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NATO After Enlargement: New Challenges, New Missions, New Forces

Edited by Dr. Stephen J. Blank.

September 1998

258 Pages

Brief Synopsis

In 1999 NATO will formally admit three new members and adopt a new strategic concept. In so doing, it will take giant strides towards effecting a revolutionary transformation of European security. On the one hand, it could be said that NATO enlargement closes the immediate post-Cold War period that began with the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989. But on the other hand, enlargement raises a host of serious new issues for the Alliance and for U.S. policymakers that they must begin to address now. Bearing this fact in mind, the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) organized a conference with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in January 1998 to explore the new challenges confronting the NATO Alliance. These essays are the product of that conference.


In April 1999, NATO members will celebrate in Washington the 50th anniversary of the Washington Treaty and the founding of NATO. At that time they will enroll three new members: Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, decide upon NATO's new strategic concept, and raise issues connected with the possibility of further enlargement. In the wake of the Paris and Madrid conferences of 1997 that consummated agreements with Russia and Ukraine on their relationships with NATO and resolved to admit the three aforementioned states as members, NATO is moving forward to reshape the European security agenda. But, as in other situations, we may ask “Quo Vadis NATO?” and even more sharply make the same inquiry of individual members and of Russia. In fact, it is quite clear that, despite the American claim that enlargement is merely projecting stability eastward, it actually constitutes a radical transformation of the European agenda and of both U.S. and European history. And, as such, NATO enlargement raises a host of issues for future consideration.

But nobody can say for sure where enlargement will lead, or, more importantly, how it will be enforced, though hopes for and prognostications of the ultimate point of arrival abound. Nor can we resolve with any certainty the myriad issues involved in extending NATO both in terms of its organizational scope and its future missions. That extension, particularly in terms of territory or geographical scope is immense in its implications, but the final outcome or resolution of all those issues necessarily remains unclear. That uncertainty is not surprising. It is commonly the case that major restructurings of international politics are undertaken by statesmen and politicians who have only a partial notion at best of where they hope go. As Napoleon would have said, “on s'engage et puis on voit,” (One commits himself and then sees where he is). Precisely because the process of NATO enlargement is itself such a transformation and raises probably more issues and questions than it answers, the Strategic Studies Institute undertook a conference in Washington on January 26, 1998, to begin the process of seeing where the United States and where NATO are going. The following chapters are the fruits of that conference, but obviously they can only deal with some of the issues. Questions like the Baltic littoral's future, the nature of peace operations in the future, or the emerging situation in Bosnia and, more recently, in Kossovo, are not specifically included. But many other fundamental issues have been addressed. Simon Serfaty addresses the larger issue of where European security institutions in general, i.e., not just NATO, but the European Union and its hoped-for Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) are going. Robert Dorff assesses trends in both American and European public opinion regarding issues raised by enlargement and possible future military contingencies. Stephen Blank probes the rival visions of America, Russia, and Europe concerning the future missions and roles of NATO and of these three sets of governments. Sherman Garnett and Rachel Lebenson analyze the complicated situation on Russia's Western frontier where Moldova, Belarus, and Ukraine all interact in a complex way with Russia and the members of NATO. Rachel Bronson and Glen Howard track the little-discussed but increasingly important strategic interaction of NATO and the United States with the Transcaucasian and Central Asia states. General Edward Atkeson (U.S. Army Retired) discusses issues of burdensharing among allies and the military implications of the Partnership for Peace program within the expanded NATO. And General Frederick Kroesen (U.S. Army Retired) raises the important question of how NATO actually should go about building a true military coalition.

All of these are fundamental issues that will be addressed, either by conscious design or by default, in the years to come. But it is essential to realize that their importance, along with that of other issues not covered here, represents a transformation but not a repudiation of NATO's and the allies' past histories. As Kosovo shows us, and other issues would do so as well, conflict, interstate rivalry, and states' efforts to maximize their influence in Europe have not disappeared from the agenda. Far from ending European political history, enlargement only opens a new chapter with elements of continuity existing besides elements of profound innovation. It will certainly be an interesting and probably exciting adventure to watch or participate in this new evolution. We organized the conference in January 1998 and present the following essays with the intent of contributing to the debate and to our audience's ability either to understand or take part in at least some of the major issues in Europe's future. We hope that the analyses and information contained here will be enlightening to laymen and experts alike, and increase the informed debate over some of the most critical security issues the United States will face in the near future.



1. Introduction
Stephen J. Blank

2. Public Opinion and NATO Enlargement
Robert H. Dorff

3. The Changing Face of NATO and the Need for Change in Responsibilities
Edward B. Atkeson

4. The Military Aspects of NATO Expansion
Frederick W. Kroesen

5. Security Challenges in Europe after NATO Enlargement
Simon Serfaty

6. The Middle Zone and Post-Enlargement Europe
Sherman W. Garnett and Rachel Lebenson

7. Beyond the Founding Act: The Next Stage of NATO-Russian Relations
Stephen J. Blank

8. NATO and the Caucasus: The Caspian Axis
Glen E. Howard

9. NATO's Expanding Presence in the Caucasus and Central Asia
Rachel Bronson

About the Authors

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