"The Changing Face of NATO: Familiar or Unrecognizable Into the Next Century?"
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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Since defeating its Cold War enemy, NATO now faces new challenges posed by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the unification of Germany in 1990, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and their emerging ramifications. The big issue today for NATO is whether an alliance built around a defensive posture can respond adequately to these newly emerging challenges. In response to these challenges, NATO has embarked on a new policy of expansion of the Alliance. By expanding its membership east, NATO seeks to fulfill a much broader strategic objective the creation of a peaceful, undivided, and democratic Europe. The question this paper addresses is whether the policy of expansion is the appropriate vehicle to achieve that strategic objective. In order to answer this question, the paper begins with an historical summary of NATO and provides a description of the fundamental tasks the Alliance was created to perform. The study then explores current U.S. policy to determine whether that policy is clear, consistent, and adequately resourced. Finally, the paper reviews and evaluates some of the current thinking on NATO enlargement and concludes with the assessment that NATO expansion reflects sound strategic policy.
- Government and Political Science