Great Decisions 2024 | Topic 5
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has come under increased scrutiny, not because NATO troops are involved in the conflict, but because of its role in relations between Russia and its neighbors. Will expanding membership in NATO protect countries, or will it further provoke Russia?
In A World Transformed, Mr. Bush and his national security advisor, Brent Scowcroft, provide a fascinating account of a president and an administration faced with unprecedented obstacles and unrivaled opportunities as they forged a foreign policy at the end of the Cold War. Solidarity comes to power in Poland. East and West Germans dance on the wall that separated them for half a century. And on Christmas Day, 1991, the hammer-and-sickle flag descends from the Kremlin for the last time.
From Robert Kagan, a leading scholar of American foreign policy, comes an insightful analysis of the state of European and American foreign relations. At a time when relations between the United States and Europe are at their lowest ebb since World War II, this brief but cogent book is essential reading. Kagan forces both sides to see themselves through the eyes of the other. Europe, he argues, has moved beyond power into a self-contained world of laws, rules, and negotiation, while America operates in a “Hobbesian” world where rules and laws are unreliable and military force is often necessary.
This compelling history brings to life the watershed year of 1948, when the United States reversed its long-standing position of political and military isolation from Europe and agreed to an "entangling alliance" with ten European nations. Not since 1800, when the United States ended its alliance with France, had the nation made such a commitment. The historic North Atlantic Treaty was signed on April 4, 1949, but the often-contentious negotiations stretched throughout the preceding year.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union's Common Security and Defense Policy: Intersecting Trajectories
NATO used to be the world’s most formidable military alliance. But its original reason for existence, the Soviet Union, disintegrated years ago, and its dreams of being a world cop are withering in the mountains of Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the European Union’s (EU) Common Security & Defense Policy (CSDP) has deployed 27 successful military/civil missions from Africa to Asia in the last 10 years. Through CSDP, Europeans are increasingly taking charge of managing their own foreign and security policy. NATO is no longer the sole and preeminent Euro-Atlantic security actor. But watching NATO fade into irrelevance would be a mistake. It is a tried and true platform to harness the resources of North America and Europe. NATO’s future usefulness depends on its willingness to accept its reduced role, to let the EU handle the day-to-day security needs of Europe, and to craft a relationship with CSDP that will allow North America and Europe to act militarily together, should that ever become necessary.
The Greatest Threats to Alliance Unity Will Come After the Madrid Summit
Great Decisions 2024 cover image.