American Decline

Is America Headed for a NATO-Style Faceoff Between Red and Blue?

The fierce rhetoric flying between state capitols is a reflection of “the big sort,” as we increasingly seek out those with whom we share values. The common ground essential to governing is getting harder and harder to find.

The circle of national flags outside NATO headquarters in Brussels.
NATO headquarters in Brussels: The NATO treaty holds that an attack on one alliance member will be viewed as an attack on all.

Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law scholar at George Washington University, says he’s sick and tired of blue-state campaigns against red-state policies. Democrats have organized boycotts of businesses located in states that have passed anti-LGBTQ laws. California Gov. Gavin Newsom asked movie production companies to avoid states like Georgia and Oklahoma with anti-abortion laws. Blue states have moved to try to attract businesses away from those with rigid abortion laws, prompting warnings that states adopting such bans “risk losing their economic edge.”

Turley is fed up with what he calls “this madness.” It’s time, he wrote, for red states to create a counter-alliance of mutual defense, modeled on Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which holds that an attack against one NATO member is viewed as an attack on all. If one state found itself the object of a boycott, he proposed, all of the other states in the alliance would launch their own counterattacks with boycotts of their own.

There’s been a lot of saber-rattling talk about federalism, including even the thought that different sides in these federalism battles might take up arms to make their point. Fortunately, more than 150 years ago the nation settled the question of whether alliances of states could go to war against each other. In fact, today 62 percent of Americans think that the nation can fix its problems by learning from its mistakes.

Leave a Reply