “zero-sum game,” she has forced a minus-sum game on them, and an impossible commitment on us. Since it is patently obvious that NATO enlargement is devoid of any strategic logic, military necessity, or ideological merit, it is time to ask, “Cui bono?

American defense contractors, to start with. All new NATO members will have to standardize their weaponry and equipment—currently of Soviet origin—with their Western allies. They will buy American, for they know in whose good books they need to remain. Prague, Warsaw, and Budapest will spend billions over the next few years on advanced weapons they do not need, cannot afford, and are unable to use effectively for self-defense—to the delight of Grumman, British Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, McDonnell Douglas, et al. If Russia is forced by all this to devote more of its meager liquidity to armaments, so much the better for the merchants of death, who will finally have the “proof” that the Big Bad Bear had remained bad all along.

But the main beneficiaries of the new. Greater NATO will be the enemies of European civilization and Christendom, whether inside the Beltway or in the Islamic world. To the Washingtonian foreign policy “elite”—neoconservatives and liberals alike—the enemy is still in the East. The Serb today, the Russian tomorrow—and the Creek had better take notice, lest the Turk be unleashed for another bout of ethnic cleansing, the likes of which we’ve seen in Smyrna in 1922, in Constantinople in 1955, and in Cyprus in 1974.

In their heart of hearts they fear the true unity of Europe—East and West—and its rediscovery of its common roots and heritage. They are not content with the moral, spiritual, and demographic wasteland they have created in what used to be Christendom; they are plotting the final showdown—in the tradition of the infamous Fourth Crusade, almost 800 years ago, which allowed the Ottomans to sweep across Asia Minor, the Balkans, and up the Danubian plain all the way to Vienna.

What else is the meaning of not merely preserving NATO—now that the threat which created it is gone—^but extending it eastwards? In this context it becomes clear that one supplementary motive for the kind of policy the American government has pursued in the Balkans over the past half-decade was to set up the political, legal, military, and above all psychological precedent for the demolition of Russia as a great power, its permanent exclusion from “Europe,” and its consignment to the depths of the Eurasian land-mass, with a cordon sanitaire of New World Order satellites around it.

Failure to remember what has gone on before condemns us to remain forever children. The hubris of Albright, Lake, and Clinton is the path which Washington and Jefferson forbade America ever to take. Given the choice, the people of this country would never opt for it, but—living under the regime of “managed mass democracy”—they are seemingly powerless to prevent it. Aufwiedersehen in Riga!