Since under the NATO treaty, an attack on any of the Baltic States (Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia) is considered an attack on the United States, I went back to see how the Senate vote (May 8, 2003) went to admit those countries to NATO.
People, it was 96-0. As if they were naming a post office. No one seems to have thought about if we really want to go to war over the Baltic States.
What troubles me most is that Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia were part of the old Soviet Union, and not simply Warsaw Pact countries like Poland or Bulgaria. I see a distinction between adding former Warsaw Pact nations to NATO and adding former republics of the USSR. The latter strikes me as in-your-face overreach, NATO on the Russian border, designed to infuriate the Russians and perhaps come back to bite us on the tush.
Okay, we “won” the Cold War, but there’s winning smart and winning dumb. The Treaty of Versailles was winning dumb. Expanding NATO as far as we did may have been winning dumb too.