The NATO Enlargement Debate, 1990-1997: The Blessings of Liberty

The NATO Enlargement Debate, 1990-1997: The Blessings of Liberty

The NATO Enlargement Debate, 1990-1997: The Blessings of Liberty

The NATO Enlargement Debate, 1990-1997: The Blessings of Liberty

Synopsis

Countless editorials have addressed the "if," "how," "why," "when," and "who" dimensions of NATO enlargement. These issues will continue to generate debate despite the Madrid summit decisions and will invariably influence legislators in discharging their historic responsibility to provide advice and consent to ratification of the protocols of accession before April 1999. Congressman Solomon's volume will help place these issues in perspective, answer the skeptics of enlargement, and provide the missing historical context for the profound geopolitical challenge of European security on the cusp of the 21st century.

Excerpt

The Parties may, by unanimous agreement, invite any other European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area to accede to this Treaty. Article 10, North Atlantic Treaty April 4, 1949

On July 8-9, 1997, NATO broke silence on a vital issue of postCold War European security. At the NATO summit in Madrid, which I attended as a member of a congressional delegation, alliance leaders decided that the time had come to offer to the new democracies of Central Europe the very same democratic and integrative security and political benefits enjoyed by the 16 relatively prosperous, and now threat-free, NATO allies. The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland were invited to begin accession negotiations with the aim of alliance membership by 1999, the fiftieth anniversary of NATO. The alliance door would remain open to other prospective members, while NATO would continue to strive to forge cooperative security relationships with all European and Eurasian states, including a strategic partnership with Russia to address common security challenges and draw Russia closer to the West. (See appendix A, this volume.)

This event marked a watershed in post-Cold War history. Since the early 1990s, many of the former Warsaw Pact member states, emerging from more than four decades as satellites of a totalitarian USSR, viewed membership in NATO as well as the . . .

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