NATO's outgoing CEO, er Secretary-General, Anders 'Foggy' Rasmussen, should really send caviar and roses to Vladimir Putin. NATO hasn't done all that well on Foggy's watch - the cock-up in Libya, the hapless adventure in Afghanistan everybody would rather forget, the absorption of new members from eastern Europe more eager to get under NATO's umbrella than to pull their own weight.
Until Putin made his move on the Crimea, NATO had the makings of an alliance without much purpose and a very spotty track record. Desultory is a word that comes to mind.
NATO needed a real enemy, someone we could all perceive as a direct threat to us, the world. Libyans or Afghans didn't really count. Small potatoes.
Along came Vlad and the Crimea to make our dreams come true. They're Back!!! Those awful Russians with their awful ways. Let's mobilize. Assemble the fleet, set sail. Prowl the skies with those fighters. Parade the Legion. We've got barbarians at the gate - and just in time!
Except I don't know that the people of the "old NATO" nations are up for another nuclear superpower confrontation. We've done that once. It was a costly, unproductive, and sometimes worrisome pain in the ass. One Cuban missile crisis is enough for one lifetime. We know that there are too many people on our side, people like Foggy Rasmussen, who are just too keen to get a new cold war stoked up.
We've been pushing Russia's buttons ever since George H.W. Bush promised Gorbachev that, if only East Germany was allowed to come into NATO's fold, the alliance would never extend further eastward. One provocation atop another - until NATO was parked on Moscow's doorstep.
Enough. The world is going to be up to its alligators in existential threats this century. We don't need an ersatz cold war added to it. Let's focus on ways to try to get through this century with mankind more or less intact instead of engineering ways to see there is no next century. Enough.