As we reach its 60th anniversary, NATO – a security alliance of 28 countries from North America and Europe – remains the principal security instrument of the transatlantic community and the expression of its common democratic values. However, the NATO today is no longer that of 1949.
After the collapse of Communism and the Soviet Union, NATO had to reinvent itself politically for the initial challenges of the post-Cold War era. In the space of a decade NATO successfully transformed itself from a North American-Western European Alliance focused exclusively on territorial defence into a pan-European institution with new members stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea.
NATO’s missions have changed and its structures have been reformed accordingly. It has had to adapt to the changing world and changing threats such as terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, transnational trafficking, piracy, cyber attacks and climate change.
Sixty years after its foundation NATO has not become rusty or outdated. On the contrary, in the new security environment its role has increased. NATO remains the pre-eminent institutional framework for the USA, Canada and Europe – not just to consult together, but also to act together. NATO’s key stabilising role in the Balkans and, more recently, in Afghanistan; its role in fighting terrorism; and the continuing interest on the part of several nations in joining NATO, all demonstrate that the Alliance is very much in demand.
"The Post-Cold War Enlargement and the Alliance’s Future" reflects upon NATO’s achievements and setbacks at the time that explores the challenges that lie ahead in the future of the most successful military Alliance of the modern Euro-Atlantic history and beyond.
This book is a must-have for those interested in international relations, global security and defence issues.
This volume is an outgrowth of the international conference which took place at Brdo near Kranj in Slovenia on February 26–27, 2009. Entitled “Young at 60”, it was devoted to NATO's round anniversary. The conference was prepared and carried out by the Euro-Atlantic Council of Slovenia, with the support of the Slovenian government and, as a NATO “flagship event”, also by the Public Diplomacy Division of NATO. Most texts in this volume were based on the conference papers which were subsequently updated and edited. Two official opening speeches by Martin Erdmann, NATO Assistant Secretary General, and Ljubica Jelušič, Slovenian Defence Minister, follow this preface.
Since its inception in the summer of 1948 and during the six decades of its legal existence, the North Atlantic alliance has been expanding in several dimensions: in the number of member states, in the scope and geographic reach of its activities, in its capabilities and organizational complexity both on the civilian political and the military side, in the width of its partnership relations with non-members, in the intensity of co-operation with other international organizations (OUN, OSCE, EU, African Union etc.). The concept of enlargement, however, has mostly been used in the literature narrowly to describe (a) the long-term process of expanding the Alliance's membership and (b) individual steps, stages or rounds in this direction. Most co-authors of this volume use the term in the latter sense referring to several phases in NATO's Eastern enlargement, starting with the absorption of Eastern Germany in 1989–90 and ending with the admission of Croatia and Albania in April 2009.
The Eastward expansion of NATO came about unexpectedly. It followed and was closely related to another development unforeseen by most participants and expert observers – the breakdown of Eastern European communist regimes, the end of Soviet/Russian domination in Eastern Europe, the dissolution of its most visible expression – the Warsaw Treaty Organization and the implosion and breakup of the Soviet Union. A fundamental difference between the Eastern military bloc and NATO was reflected in the facts that two Warsaw Pact members were in the past badly aggressed by their alliance “protector” (1956, 1968) and that in 1990–91 several smaller members demanded the disbandment of the pact and achieved it against the “protector's” resistance. On the other hand, the Western alliance since its inception has not experienced anything comparable and not only survived the “Cold War” power contest, but won it politically without a single shot fired. The next surprise to the members of the Western Alliance was the pleas by Eastern European post-communist regimes for admission into NATO. The Alliance's initial reaction was rather cool. In 1994 NATO attempted to divert the rush into a soft security association called the “Partnership for Peace”. When the Poles refused to take it as a substitute to full-fledged membership, NATO has chosen a delaying tactic. In 1995 for the first time in NATO's institutional history the explicit conditions for admission, called “expectations” were developed. A corresponding elaborate system of qualifying tests especially designed for the Eastern European post-communist states was subsequently upgraded by individually tailored pre-membership preparation programs.
The chapters grouped in the sections II and III present various aspects of the new members' experiences on the way to NATO. In spite of numerous similarities, these experiences have differed very considerably in a number of respects. These included the mixes of motivation, the degree of internal consensus among major national political parties, the level of public opinion support, the sharpness of Russian opposition etc. The next section deals with five states officially aspiring for membership, and also addresses the positions of several other post-communist states which have participated in the “Partnership for Peace”, but the potential membership in the Alliance of which remains a controversial matter. Two experts from Denmark and the Russian Federation present their country's attitude towards NATO's Eastward expansion. Several subsequent contributions analyze the general characteristics and the consequences of this important international development, which so far brought into the Alliance thirteen former Eastern European countries.
During NATO's entire institutional history its policy of enlargement has undergone considerable evolution, although the legal provisions contained in Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty remained unchanged. The geostrategic gains (although still important) ceased to be the overwhelming consideration, while liberal democratic congruence and several other considerations gained in salience. This evolution started surfacing already at the admission of Spain in 1982 and became fully visible and explicit after the end of the “Cold War”. Buttressed in most cases by the expansion of the European Union, the NATO enlargement process has promoted the democratic transition in Southern Europe and strengthened young democracies in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe. The Alliance has contributed significantly to the overcoming ideological antagonisms, notably the sharp “East-West” divide. NATO has thus advanced the cause of united, free and democratic Europe. The former “Iron Curtain” had expressed, however, not only the ideological confrontation between liberalism and communism, but also and even more profoundly the power struggle between the West led by the USA and the Russian-dominated USSR. This latter antagonism could not disappear with the fall of communism in Russia, but only took a different, much milder form as a new mixture of cooperation and conflict between the expanded NATO and the Russian Federation. This relationship will largely determine the likelihood and the extent of NATO's further expansion into Russia's “near abroad”, more specifically into Ukraine and Georgia.
The final group of texts dwells on the prospects for NATO's further expansion into the Western Balkans and the post-Soviet space, on the Alliance's current dilemmas, problems and challenges as well as on NATO's future in the XXI century.
This chapter analyzes the circumstances of NATO's first eastward enlargement: the inclusion of East Germany in the Alliance as part of a unified Germany. The opening of the Berlin wall on 9 November 1989 had elevated German reunification from a mere theoretical possibility to the single most important topic on the agenda of international politics. The key question then was whether a unified Germany should be a member of NATO, neutral or a member of both NATO and the Warsaw Pact. In the end, even the Soviet leadership had to acknowledge that unified Germany's NATO membership was the only feasible option.
The author analyses changes in the international system after the end of the “Cold War” which allowed for the 1999 NATO enlargement; the changing Czech attitudes towards NATO; controversies related to NATO-led out-of-area operations, and to the anti-ballistic missile system. He concludes that the Czechs' “devoted Atlanticism” is today shakier than used to be in the 1990s.
This chapter shows how the initial Western perception of the Baltic states as falling within the Russian sphere of legitimate interests and therefore outside the area of potential NATO enlargement, changed in response to an US-led evolution of NATO from a defensive alliance to the framework of a democratic security community.
After the Warsaw Pact was dissolved in 1991, Poland found itself in a unique security situation, outside any multilateral alliance and with no bilateral security treaty with any country. Moreover, Poland found itself in a new geopolitical situation having lost three neighbors Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and German Democratic Republic) and acquired seven new ones. Joining NATO was the right strategic decision to which there have been no good alternatives. Poland supports NATO's transformation and its new missions, but at the same time is interested in maintaining the Alliance's capability to protect the members against threats, including military ones that may occur and destabilise the region.
The first round of NATO enlargement with the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland ushered a new era in global security. This chapter reviews the benefits the new members as well as NATO enjoyed as a result. The author discusses the issues which will shape NATO's future.
Slovakia's road to NATO was complicated. As successor state to former Czechoslovakia, Slovakia had to grapple simultaneously with three tasks: post-communist transformation, finding another security anchor and building new statehood. The author analyzes several issues, notably, the remaining obstacles which prior to 2002 blocked Slovakia's progress towards NATO membership; overcoming security deficits; obtaining the support of public opinion; adopting new security documents and carrying out military reforms. Although the final result was a success, several issues have remained open (transatlanticism, participation in NATO-led operations and continuation of military reforms).
Slovenia differs in several respects from all other countries which have joined the Alliance since the end of the “Cold War”. From 1992 onwards, all Slovenian governments have strongly advocated NATO membership, primarily on long-term security grounds. The issue, however, cut across the Slovenian polity, initially with considerable opposition on both sides of the spectrum. Slovenia was the second candidate country to submit the issue to a referendum prior to the admission. The vote showed a two-third support for NATO membership. Since then it has become widely accepted by the public. Slovenia's participation in the functioning of the Alliance has become regularized both in the civilian political and the military spheres. Slovenian experience since the admission has brought the country the most important lessons in realistic defence planning, solidarity among members and assistance to aspirants.
The Scandinavian countries have been supporting the enlargement of NATO, particularly in the Baltic area where the security situation changed dramatically. Russia lost her former strategic dominance in the area. Unfortunatelythe confidence between NATORussia has been severely weakened and needs to be restored.
In less than a decade Romania has succeeded to accomplish the transition from a centralized command economy, communist dictatorship and an isolated country to a free market economy, functional democracy and an open society. In the next decade the country has gained both NATO and EU membership. Romania has not had any problem in terms of public opinion support due to strong pro-American and pro-Western feelings among the population.
Bulgaria's road to NATO was very uneven. Its membership is important for the country's prosperity and stability. As NATO member Bulgaria strives to facilitate the integration of the rest of the Western Balkans in the Alliance. Modernizing Bulgarian armed forces contributing to NATO's out-of-area missions, especially in Afghanistan, are priority national tasks.
Croatia, which has gained its independence less then two decades ago, became a NATO member in April 2009. Its path to the Alliance was not easy. After the war, the liberation of its entire territory and the post-socialist reforms, the Alliance recognized Croatia as a modern, democratic and stable state, willing to help other countries in joining the Euro-Atlantic integration.
After the democratic changes in Albania the Albanians have strongly supported their country's membership in NATO and EU as a symbolic return to their Western identity. The NATO air campaign in Bosnia-Herzegovina later in Kosovo reinforced the appreciation of NATO as protector of human rights and as liberator of a part of Albanian nation.
Since the early 1990's the political elite and the public have shared the opinion that joining the European integration and NATO is both a priority and an instrument for achieving Macedonia's national political goals. This paper gives a short overview of Macedonia's experience in transformation, democratization and decentralization. The decision at the NATO summit in Bucharest not to invite Macedonia generated dilemmas and controversies on whether NATO membership is more important than the country's identity expressed in its name.
This chapter focuses on some aspects of Serbia's national security strategy, on the relations between Serbia and NATO and on geostrategic options available to Serbia ranging from neutrality to joining NATO sometime in the future.
Although the same political leadership has been in power in Montenegro for 18 years, its attitude towards NATO has changed considerably. Among Montenegro's major challenges related to Montenegro's membership in NATO are low public opinion support, insufficient capacities of the state administration, the slowness of necessary reforms and of their poor implementation in real life.
The relationship between Bosnia and Herzegovina and NATO has been a multidimensional and complex process. NATO has strongly supported the process of reconciliation among the recently warring factions. The decision of state institutions and consensus among the ethno-political structures to seek membership in NATO and EU paved the way to mutual understanding and to resolving numerous unsettled issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its immediate neighborhood.
The author revisits the Western Balkan region, which has remained a front line areas of engagement for NATO during the past decade or so and tries to answer over the short to medium term a few simple questions: have developments since 2006 benefited the Alliance, have they changed the political and security map of this problematic region and what remains to be done?
Since independence Ukraine has been evenly split between those who desire to be part of the Euro-Atlantic community and those who gravitate toward Eurasia. During the 1990s Ukraine was able to have it both ways. Since the Orange Revolution, Ukraine has made significant progress developing a Euro-Atlantic-style democratic political system, a vibrant open media and civil society and civilian oversight of military which has built strong ties with NATO. Despite this progress Ukrainian opinion remains sharply divided on integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. Profound political instability makes Ukraine a less appealing candidate for membership in either the European Union or NATO. Under these circumstances, the challenge is to provide Ukraine sufficient time to consolidate democratic governance and develop domestic consensus.
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