The Next Round of NATO Enlargement (Strategic Forum, No. 176, October 2000)
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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The next administration will need to devise a policy on NATO enlargement in preparation for the 2002 summit meeting soon after it takes office. Political, geostrategic, and technical factors will frame policy options on enlargement though the shifting importance of these factors will likely influence any decision on enlarging the Alliance. The political argument for maintaining enlargement momentum in order to demonstrate Alliance credibility and the geostrategic argument for a NATO land bridge gradually have become less persuasive as a result of the Kosovo conflict. Four policy options exist, each with a different impact on the objective of enhancing stability and security beyond NATO and building a Europe whole and undivided. If NATO were to extend no invitation, the credibility of Article 10 open door policy would be called into question. If it were to invite one or more countries for accession negotiations, momentum would be maintained but perhaps not sufficient development demonstrated to the excluded Membership Action Plan countries. And, if it invited all nine aspirants to join, it might temporarily remove unpleasant political pressure but incur substantial political and geostrategic costs in the future. Barring political or geostrategic upheavals, the United States should support a 2002 Summit announcement that NATO will invite one or more new members at a future summit perhaps in 2005 or 2006.
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