Exactly 26 years ago last week, peace was breaking out in a manner that the world had not experienced since June 1914.

The Berlin Wall—the symbol of a century of state tyranny, grotesque mass warfare, and the nuclear sword of Damocles hanging over the planet—had come tumbling down on November 9, 1989.

It was only a matter of time before the economically decrepit Soviet regime would be no more, and that the world’s vast arsenal of weapons and nuclear bombs could be dismantled.

Indeed, shortly thereafter according to Gorbachev, President George H.W. Bush, and Secretary Baker promised that NATO would not be expanded by “as much as a thumb’s width further to the East” in return for acquiescing to the reunification of Germany.

So with its “mission accomplished” there was no logical reason why NATO should not have been disbanded in parallel with the Warsaw Pact’s demise, and for an obvious and overpowering reason: On November 9, 1989 there were no material military threats to US security anywhere on the planet outside of the suddenly vanishing front line of the Cold War.

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