NATO Recasts Its Role in Europe FOREIGN MINISTERS' MEETING

By Francine S. Kiefer, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, June 1, 1991 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

NATO Recasts Its Role in Europe FOREIGN MINISTERS' MEETING


Francine S. Kiefer, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


AFTER a year in the making, plans to adapt NATO to the post-cold-war era are nearly complete.

Although key characteristics of the Western alliance will remain intact, a strategy review calls for sweeping change within the 16-member organization.

On the political side, NATO wants to strengthen ties with the former members of the Warsaw Pact, though it declines to offer outright membership. (See story below.) On the military side, it is abandoning its single-minded dedication of forces to the Soviet threat in favor of force reductions of 50 percent and a restructuring of the remaining troops so that they are more flexible.

These and other changes, says NATO Secretary-General Manfred Worner, comprise "the most radical transformation of our alliance in its history."

Mr. Worner was speaking at a two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers here in Copenhagen last week. The ministerial meeting focused on the political dimension of the security review; a meeting of NATO defense ministers two weeks ago tackled the military aspect. The alliance has only one broad area left to rethink - its command structure - before NATO heads of state meet to approve the strategy review in Rome on Nov. 7 and 8.

The mandate to redefine the role of the Atlantic alliance came at the NATO summit in London last July. Since then, the review process has been evolving in "brainstorming sessions" among the 16 ambassadors to NATO. The ambassadors can be accompanied by up to a half-dozen staff members, but these sessions allow only a notetaker. The result is a "much freer atmosphere than usual," says a NATO diplomat and the process "in part has been people just working out in their own minds" the implication of the sea-change in East-West relations.

NATO's opening up to the former Warsaw Pact members is one result of the strategy review and is the key feature of the alliance's new political face.

Several former members of the Warsaw Pact want to join NATO, but the alliance has refused, one reason being that this would antagonize the Soviet Union. This strongly worded statement, however, "is as close as we can come" to granting outright membership, says the NATO diplomat.

The foreign ministers in Copenhagen cautioned repeatedly that the statement refers only to NATO's political commitment to supporting democracy in Eastern Europe, including the Soviet Union. It does not extend a military guarantee to the region, they emphasized. Nor, said United States Secretary of State James Baker III, is NATO pointing to any one source - such as Moscow - when it talks about the threat of "coercion or intimidation."

It was privately admitted, however, that the wording is ambiguous.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

NATO Recasts Its Role in Europe FOREIGN MINISTERS' MEETING
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?