NATO and the Nuclear Revolution: A Crisis of Credibility, 1966-1967

NATO and the Nuclear Revolution: A Crisis of Credibility, 1966-1967

NATO and the Nuclear Revolution: A Crisis of Credibility, 1966-1967

NATO and the Nuclear Revolution: A Crisis of Credibility, 1966-1967

Synopsis

This book deals with the crucially imprtant NATO crises of 1966-67--a period when a number of issues which had been developing for some time within NATO came to a head. It concentrates on the intensive reorientation of NATO strategy from the departure of France from the integrated military command to the adoption of Flexible Response and the Hermel report on the Future Tasks of the Alliance. The author sets out the diplomacy of this period in a broader historical and theoretical context and provides four detailed, and related, case studies. The first case deals with problems of doctrine stemming from American determination to reduce NATO's dependence on what it believed to be incredible nuclear threats and the European resistance to any diminution of the US nuclear guarantee. The second case considers the attempt to ease European concerns about dependence on American nuclear policy. The third examines the programmatic consequences of the strategic shift. Finally, there is an analysis of the process by which the Harmel Report was set up to establish political guidance for the Alliance in the context of the French withdrawal and the move to detente.

Excerpt

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War have raised questions as to the future of the North Atlantic Alliance. When both the power and the threat of the potential aggressor declined, so did the military need to balance it with a Western counter-alliance. According to neo-realist theory, the residual threats of Russian and Ukrainian nuclear weapons, of irresponsible political figures, and of violent civil war would not justify the maintenance of nato in its present form. Whether on purpose or by force of circumstances, its cohesion would erode and its members would increasingly seek national, instead of multilateral, solutions for safeguarding their security. However, other scholars have emphasized the role of common values, goals, and procedures to keep alliances intact without invalidating neo-realist findings. Has nato over the years developed into a security institution binding together its members, strong enough to survive independent of the threat against which it was formed? What will the future hold for NATO? How did nato cope with crises in the past? What can we learn from the way it mastered its mid-1960s crisis of credibility?

This book deals with the structural impact the loss of the us nuclear monopoly had on the Atlantic Alliance and how the ensuing nato crisis that climaxed in 1966-7 was solved. the case studies furnish novel insights into the consensus-building and decision-making processes within nato. They also contribute an answer to the question what kept the Alliance together over forty years. If lessons may be drawn from history, the conclusion is that after the demise of an acute military threat nato continues to have a raison d'être and a mission: to ensure a close link between America and Europe, and to provide for a continued mooring of Germany in the Euro-Atlantic system. At the end of the East-West conflict the Alliance could again, as in the 1966-7 nato crisis, use its flexibility and adaptability to assume a new role as the guardian of an allEuropean stability.

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