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For NATO nations, there's strength in numbers.

Numbers like 75, the years since 12 transatlantic allies founded the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on April 4, 1949.

And 32, the number of flags now raised at NATO headquarters in Brussels, after the ascension of Finland last year and Sweden last month.

Or the number one, used when characterizing America's alliances as "the single most important geostrategic advantage over any potential adversary or competitor," according to former U.S. ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute, a decorated military officer who later served in both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations. Amid international travels, Lute said in an email interview that "Russia and China have nothing comparable. The 32 allies in NATO train together, operate together, live together under a standing unified command structure, making them far more capable militarily than any ad-hoc arrangement."

Lute also pointed to these key numbers: 45, the number of states that trade more with Europe than China; and about 50, the percentage of global GDP that's produced by the U.S. and Europe.

The strength-in-numbers approach reflects the "essential American grand strategy to make everything multilateral," said Bradley Bowman, senior director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies' Center on Military and Political Power. Bowman, a former military officer and former national security adviser to members of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, added that NATO is "arguably the most successful military alliance in human history — and it's a major asset for the United States."

Most Americans, the numbers suggest, seem to agree.

In fact, 47% want to see the U.S. keep its current commitment to the alliance, while 20% believe that support for NATO should increase, according to a Gallup poll released late February. That combined 67% compares to the 16% who think that the country should reduce its NATO commitment and the 12% who favor withdrawing from NATO entirely.

And the numbers suggest that most allies also agree.

In NATO's annual tracking poll across 31 countries last year (Sweden will be included in this year's data), 77% supported maintaining or increasing defense spending. Those favoring an increase jumped 10 percentage points over two years — likely another way the Ukraine invasion is concentrating Europeans' minds on the existential threat of Russian revanchism. (Concentrating budgets is another matter, but the Pentagon recently reported that 18 member states will soon meet or exceed the 2% of GDP objective, up sharply from the three at that level a decade ago.)

This transatlantic data tracks relatively closely to the results of an independent poll by the Pew Research Center last year that said 62% have a positive view of NATO compared to 31% with an unfavorable view. (The Pew poll, however, was only across 11 countries instead of the 32 in the alliance.)

So support on both sides of the pond is profound. "The primary reason I, as a patriotic American, support NATO, is because I believe what happens to Europeans matters to Americans," Bowman said, rhetorically reminding that within 30 years the U.S. was drawn into two world wars that cost the lives of more than half a million Americans. There's a reason, he added, "why the Kremlin has not invaded a member of NATO in more than seven decades, and that's because of the saying 'you can count on the Russians to push forward with their bayonets until they hit something hard' — and for more than seven decades, that hard thing has been the North Atlantic Treaty Organization."

But the "hard thing" that NATO is seeing is softening of support in some quarters.

Not from the front-line countries with sharp recall of Russian bayonets (or other weapons). For instance, Poles, Pew reports, have a 93% favorable opinion of NATO, with 90% in NATO's survey saying the transatlantic pact is "important for dealing with security challenges."

But rather in countries vulnerable to Russian meddling, as well as more Kremlin-friendly nations like Hungary, whose illiberal leader, Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has become an inspiration to many in the MAGA movement — including former (and perhaps future) President Donald Trump.

Here at home, Gallup reports that Republicans are "least supportive of NATO," with only 7% saying they support the U.S. increasing its commitment, compared to 27% of Democrats and 24% of independents. Conversely, 26% of Republicans said the U.S. should decrease support, compared to 14% of independents and only 9% of Democrats.

Some of this softening might reflect Republicans following Trump's labeling of NATO as "obsolete" during his first campaign. Or in this year's race, when he told a raucous rally that "one of the presidents of a big [NATO] country stood up and said, 'Well, sir, if we don't pay and we're attacked by Russia, will you protect us?' I said, 'You didn't pay? You're delinquent? … No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.'"

Trump's reckless rhetoric negates NATO's most fundamental number: Five. Or more specifically, Article 5, the collective-defense mechanism that considers an attack against one country an attack against all.

Bowman noted that it's important to recognize that Article 5′s language "makes clear that there's some political judgment for each of the capitals about how to respond." Accordingly, "who's sitting at the desk of the Oval Office really matters in terms of the perceived credibility of NATO and Article 5. So you can have all the statements you want, you can have the best military in the world, you can have the best defense posture in Eastern Europe, you can have the best weapons, but if there's a perception that key capitals — the foremost of which is Washington, D.C. — that the occupant of the Oval Office may not be there for the alliance in its moment of need, that's going to invite something that we were able to avoid for more than four decades during the Cold War, and that is a direct war between the United States and Russia."

NATO "is playing a key role," said Thomas Hanson, diplomat-in-residence at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Hanson, a former Foreign Service officer and former director for NATO and European Affairs at the Atlantic Council, emphasized that "we need partners."

Those partners have been reliable. Especially, said Lute, on Sept. 12, 2001, when "NATO allies came to our assistance and stayed with us for the next 20 years in Afghanistan. When America was attacked, when she needed allies, NATO was there for us."

That's something for Americans to consider regarding another set of numerals that's key to the ethos of strength in numbers: 11-05-2024.

Election Day.