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The love of democracy and their history will bind the alliance

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The love of democracy and their history will bind the alliance.

Couloumbis et al 9 (Theodire- vice president of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, Bil Ahlstrom- an executive at a US multinational, and Gary Weaver- a professor at American University’s School of Internation Service, NATO: Out of Area, Not Out of Business,

Gradually after the 2004 rupture, and accelerating after the election of Barack Obama, the two pillars of Atlantic democracy are beginning again to coalesce on shared views. The NATO mission in Afghanistan and its planned European augmentation seems to be legitimizing "out of area" activities based on collective security instead of collective defense. For decades the US has complained about "burdensharing," feeling that the Europeans were not contributing enough manpower, equipment and defense expenditures proportionate to their financial capabilities. For their part, the European members of the alliance have consistently called for greater consultation and a genuine share in alliance decision-making. In this light, French President Nicolas Sarkozy's decision to rejoin the NATO military structures is doubly significant. Sixty years on, the North Atlantic Alliance is far from the pungent declaration of its first secretary general, Lord Ismay, that NATO's goal was to "keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down." Much is made onboth sides of the Atlantic of the shared history and values that bind the Western democracies together.

NATO isn’t on the brink of collapse. It has an inexhaustible capacity for recovery.

Sperling and Webber 09 (James Sperling-Professor of Political Science at the University of Akron, Mark Webber-Professor of International Politics and Head of the Department of Politics, International Relations and European Studies Loughborough University, International Affairs, Volume 85, NATO: from Kosovo to Kabul,

This view of a NATO apparently perched permanently at the edge of collapse is problematic on at least three counts. First, the narrative of crisis is clouded by imprecision—at what point a crisis becomes terminal and precisely what NATO’s dissolution would look like are rarely, if ever, specified. Second, it falls foul of what might be termed the ‘Peter cried “Wolf!”’ syndrome. NATO has faced imminent collapse so often that it is difficult to take seriously the latest judgement that its days are numbered. Third, and as the list above suggests, NATO seems to possess an inexhaustible capacity for recovery, a characteristic NATO pessimists largely ignore. Of course, mere survival is not enough; what matters equally is how far and how well survival reflects a more thoroughgoing adaptation to new circumstances. NATO’s efforts to do just that, however imperfect or ill-judged, is the real story of the last two decades. The epithets of decline, dissolution and even death are, in this connection, misleading; while they allude to the very real problems NATO has encountered, they usually refer to a single operational experience or historical moment. Longer-term processes of change are, consequently, ignored. In fact, from 1989 to 2009 the alliance has engaged in a ceaseless process of transformation—of structure and organization, of operations, partnerships and membership. Located squarely in the middle of all this activity is OAF. That operation marked a decisive climax to a debate which had simmered throughout the 1990s over NATO’s relevance and purpose. The debate was not resolved in 1999, but OAF and the simultaneous adoption of the NATO Strategic Concept at the 50th anniversary summit in Washington DC marked the most significant shift in NATO’s history towards non-Article 5 missions. It also made manifest deep-seated problems of cohesion, leadership and capabilities. Thus OAF was both the occasion for presentiments of catastrophe yet also a driver of change. Its operational and political implications run all the way to the mission in Afghanistan. Before OAF, NATO had already experienced a decade of turmoil. During the Cold War the alliance had come to function as more than simply a collective defence organization but the disappearance of the Warsaw Pact along with the Soviet Union undoubtedly robbed it of its major rationale. An alliance bound to traditional defence tasks, it was claimed, faced the real ‘danger of dissolution’ if it could not reorient itself to the emerging and fluid circumstances of the post-Cold War World.1 And this was not only the view of leader writers and analysts. NATO’s demise (or at least marginalization) was the leading premise of plans hatched in the West German Foreign Ministry to revamp the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and of French advocacy of the Western European Union (WEU) and, more ambitiously, a European confederation.2 Yet neither these projects nor, indeed, the nascent European Union offered any greater prospect of promoting European stability than did NATO. As the high hopes of 1989 gave way by the early 1990s to the problems of disintegrating communist federations, Balkan instability and uncertainties in Mitteleuropa, NATO came to occupy centre stage in the so-called ‘architectural’ debate on European security institutions. Franco-German preferences notwithstanding, the alliance still offered the most reliable route for American engagement in Europe (a state of affairs desired both by the George H. W. Bush administration and the majority of allies), was the most effective body for joint military operations and had proved an effective forum for political consultations, both among allies and with former adversaries (NATO was the main interlocutor of the Warsaw Pact in the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty and had established the North Atlantic Cooperation Council in 1991 to promote dialogue with former communist states). Guided by the US, NATO underwent a process of adaptation.

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