NATO Enlargement

By Simon, Jeffrey | Strategic Forum, May 1995 | Go to article overview

NATO Enlargement


Simon, Jeffrey, Strategic Forum


Background

The meeting focused on the following topics:

1. The guidelines and paths of NATO enlargement; how enlargement has occurred historically, how enlargement might occur through the EU/WEU path, and finally through the Partnership for Peace (PFP) program.

2. The implications of NATO enlargement from the perspectives of the WEU Associated Partners Poland, Romania, and Lithuania; and from the perspectives of Former Soviet Union (FSU) states Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.

3. Finally the various aspects of how the Alliance needs to change to accommodate new members; what political adjustments, military command alterations, and military infrastructure changes would be necessary.

Guidelines and Paths of NATO Enlargement

Previous NATO enlargements have derived from different circumstances and reasons. After the initial decision to include the United States and Canada with the UK, France, and Benelux, the United States insisted that NATO also include Norway, Portugal, Denmark, and Italy because they shared common values and Iceland for geographic reasons. The Korean War provided the catalyst for the entrance of Greece and Turkey (Lisbon Conference 1952). When the Federal Republic of Germany joined in 1955, Germany agreed to the following restrictions: to force levels of 495,000 troops and no weapons of mass destruction. When post-Franco Spain entered the Alliance in 1982 it refused to participate in the integrated military command, but sought membership to strengthen democracy and provide Spain with the opportunity to enter the European Economic Community (now European Union). In sum, previous enlargements have been driven by common values, geographic and defense requirements, and included restrictions on new members and special membership arrangements.

Future NATO enlargement is not likely to occur through the path of the European Union (EU) and its West European Union (WEU). The WEU has made efforts to project stability to Central and Eastern Europe. In 1992 it established a Consultation Forum and in 1994 a status of association was established with nine Associate Partner states: the Visegrad four, three Baltics, and Bulgaria and Romania. The prospects for WEU's enlargement are dependent on developments in other organizations, the EU and NATO. The EU has agreed that the next phase of enlargement should begin only after the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) in 1996 and that since all three organizations (EU, WEU, and NATO) must take into account the different requirements of each organization, that, in the long run, the European memberships of the three organizations should converge. In sum, the WEU has already drawn lines in Europe and will not precede NATO enlargement.

Future candidates for NATO enlargement are likely to be from among the 25 states participating in the Partnership for Peace (PFP) program established in January 1994. While we do not know precisely what the Alliance will approve as necessary guidelines for enlargement (presently being developed in NATO's draft study directed by the 1 December 1994 North Atlantic Council), it is likely that they will include: active participation in North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) and the Partnership program, the successful performance of democratic political institutions, a free market economy, and respect for human rights. It is also likely that effective democratic control of the military as well as some minimal degree of military capability and NATO interoperability will be necessary conditions.

NATO's challenge, though, will be how to define and determine what constitutes effective democratic control of the military recognizing that each state has its own history, culture, and unique set of institutions. The current state of civil-military relations among those Central European (Visegrad) states frequently referred to as the most likely to first join NATO were examined according to the following four elements:

1. …

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