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After the fall of communism in the Soviet Union, NATO and defense spending got into a deep crisis. The Afghan War and especially the expansion into Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein, gave the United States and the United Kingdom enough leverage to rebuild NATO into their image. We have suffered ever since ...

NATO in Crisis?

The first historic trend of note concerns NATO's exposure to internal crisis. NATO has, in fact, been held to be in decline almost since its inception. During the long years of antagonism with the Soviet Union the alliance experienced a succession of deeply controversial issues: the 1956 Suez Crisis, French withdrawal from NATO's integrated military structures 10 years later and ongoing problems of nuclear strategy stretching from `flexible response' in the 1960s to the deployment of Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) in the 1980s. Each of these episodes was met with scholarly and journalistic accounts of a NATO that was at best divided and, at worst, on the brink of dissolution. On each occasion, however, it survived (Thies 2007).

The most straightforward reason for its longevity was the cohesion provided by the common task of facing off Soviet communism. With the end of the cold war, NATO's crises thus acquired a new quality. As rapprochement with the Soviet Union gathered pace from the late 1980s there was a widespread expectation that NATO would disappear. West German Foreign Minister Hans‐Dietrich Genscher, for example, expressed the hope in a speech of March 1990 that eventually both NATO and the Warsaw Pact would be superseded by a pan‐European security organisation modelled on the Conference for Security and Co‐operation in Europe. French President François Mitterrand similarly put forward the idea of a European Confederation, alluding to a future Europe without NATO. These expectations, however, went unfulfilled. The so‐called `architecture' debate of the early 1990s witnessed a successful championing of NATO on the part of the UK and the US and a reassertion of the alliance against a French preference for a European defence structure centred on the Western European Union (WEU) (Schake 1998).

CENTO - the first line of defense against communism and the key role played by Turkey and ICBM missile defence.

The European Phased Adaptive Approach at a Glance

Related reading ...

NATO in Afghanistan: A Test of the Transatlantic Alliance
Battle Lines Are Drawn in the EU to Fight Islam

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu May 16th, 2019 at 08:21:19 PM EST
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