Avoiding the Rush: Reasons to go Slow on NATO Expansion
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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This paper proposes that NATO expansion into East Central Europe is ill advised at this pivotal period in Russian history and should be delayed until two events occur. First, the issue should be debated in the American public arena. Second, the Russian democratic government must stabilize. Recognizing the centrality of the international nuclear threshold and associated arms control agreements, this paper argues the West should present no impediments of any sort to struggling Russian democrats and their fledgling pro-western reforms. As relevant background, it first provides a cursory review of NATO history and an analysis of the chain of events leading to todays expansion issue. It also reviews pertinent portions of the 1997 National Security Strategy and highlights three domestic and international concerns, outside of Russias interests, that likewise argue for delaying NATO expansion. This paper offers the European Union as a more appropriate vehicle for long term political and economic stability in East Central Europe. It concludes that admitting Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic to NATO is likely to foster mutual insecurity while feeding defensive nationalism and opposition to arms control exactly the opposite of the enhanced European security framework that both NATO and Russia seek. Should NATO expansion hasten Russias estrangement and a commensurate redivision of Europe, five decades of incredible geopolitical success would be crowned with abject failure. NATO would deserve a better eulogy. Before the United States Senate agrees to NATO expansion by ratification of an amendment to the Washington Treaty, the issue must be adequately debated in the public arena.
- Government and Political Science