During twenty years in uniform, from sandblasted deserts to fire-scorched cities, I’ve learned that alliances matter. They’re the bedrock of security, the wall against the world’s wolves. But right now, NATO, the shield forged from the ashes of World War II, faces a tempest.

Former President Donald Trump’s recent vocal criticisms, fueled by concerns over spending disparities, have stirred doubt and unease among allies.

Some, like retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, whisper of deeper ideological currents: an aversion to obligations, a disdain for ties that bind.

“Trump hates alliances. He hates an obligation where he’d have to live up to something,” said Hodges, who was also the former commander of US Army Europe, to The Times in a story published Monday, February 12.