NATO and the ANTI-Group Traveler
17Th Arrondissement Of Paris, France
The above building is not NATO. NATO is a drab 1960's era compound outside the main city of Brussels. The building above is the Royal Palace situated in the Royal Quarter of Brussels, also home to many of Brussels' museums and all things fine art. It's fancy. We happened to drive past the palace on our scenic drive to NATO. We were not allowed to snap any photos of NATO anywhere, so I will pretend NATO is a palace full of tapestries and walk-in fireplaces, not a workforce of smokers trapped in a dorm hung with signs "no classified discussion in this area". Security took quite a long time and we were of course waiting in snow and cold. This is part of NATO's freeze out method of weeding out the weak ones. I was sure I wasn't making it past the girl with the dragon tattoo guarding our entrance. Surprise! I did. Our briefing was informative and I definitely learned several things about NATO but I came away questioning the legitimacy of a political security organization planted squarely on the foundation of values driven one. I also doubt the consensus of all member countries isn't swayed more by money and power than actual ideology and beliefs (good ole 'Merica). I have spent a good time thinking about what exactly is good governance and in particular who determines which nations exemplify these traits. If NATO says you're worthy, does that mean anything to anyone else in society at large?
Two hours later, our group is running from platform to platform trying to find our train to Paris. We literally jumped on 10 seconds before the doors closed. We were obnoxious. I actually hated us. We had to stand crammed in with luggage and other travelers for the 1 and a half hour train ride. It wasn't as bad as I could have allowed it to be. I stopped being a baby and allowed myself to be an obnoxious American tourist. Being a snob is hard work, being a tourist-easy is as pie. And then...then...then...we arrived in Paris.