Evidently not, and as a result, NATO has become a vacuum cleaner, sucking into its club Eastern European nations that were once under the aegis of the former Soviet Union. I don’t know which came first, the chicken or the egg, just like I don’t know if NATO deployed first to Eastern Europe and Russia responded by creating problems for us around the world or the other way around. But NATO’s presence in former Warsaw Pact countries is arguably the major national security issue for Russia and the stumbling block to a better relationship. As NATO continues on its merry way, Russia will become more threatening. Last summer, thousands of NATO troops participated in an exercise in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia — Russia’s backyard and places most Americans wouldn’t fight for. Now Russia is giving us a taste of our own medicine: It plans to deploy nuclear-capable TU-160 bombers on a Venezuelan island base less than 1,400 miles from Miami. I’m not pleased. I live in Ft. Lauderdale.