The Quest for Peace: NATO Enlargement and the Geo-Political Implications of Expanding the Treaty Throughout Eastern Europe
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO was formed sixty years ago as a defensive alliance, in response to the threat the Soviet Union and, eventually, the Warsaw Pact in general posed to Western Europe. Today, neither of those entities exists, yet NATO stands supreme as the institution most able to guarantee the security of its members, and the stability of the greater Euro-Atlantic area as a whole. With looming demographic challenges in Europe and a resurgent Russia asserting itself once more, many European nations are seeking NATO membership as a means of enhancing their security. For the United States US, these developments present two primary policy options disengage from the alliance and allow European institutions to cope with European issues or maintain active US involvement and enlarge the alliance. In exploring these policy options, the following areas were examined the major multinational European organizations NATO, EU, OSCE and how the Balkan Wars of the 1990s defined their contemporary roles the demographic changes projected in Europe through 2050 and their potential destabilizing effects and the nationalist policies of Vladimir Putin and the resurgence of an aggressive Russia. Tying these areas together with the history of NATO, its philosophical core, and the stabilizing effect it provides to both members and those seeking membership, an argument is presented that ultimately advocates enlarging the NATO alliance.
- Government and Political Science