The Long Entanglement: NATO's First Fifty Years

By Lawrence S. Kaplan | Go to book overview

8
NATO and the Nixon Doctrine: Ten Years Later

"NATO and the Nixon Doctrine: Ten Years Later," Orbis 24 (Spring, 1980): 149-66, was drawn from a paper on "NATO: the Second Generation," delivered at a conference on "NATO after Thirty Years," organized by the newly established Center for NATO Studies at Kent State University in April 1980.

"Doctrines" in American diplomatic history have never been satisfactorily defined. In their broadest form, doctrines are, says William Safire, "systematic statements on foreign policy" that provide some "guiding principles" for the administrations that formulate them. Safire notes, moreover, that doctrines are "policies that have hardened with acceptance," and he observes that "when the word is applied in retrospect it usually sticks; when it is announced as a policy, it usually fades."1 The Monroe Doctrine is the pre-eminent exemplar of the nineteenth-century doctrine. In the twentieth century, doctrine proliferation has taken place as three successive presidents have had doctrines named after them--Truman, Eisenhower, and Nixon. Whether they all will remain fixed in the pattern of Monroe's doctrine is still moot; but from the vantage point of NATO, both the Truman Doctrine and the Nixon Doctrine have had vital roles in the evolution of American policy toward the Atlantic Alliance.

The Truman Doctrine originated in a presidential message of 12 March 1947, requesting Congress to help Greece and Turkey protect themselves

-149-

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