It's always difficult to identify a true masterpiece simply by its internet headline. Such is the case with This Is How NATO Ends, a short story by Philip K. Dick about a dystopian future in which NATO no longer exists (mostly because of Donald Trump). Foreign Policy bought the rights to this incredible but obscure piece of literature, and now it is being shared with the world for the first time.
We simply cannot conjure up the words to describe the haunting imagery that Philip implants into the reader's mind. A world without NATO? How could this happen?
As Dick writes:
In NATO's case, the long whimper of its demise began with the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump in January 2017. Throughout the endless 2016 presidential campaign, Trump had railed against American allies that he felt did not carry the burden of their own defense. He hinted darkly that as president he would not defend allies that did not pay their share. His praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin further stoked fears in Eastern Europe that he would abandon them to Russia's tender mercies.We don't want to ruin what happens next (ok, we have to tell you: Russia re-invades Ukraine for the 1,000th time, and Iran "stages a coup" in Baghdad. In both cases, NATO fails to start WWIII. Just imagine!).
Once he became president, Trump's attitude toward Europe and NATO became just as erratic as his ramshackle presidential campaign. He appointed cabinet secretaries who praised NATO in their confirmation hearings. He allowed visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May to assert that he "supported NATO 100 percent." Then, just as suddenly, he would veer back toward bashing allies, calling NATO obsolete, or attacking the EU as a German plot...