Uncle Sam, International Nannyrnby Doug BandowrnThe Cold War may have ended, but Washington pohcymakersrndon’t seem to have noticed. America, facing no seriousrnsecurity threats, accounts for roughly 40 percent of thernglobe’s military spending. Our expenditures outpace those ofrnRussia by three or more to one; America spends twice as muchrnas Britain, France, Germany, and Japan combined. What for?rnDuring the Cold War the doctrine of containment provided arncoherent rationale for a large military in advanced outpostsrnaround the globe. That justification has obviously vanished, sorntoday policymakers are busy concocting new “vital” missions tornreplace that of resisting communism. The most obvious isrnBosnia, where the United States Army has been sent to police arntragic but strategically unimportant civil war on the fringes ofrnanother continent. President Clinton called it vital, but this isrnthe same President who argued that restoring a demagogue tornpower in Haiti was “vital.”rnUnfortunately, the Clinton administration is hardly alone inrnconcocting stupid new duties for the American military. Forrninstance, former Secretary of State James Baker worries thatrn”NATO remains an organization in search of a mission.” He isrnnot the first person to make such an observation. In the aftermathrnof communism’s 1989 implosion, NATO fans becamernquite creative at proposing new roles for what was until then thernquintessential anti-Soviet alliance. Robert Hormats, currentlyrnvice chairman of Goldman Sachs International, argued thatrnWestern leaders should “expand the range of issues on whichrnNATO engages the common efforts of the European andrnNorth American democracies—from student exchanges, tornfighting the drug trade, to resisting terrorism, to counteringrnDoug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and arnformer Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He isrnthe author of the forthcoming Tripwire: Korea and U.S.rnForeign Policy in a Changed World.rnthreats to the environment.” Hormats was not alone in believingrnthat a military alliance could be transformed into a combinationrnstudent exchange service and public-sector version ofrnGreenpeace. Former U.S. NATO Ambassador David Abshirerninsisted that NATO “could coordinate the transfer of environmental-rncontrol and energy-conservation technology to thernEast, thereby benefiting the global ecology.” All that was missingrnwas a proposal to turn American tanks into bookmobiles tornbe sent throughout Central and Eastern Europe.rnBut as the post-Cold War era has turned out to be less stablernand more contentious than originally hoped, members of thernNATO Forever Club have come to believe that they are morernlikely to save NATO if they can preserve its military character.rnThus, James Baker’s solution: redefine the alliance’s role to permitrn”military action anywhere and under any circumstancesrnwhen [Europe’s] peace and stability is threatened.” He cited asrnan example the Balkans, and proposed warning “all of Macedonia’srnneighbors—Serbia, Albania, Bulgaria, and, yes, evenrnNATO-member Greece—that any adventurism in Macedoniarnwould be considered a threat to European peace and stabilityrnand would be met with the full force of the alliance.” Thus, thernUnited States would move from defending states it has longrnconsidered to be important for American security to protectingrna brand new country lacking even an implausible connection tornAmerican interests. Perhaps even more incredibly. Baker wouldrnhave NATO shift from protecting member nations from outsidersrnto protecting outsiders from member nations.rnOf course, Baker is not the only person to consider the Balkansrnworthy of military involvement. Before President Clinton,rnwith congressional acquiescence, plunged American forces intornthe region to keep a dubious peace, Thomas Friedman of thernNew York Times called on America to use its forces to rescuernBritish and French “peacekeeping” troops, if they were strandedrnin Bosnia. Unlike President Clinton, Friedman did not be-rn16/CHRONlCLESrnrnrn