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NATO's Relevance to United States Enduring National Interests Time to Remove the Training Wheels but Continue to Hold the Handle Bars

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Technical Report

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National Defense University Joint Advanced Warfighting School Norfolk United States

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From its inception in December 1950, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO has been the bedrock of European security and a strategic foundation of the United States foreign policy to the European region. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War many were quick to argue that NATO had become obsolete. Additionally, these same pundits contend that NATO is out of date with current U.S. foreign policy. However, this thesis asserts that NATO continues to afford the United States the ability to protect its vital national interests and project influence globally. A strong role in NATO provides the United States a conduit and connective structure to some of the worlds most stable governments, serves as the main policy mechanism by which it can influence Europe, and provides a venue for legitimacy and freedom of global action. The United States is no longer bound to provide security to NATO members by forward basing hundreds of thousands of military forces along the Eastern European front.

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