To What Extent Is Nato A Thing

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To What Extent Is Nato A Thing Of The Past? Essay, Research Paper The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, or NATO was set up in 1946 and, until 1990, primarily concentrated on European defence against the Warsaw Pact countries. However, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO has lost its principle protagonist. So it must be asked, can there really be, as the US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright said, a new NATO for a new century . Indeed, she said, at the Brookings Institution, that since the end of the Cold War Alliance leaders [have been] confronted [with] a new set of questions. How would the Alliance hold together, now that the adversary that had brought it together was gone? If it remained united, what would it do? How should it change? How might the new NATO

relate to the new Europe? And what role would Russia play? 1. These are all valid questions when attempting to evaluate the extent to which NATO is a thing of the past. Nato s traditional role was that of containment of the Warsaw Pact countries and Western European security. It was Ernst Bevin, the British foreign secretary who came up with the idea of NATO (which has always principally been a military alliance), who said that NATO would be the answer to the Communist threat by organising and consolidating the ethical and spiritual forces of Western civilisation . If this is the case, since the collapse of Communism, many would argue that NATO is no longer necessary. It has achieved its purpose and its usefulness has been outlived. Indeed, Kenneth Waltz, a prominent

international relations scholar, said in 1990 that, NATO is a disappearing thing. It is a question of how long it is going to remain as a significant institution even though its name may linger on. 2. However since 1990, NATO has expanded in size to include Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, adapted to pursue peace-keeping roles in Central and Eastern Europe and, most recently, launched one of the largest aerial campaigns ever seen. Is this really the way such an international organisation would die a somewhat quiet death ?3 Since 1990, NATO has attempted to transform its Defence Posture through a new strategic concept which includes a number of measures, including the establishment of the North Atlantic Control Council (NACC), which has since been replaced by the

Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) and establishing the Partnership for Peace (PfP) initiative, all of which are based on a broad approach to security in which co-operation and dialogue with non-member countries would play a prominent part 4 The EAPC has expanded from 20 members in 1991 to 40 members in 1997 by opening a dialogue with the Central and Eastern European countries, as well as the newly emerging European states of the old Soviet Union. New structures and procedures designed to advance the internal adaptation of NATO have also been introduced. The European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI) has been developed within NATO as part of this process, as has the implementation of a concept known as Combined Joint Task Forces (CJTFs), are also being pursued. The CJTF

concept is designed to ensure that the composition and multinational character of military forces can be varied to suit whatever kind of crisis management or peacekeeping task needs to be undertaken. In other ways, too, the Alliance has undergone fundamental change, developing its relations with other organisations and reforming its military command structure. NATO states that preparations for defence against a full-scale military attack are no longer the focus of Alliance planning and that risks to NATO are more likely to arise from instability, including ethnic rivalry or territorial disputes . This means that the Alliance can move away from forward defence and flexible response strategies and concentrate on maintaining adequate but much reduced defence capability, a