NATO Divided, NATO United: The Evolution of an Alliance

NATO Divided, NATO United: The Evolution of an Alliance

NATO Divided, NATO United: The Evolution of an Alliance

NATO Divided, NATO United: The Evolution of an Alliance

Excerpt

NATO's (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) war against terrorism that had begun on 11 September 2001 inspired a brief spirit of unity in the alliance. Invoking Article 5 was a fitting response to the assault against the United States. But the spirit did not last long. Within a few weeks the old fissures within the alliance reemerged, threatening once again to dissolve an entity that had survived over half a century. In the first two generations of NATO's existence, the Cold War with the Soviet Union had been the major purpose of its existence. But since the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and of the Russian empire itself, NATO has struggled to seek new raisons d'etre, and has succeeded to some degree in finding them in crisis management in Europe and in areas beyond the boundaries of the alliance. The absence of a traditional enemy to serve as a centripetal force, along with the recognition of the United States as the lone superpower, has placed a focus on internal troubles of the alliance that had been obscured in the past by the presence of a common enemy in Soviet-led Communism.

This book is a history of NATO that concentrates on the differences within the alliance, particularly between the United States and its European partners. Most studies of NATO have centered on the East-West conflict, on how NATO coped with and ultimately triumphed over its Communist adversary. Too little attention has been paid to West-West conflicts that arguably have been more frequent and often more bitter if not more dangerous than the struggle with the Soviet Union. Differences among the allies began with the formation of the alliance itself. Some of them were resolved over time; others persisted and remain in place more than 50 years later. Many of them related to [out-of-area] issues in which the Soviet Union was not involved or only peripherally concerned.

At the heart of the differences within NATO was the transatlantic gulf between the United States and its European partners created by the disparity in their . . .

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