The usa and European Security

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Turning point event in NATO’s post-cold war history marked end of search for alternative security arrangement

  • Expansion itself, coupled with peacekeeping duties in Balkans, became NATO’s raison d’être

    • Political price: NATO’s expansion, its continued emphasis on territorial defense, & persisting dominant role of US in NATO damaged US relations with Russia

    • Financial costs of expansion (upgrading weapons in new member countries & buying communications systems compatible with NATO) will be borne by new & longtime members

    • All 3 new NATO members have increased their defense spending to cover costs associated with membership

    • But US taxpayers will also pay their share

    • NATO continues to evolve, with US advocating new missions & more assertive approach to military operations

    • New US proposals raised in early 1999 would authorize operations outside territory of alliance members

    • US officials also argue that NATO should no longer be obligated to secure UN Security Council approval for its military operations

    • Far from settling question of NATO’s roles & responsibilities, proposals raise a number of questions regarding stability of European security

    • As NATO’s scope widens, expansion to Central & Eastern Europe appears to be slowing. Even though 3 members joined NATO 1999, original expansion plans revised & delayed

    • Both German chancellor & Canadian foreign minister have suggested further expansion be delayed by a number of years

    • US proposals for new missions for NATO:

      • Maintain ability to defend member states

      • Counter threat of weapons of mass destruction

      • Halt spread of ethnic & regional violence both inside & beyond NATO’s borders

      • Retaining traditional duty to protect its members’ territory while adopting collective security tasks such as conflict prevention & peacekeeping

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