For decades, NATO and the European Union have silently worked in unison. The former required a foundation of European unity, and the EU to a significant extent provided that, its elitist and statist bureaucracy notwithstanding. Now the architecture is being toppled, as the vote for Brexit may trigger a cascade of desertions.
Meanwhile, NATO still must defend Central and Eastern Europe against Russian subversion and outright aggression. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who yearns for European disintegration, must see Brexit as a victory. Never since the early days of the Cold War have NATO and Europe so required American leadership. Brexit is a test for this president and the next.
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