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