NATO: Anachronism or Answer

An Argument for Collective Defense

Master's Thesis

USMC Command And Staff College

Major C. A. McNerney

United States Army

Conference Group 5



The world was shocked when the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989. Overwhelming changes in world order followed this monumental event -- the changes continue today. Never before has the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) faced such complex challenges, some of which pose a threat to the very existence of the organization. In the former Yugoslavia, cultural and religious strife has repeatedly redrawn the Muslim/Croatian/Serbian boundaries at a cost of thousands of lives. This horror is constantly portrayed vividly in the news. For the most part, however, the challenges to NATO are much more subtle than the real threat of nuclear holocaust in the days of the Soviet Union. These challenges have insinuated themselves into the fabric of the NATO alliance in the form of strong renewals of national agendas on both sides of the Atlantic, much older than the origins of the treaty itself. NATO walks a delicate wire in a balancing act between Russia and the former Warsaw Pact members. On one hand, NATO needs to reassure the former Soviet bloc countries of its sincerity (especially on the membership question). On the other hand, NATO and the Alliance members want to show Russia that expanded membership is not threatening. This is made even more difficult as support for the likes of ultra-nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky increases.1

There is a wealth of information available on the subject of NATO (ranging from opinion to fact), as evidenced by the findings of the research phase of this project. Equally significant to this effort is that "truth" in 1991 and 1992 (and any other year of NATO's existence) will not "hold water" today. A now controvertible truth is that truth is dynamic, changing on a daily basis, along with the borders in some Eastern European countries. The significance of those dynamics to this project is that innovative theories addressing the future of the Transatlantic Alliance are hard to define and harder to defend. Perhaps more importantly, NATO needs to face the challenges by continuing to offer stability to its members as an alliance of collective defense.

According to some, the world changes that began with the collapse of the Berlin Wall signaled the death knell for NATO and like organizations. These bodies, established when Europe was at the center of world politics, with a clearly defined Soviet "threat", have, according to some, outlived their usefulness.2 These well documented opinions represent the most significant challenges to NATO's future. To survive and hopefully flourish, NATO's first agenda item must be continued commitment from each of the 16 member countries that survival of NATO as a transatlantic alliance is desired and/or necessary for their collective well being. During the Annual Summits held since 1989, the member nations have indicated their consensus on this.3 NATO must now find a way to redefine it's role from its original charter, and even from the changes outlined in the New Strategic Concept (also known as the Alliance Strategic Concept) ratified in Rome in 1991. This, the pivotal question, becomes clear -- What course of action best addresses the challenges in a vastly changed world with a new and ever changing world order? Is the answer an expanded NATO, including expanded membership and roles? Or the traditional 16 member NATO with a role limited to military operations? This project argues for the continued existence of NATO in its present form, and outlines recommendations for areas of expansion to the charter.


The goal of U.S. policy in the Transatlantic Alliance should be maintenance of NATO as a collective defense organization. Center and most basic to this goal is the need to continue NATO. As the remaining super power, the U.S. must take the lead in setting policy for NATO continuance. The argument for this is broken into five sections followed by conclusions. First is a historical review of world circumstances responsible for the creation of the treaty and a cursory analysis of those treaty articles pertinent to this discussion. This section also includes a limited examination of select organizations existing today whose charters may appear to offer duplication of effort within the Atlantic Alliance. The second section addresses why the U.S. needs NATO. This is to specifically address issues facing the U.S. and the armed forces of the U.S. The third section analyzes the Partnership for Peace (PfP) concept, discussing the likelihood (and viability) of full membership for all 23 (current) partners. A theory on the PfP's unavoidable doom as a vehicle for full NATO membership is included in this section. The fourth section focuses on the question of Russia as a partner and/or full member of NATO, and whether Russia should be given full NATO membership. The "threat" of the future is the subject of Part Five. Finally, the conclusion summarizes the major points of the project, and makes recommendations concerning the nature of NATO expansion.

Part I:


The years immediately following World War II (WWII) were a mixture of relief, euphoria, and uncertainty in the international arena. Demobilization was occurring on a massive scale in the United States, while Europe struggled to rise from the ashes of the years-long conflict. The United Nations Charter was signed in San Francisco in 1945, giving initial hope to translation of the war-time alliance into a peacetime permanency.4 The treaties with Bulgaria, Hungary, Finland, Italy, and Romania were drafted in the same year, but not signed by representatives of the Soviet Union until 1947; difficulties in obtaining final signatures were an indication of problems the U.N. has yet to resolve. In 1948, the Foreign Ministers of the Soviet Union and the Western powers failed to draft treaties with Germany and Austria when they could not agree on Germany's future status; the hopes for continued cooperation were dashed as a clear split occurred between East and West. During the war, Stalin had annexed Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and parts of Finland, Romania, Poland, eastern Czechoslovakia, and north-eastern Germany. In 1947, he started a series of what have been termed "conquests without war" to fully overtake the existing or fledgling governments in Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, and Czechoslovakia, with unsuccessful attempts for similar communist expansion in Iran, Turkey, and Greece. By early 1948, Stalin had reinvented government with a clearly drawn communist line separating East from West.5 To counter Stalin's moves in Greece and Turkey, the Truman Doctrine was enacted to provide aid with military and humanitarian assistance. The Marshall Plan followed, proposing an economic aid plan for European recovery that also offered monetary assistance to the USSR and other countries behind the iron curtain. Stalin, however, refused American aid, and forced the satellite countries to do the same. Shortly thereafter Stalin established the "Cominform" as a means of coordinating activities of the communist movements. Its members were the leaders of the communist parties in the USSR, Poland, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Hungary, Yugoslavia, France, Italy, and (later) the Netherlands; the Cominform was the forerunner to the Warsaw Pact (with some membership changes).6

In true snowball fashion, and out of fear of post-recovery German aggression, the United Kingdom (U.K.) and France signed the Dunkirk Treaty in 1947. This treaty was the suggested model for the "western union" to use to protect themselves from any future threat from Germany and the East. The more appropriate model, however, was the Treaty of Rio de Janeiro entered into by the United States and 20 Latin American countries later that year. This provided for the collective defense of the signatories against aggression.7 The 1948 coup d'etat in Czechoslovakia acted as a 'pro-western, anti-communist' stimulant for the representatives of Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and the U.K., who signed the Brussels Treaty shortly thereafter. This was the precursor to the North Atlantic Treaty.

The Brussels Treaty provided for the build-up of a common defense system, and strengthening of cultural and economic ties. The key clause of the treaty was found in Article IV, which stated that should any of the contracting parties be the object of an "armed aggression in Europe", the other signatories to the Treaty would afford the attacked party "all the military aid and assistance in their power."8 A few months later, in June of that year, the Soviet Union started the blockade of Berlin. That same month, the U.S. Congress passed the Vandenberg Resolution, which cleared constitutional barriers to U.S. participation in such a treaty in one of the Truman Administration's smoothest bits of politicking.9 Preliminary talks between U.S. representatives and the Brussels Treaty signatories were opened in July 1948. The text of the North Atlantic Treaty was published in March 1949, and signed on April 4, 1949, by the following countries: U.K., France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, the Netherlands, Canada, and the United States (Greece and Turkey signed the treaty in 1952, followed by West Germany in 195410; Spain became a NATO member in 1982).

It is important to note the significant change in long-standing U.S. policy to avoid what President George Washington long ago termed "entangling alliances." The years following WWII saw the U.S. as signatories on as many as seven formal treaties and several informal agreements involving countries of five of the seven continents (these numbers do not count the economic agreements, including the more recent North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and the newly formed World Trade Organization (WTO)).11 Unfortunately, the U.S. record for upholding the inherent obligations of these treaties have led some allies to question the level and sincerity of U.S. commitment. Indeed, the number of treaties committing U.S. military forces to protecting the territorial integrity of so many nations called for a military of a size not seen since the armies of WWII, or was simply a series of gross over-commitment on the part of several U.S. administrations. These extensive commitments were based in either ignorance or arrogance in assuming challenges to these treaties would never occur. It was exactly this question, the sincerity of U.S. commitment to Europe, as well as the second issue of adequacy of civilian control over NATO military operations, that led to the DeGaulle government decision to withdraw from the integrated military structure in 1966.12

Commitment is what differentiates the North Atlantic Treaty from other treaties. Commitment also differentiates collective defense from collective security.

The North Atlantic Treaty

The North Atlantic Treaty links the member countries together for "collective defense" as defined in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.13 The first three paragraphs set the tone for the nature of the alliance, where the parties "...seek to promote stability and well being in the North Atlantic area."14

Article 1 stresses the utility of peaceful settlement of international disputes, directing member countries to "refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations."

Article 2 stresses the fact that NATO is more than a military alliance, urging members "to eliminate conflict in their international economic policies and will encourage collaboration between any or all of them."

Articles 4 and 5 provide for the concept of collective defense, while Article 6 defines the parameters of an armed attack (as discussed in Articles 4 and 5), effectively limiting the scope of the treaty. Specifically, Article 4 states that the parties "will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened." Article 5 contains more specific language, stating "The parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all..." and that members may use "...such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area."

Article 6 and its very specific verbiage was largely dictated by the U.S. in an attempt to stay away from the colonial conflicts in which several other of the

remaining member countries were at the time either embroiled or where the Truman Administration thought there was a potential for colonial conflicts.15 While the colonial nature of the NATO members has obviously changed, the language of Article 6 remains as written, and may impact on later decisions for operations considered "Out of Area" (OOA), or even on any proposals to expand NATO's scope beyond these terms.

Of the remaining articles of the treaty, Articles 10 and 11 may well come to play a significant role in the Partnership for Peace concept (with regard to full membership in NATO by the "partner" countries), and further NATO expansion. Article 10 requires unanimous agreement by the parties to offer NATO membership to any other European state, while Article 11 requires treaty ratification by the prospective country's constitutional process. Additionally, Article 10 may be construed as conditional, offering the possibility of membership to "...any other European State in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area...".

Changes to the Treaty have occurred through various vehicles over the past 45 years; especially pertinent to this discussion are the Harmel Report (1967), and the New Strategic Concept (1991).

The Harmel Report is also known as the Report on Future Tasks of the Alliance. It recognized changes having occurred in the world since 1949, and the continuing relevance of both the political and military functions of the Alliance. It also outlines several tasks whose completion were set as goals for the Alliance, with the larger goal of a more stable international environment. Especially significant in the Harmel Report are the proposals for increased military presence in the Mediterranean (as a preventative measure against recent expansion of Soviet activities in the Middle East), and the proposal for military reductions in both the East and West.16

Arguably the most important aspect of the Harmel Report is the signal its ratification/publication sent to member communities (and "the threat") regarding NATO's ability to change with changing times. These changing times required the use of defense and detente as alliance functions; the Harmel Report solidified the dual role of detente in the Alliance. Successful implementation of the tasks listed in the Harmel Report would effectively give new life blood to the (almost) 20 year old organization facing the fact that military forces in Europe were not sufficient to hold Soviet forces should U.S.S.R. leadership decide the 'plum' Europe offered was too great to pass up.17

The New Strategic Concept is another Harmel Report written for the changes in world politics since 1989. According to the New Strategic Concept, "the Alliance has always sought to achieve its objectives of safeguarding the security and territorial integrity of its members, and establishing a just and lasting peaceful order in Europe, through both political and military means."18

Key in the Concept is the requirement to maintain a military adequate to provide for continued collective defense of its members as a deterrent to aggression. While the Concept continues to recognize the importance of its military arm as a deterrent, the Concept stresses the importance of political dialogue and the recognition of the economic, social, and environmental aspects of security and stability in the new world. Implications of the New Strategic Concept range from a very expanded NATO mission (in terms of addressing economic, social, and environmental ills facing the Alliance), to maintenance of the NATO military arm in Europe at a time when national fiscal restraints are influencing member governments to reduce representation. Nowhere truer than in the U.S., loud calls for the fabled "Peace Dividend" following troop reductions in Europe gave rise to isolationist inclinations in dimensions unheard of since the end of WWI.

Perhaps most significant in the New Strategic Concept is it's recognition that defense of members' security interests extends beyond territorial borders. This is a basic tenant behind the rationale for continued U.S. troop presence in Europe. Analysis of this tenant (and it's implications) occurs following a short discussion of other security organizations tied to Europe and NATO.

Other Organizations 19

To understand the implications of NATO expansion, either in number

of members or in mission scope, it is imperative to understand the scope of existing institutions; failure to do so will invalidate assumptions concerning resource availability, primarily funds. Key among these organizations in terms of their interaction with NATO are the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Community (EC), the Western European Union (WEU), and the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (see Table 1, following page). In addition to these, there are other inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations whose agendas are to spread the good news (if you will) concerning the North Atlantic Alliance; their duties range from inter-parliamentary links (North Atlantic Assembly), to educate and inform the public as to the goals and aims of NATO (Atlantic Treaty Association). This section will focus on what NATO terms "Interlocking Institutions" rather than the inter- and non-governmental organizations.20

The Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) (formerly the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, CSCE) was established in 1972 as a process of political consultation which did not establish a permanent forum until 1990. The OSCE process was the germination seed of several

significant measures designed to advance initiatives in fundamental human freedoms, including the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, which also provides

for notification of major military maneuvers involving more than 25 thousand troops. The OSCE was key in drawing some of the Warsaw Pact countries into human rights groups (the most successful of its ventures to date), as well as fostering cooperation on economic, cultural, and security issues.

The most significant of the OSCE's accomplishments in the area of security issues was the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty of 1992 limiting conventional troop strength in the armies of Europe, as well as those of the United States stationed in Europe. The Helsinki Follow-up meeting in July 1992 sought to get the OSCE directly involved in peacekeeping operations, but was met with limited success. Weaknesses in the OSCE include the unwieldiness of its size (53 members), and what is perceived as a lack of power in the structure of the organization (the Secretary General is a public affairs official with virtually no power), consisting of civilian monitors and military observers from its member countries. While Russia most recently identifies OSCE as the vehicle for European security, no military structure or procedures for marshalling national forces under OSCE authority currently exists.21

The European Community (EC) (now known as the European Union (EU)) was established as an economic entity from the merger of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951 and continues to evolve through a series of economic treaties requiring ratification by all member states. The goal of the EU is greater integration of the economies of its member states. Toward that end, the EU has introduced a customs union which essentially eliminates trade tariffs between member countries and establishes a common tariff for non-member countries.22 Additionally, a European market was created in 1993 (proposed in 1985), allowing unrestricted movement of goods, services, people, and money between member countries. Beyond the economic issues, the EU has acted in concert with the U.N. as peace negotiators in the Geneva Conference on the Former Yugoslavia, while providing significant efforts for humanitarian aid (also for the former Yugoslavia). The EU is in continuing dialogue with the U.S., particularly concerning GATT/WTO.

The Western European Union (WEU) evolved from the Brussels Treaty of 1948 (see Endnote 7) as the Western Union. When the North Atlantic Treaty was signed, military responsibilities were transferred to NATO, leaving the WEU the goals of economic, social, and cultural collaboration (minus collective self-defense). Since its reactivation in 1984, the WEU goal has been one of common European defense identity through cooperation, and a strengthened European 'pillar' in the North Atlantic Alliance.23 These goals have been reinforced with the adoption of the Platform on European Security Interests, which affirms members' determination to strengthen the European piece of NATO, as well as to provide Europe with a heretofore unseen security and defense dimension. In addition to ensuring and coordinating joint actions during the Iran-Iraq War in 1987, and again during the Gulf War in 1991, the WEU has most recently been involved with contributions of European forces in the former Yugoslavia. The decision to send forces via the WEU was an extremely important step for Europe in terms of their willingness to act for European security and defense when the U.S. (specifically) determined it was not in their best interests to send combat forces. In fact, the WEU represents a Europe-only option when faced with situations where one or more NATO (and/or U.N.) members vote against troop commitment. This is likely to become an

increasingly important option in facing European scenarios where it is deemed not in the best interests of some Alliance members to participate.

In January 1988, France and Germany formed a joint Franco-German Army Brigade consisting of approximately 40,000 troops. Since becoming operational in 1990, Belgium and Luxembourg have joined the force, with Spain and the Netherlands expressing interest in joining. The force is now called the Eurocorps, and has the following missions under the control of the WEU: common defense of allies, peacekeeping and peace enforcement, and provision of humanitarian aid.24 Late 1992 saw agreements established on the relationship between the Eurocorps and the NATO military structure under the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR); this includes plans for Eurocorps employment under NATO.

The North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) was established in 1991 to provide a bridge between the member countries of NATO and those of the former Warsaw Pact. In addition to those countries, all the states of the former U.S.S.R. are members, and Finland is an observer; Sweden, Finland, and Austria participate as members of the NACC ad hoc group on Cooperation in Peacekeeping.25 The NACC exists to facilitate dialogue and cooperation between its member countries on such subjects as security, economics, defense conversion issues, and military education; it provided the framework for introduction of the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program in January 1994. This initiative for increased NATO affiliation is the subject of the next section.

Part II: Why NATO?

This section is designed to answer specific questions on why NATO is important to the United States, and perhaps more importantly, what implications NATO continuance may have on the armed forces of the United States.

One of the most basic reasons for the U.S. to stay the course with NATO in it's collective defense role is, quite simply that NATO is a proven deterrent. In the forty-plus years since ratification, the North Atlantic Treaty has provided security for Europe very effectively. What the people of the U.S. seem to occasionally wrestle with is whether or not security in Europe is necessary for the security of the United States. The answer is that the U.S. is irrevocably tied to Europe; economically, culturally, and for security.

As mentioned earlier, given the changing face of world politics, change to NATO is inevitable. Those changes have impacted on the U.S. armed forces, and will continue to do so. U.S. troop strength in Europe is the lowest since WWII. Changes in Europe and in NATO will greatly effect whether or not these low numbers are sufficient for the U.S. commitment to collective defense.

The changes to the NATO Charter occurring via the Harmel Report and the New Strategic Concept directly effect U.S. security. Recognizing that security threats may come from beyond a country's territorial boundaries is not a NATO-only concept. Recognition of the threat potential speaks directly to the current National Security Strategy and ensuring the armed forces are adequate to meet threats to that security. NATO provides a known-quantity deterrent. In a worst case scenario, NATO will provide assistance in the form of military commitment as a true collective defense organization.

What does all this mean to a future military commander? It represents potential commitment to secure U.S. national interests -- interests which time and again have been well beyond the territorial boundaries of the continental United States. It means commitment to an organization that could stand between the U.S. and security threats capable of destroying a way of life. While somewhat melodramatic, this commitment is very much unchanged from that of the Cold War. The difference is the identity of the aggressor (or potential aggressor). The U.S. got involved in NATO to ensure the security of Europe following WWII. It needs to stay involved in NATO for the security of it's national interests. In other words, nothing has changed for the future military commander, except he'll be starting with less soldiers than his predecessor did a few years ago. However, given the constant changes he'll face, he may end up with quite a few more soldiers, and they won't all be from the U.S.

Part III: Partnership for Peace26

Background and Basics on the PfP:

The Partnership for Peace (PfP) program grew out of the surprising collapse of the former Soviet Union into not just the five non-Soviet Warsaw Pact countries and Russia, but into the twenty-plus former republics (and Russia), all vying for membership in NATO.27 The addition of 23 countries to a 16 member alliance is an altogether different proposition from the initial thought of adding 6 new members to that alliance. The response to the greater-than-anticipated demand for membership is the initiative we know as Partnership for Peace. While the Partnership is a concept with vision, the unknown factors facing the Alliance make the issue of full membership extremely complicated, and subject to significant politicking by both NATO members and Partners.28 This discussion on PfP will be limited to current Partners.

Quite simply, PfP is a way for potential members (and their respective parliaments) to observe NATO members and the organization itself first hand. PfP provides both sides the opportunity to observe military cooperation in NATO exercises, while educating perspective members on what is expected of NATO members.

The PfP initiative is a way for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) desiring affiliation with the Alliance (but perhaps lacking the fiscal or governmental requirements for full membership) to establish a relationship short of actual membership. The benefit to them in joining as partners is enhanced security and stability in Europe and the NACC area ( at least theoretically). Partnership objectives include the following29:

- Facilitation of transparency in national defence planning and budgeting processes;

- Ensuring democratic control of defence forces;

- Maintenance of the capability and readiness to contribute to operations under authority of the UN and/or the responsibility of the CSCE (now OSCE) (subject to constitutional considerations);

- Development of cooperative military relations with NATO, for the purpose of joint planning, training and exercises in order to strengthen their ability to undertake missions in the fields of peacekeeping, search and rescue, humanitarian operations, and others as later agreed;

- Development of forces (over the long term) that are better able to operate with those of the members of the North Atlantic Alliance.

Acceptance as a partner starts with signature on the PfP Framework documentation by each participant. To date, 23 countries have elected to become partners. Signature reaffirms the country's commitment to the Helsinki Final Act and all subsequent OSCE (formerly CSCE) documents, the fulfillment of all disarmament and arms control obligations previously agreed upon, and their commitment to the obligations of the Charter of the U.N. (refraining from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, to respect existing borders, and to settle disputes by peaceful means).30 Partnership "buys" a country "consultation" with NATO for any partner that perceives a direct threat to its territorial integrity, political independence, or security. Partnership provides neither NATO membership, nor the collective defense that full membership offers.

Nor does becoming a partner guarantee NATO membership at a future date. In fact, one of the common trends in sources on the subject is to suggest PfP is a means of buying time for the NATO members until the question of permanent membership may be addressed. This issue speaks directly to the credibility of the program, calling into question the benefits of partnership and the need to address permanent membership status. Details on the mechanics of partnership are necessary before analyzing the program as a means for eventual NATO membership.

The PfP initiative places NATO on a large cafeteria menu, allowing the customer (partner) to choose those items he wishes or is able to purchase. Following signature on the Framework Document, each partner submits a Presentation Document to NATO, indicating the degree of participation they anticipate (or desire). For example, Country X may wish to participate in the joint planning and training of a military exercise, without actual troop participation (to start with). Country X may also indicate (in the Presentation Document) what steps they are going to take towards achieving the political goals of the Partnership, as well as what assets will be made available by the partner (Country X) for partnership activities. Significant in the partnership is the requirement for Country X to then fund whatever degree of participation they signed up for, and their agreement to "endeavor to share the burdens of mounting exercises in which they take part."31

PfP as a Vehicle for NATO Membership:

Essentially, anyone who wants to join may do so, and at the level of

participation they believe appropriate for their country, assuming fiscal availability. At this point, the partnership concept complications become apparent. The big question is "Who gets to be a NATO member?". Enter Article 10 of the NATO Treaty referred to earlier; expansion of NATO "for other European states in a position to further the principles of the Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area". Two arguments come to mind in addressing the membership question. Each assumes the goal of adding new members is to add to the security of the Alliance. First, as pointed out in articles concerning the former Warsaw Pact countries and Russia, their militaries are a shadow of their former selves, and their ability to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area as a NATO member may be questionable (see Table 2, following page). The second argument is that these countries do significantly contribute to the security of greater Europe just by being partners. Both arguments question the need to offer full NATO membership.

Articles 10 and 11 requires unanimous agreement by the parties and ratification by respective governments before offering membership. To date, the 16

members do not have approval from their respective governments to add any of the Partners as full members. However, even assuming that approval for a moment, addition of new members one at a time may prove increasingly difficult. Again, the best course of action for expanding NATO is to limit the number of full members so as to avoid creation of a collective security organization. If all members have veto power, stalemates will occur as countries form pacts within the Alliance to further their own agendas.

Membership Expansion:

Assuming NATO decides to expand, the method of expansion will prove a very complex issue. There are three obvious options concerning expansion. First, do not expand. Second, expand one country at a time on a case by case basis. Third, open initial membership to the visegrad four, Poland, Hungary, The Czech Republic, and Slovakia. This could be accomplished either one at a time, or as an "open season" for these specific members (recognizing their lack of freedom of will in their association with the former Soviet Union). Either way this third option is implemented, the remaining 19 Partners would be handled separately on a case-by-case basis.

A theory for consideration is this: unless NATO opens a one-time "open season" for all the partners to join as full members, NATO (as an entity) will itself become a divisive issue between new members and "wanna-be member" partners by creating a system that Richard Nixon referred to as "haves" and "have nots".32 In truth, the 'haves' and 'have nots' already exist. Many of the 23 Partners are not in a position to finance NATO membership. In fact, there are indications in the Republican Congress of a desire for the U.S. to assist certain countries with their membership funding.33

Before another dollar is added to the deficit, Alliance members need to ask themselves (and their respective governments, as currently required in the Charter) if a NATO of expanded membership is good for NATO; whether an expanded NATO will be able to continue to provide the security it has to this point? The answer is that it is not likely to be able to provide that security. In fact, NATO membership expanded to the scope of the PfP will likely doom the Alliance. It may well continue to function, but only as a 'paper tiger', becoming a collective security organization likely to fail.

From a non-NATO standpoint, the question of expansion continues to provide a source of contention. Perhaps the most public source of contention concerns membership of the visegrad four. On one hand, membership for the four leaves a Baltic "island" between NATO members and Russia (see Map, next page). This

represents a considerable weakness in terms of security. On the other hand, Poland is fully ready for membership now, while Slovakia is not (without assistance). Additionally, Poland's ability to meet NATO membership criteria now has led to increasing pressure on NATO members. A major driver in the expansion debate revolves around Poland as a full member, able to fill the "security vacuum" in the East between NATO members and Russia.34 The other, significantly "public" source of contention in the expansion question is Russia's membership. The discussion on Russia's part in the expansion is in the next section.

Part IV: Russia

Several months after Russia signed the PfP framework document, members of their government threatened to pull out of PfP. The Clinton Administration made what Republican Senator Robert Dole continually characterizes as a "misguided devotion to a Russia-first policy" move to soothe the ruffled feathers and keep Russia in PfP.35 Russia desires special treatment from Alliance members, with the ultimate goal of full NATO membership. Failing that, Russia hopes to diminish NATO's role by making use of other (existing) security organizations.36 The initial invitation for PfP status was extended in an attempt to appease Russia's indications of insecurity as the former Soviet Bloc Republics vied for NATO membership themselves, apparently willing to leave Russia adrift. The question of Russia as a full NATO partner will be one of the toughest facing NATO members. Russia should not receive full NATO membership for the reasons outlined below.

First and foremost, inclusion of Russia in NATO will effectively transform NATO from a collective defense organization to that of collective security. Josef Joffe defines collective security simply: everyone is a member of the system, and there are no predetermined aggressors.37 Addition of Russia to NATO will add the last, largest, and most formidable former aggressor to the alliance. This will transform the previously successful alliance based on collective defense into a collective security organization. As a collective security organization, NATO will be doomed as an alliance, as have all other collective security organizations since Britain and France watched Mussolini annex their fellow-alliance member Abyssinia in 1936.38 Collective security alliances fail because they rely on countries to place alliance interests before national interests. It could prove an extremely costly error to assume NATO would fare any differently. Collective defense has historically been the key to NATO's unprecedented success, and is key to any future transatlantic alliance.

Next of these reasons is Russia's well documented, ongoing economic struggle. As outlined earlier, one of the PfP objectives is "facilitation of transparency in national defense planning and budgeting processes". Russia's inability to change their economic outlook will not meet the PfP objectives concerning the defense budgeting processes. To date, Russia has been unable to join other European countries (and other NATO members) as a market economy.39 They are facing large scale corruption of officials at all levels. Three journalists (speaking out against corruption), six parliament members and many other 'innocents' have been brutally murdered in a crime wave reminiscent of Chicago in the 1930s.40 Runaway inflation working-aged Russians never saw in the old Soviet Union plagues their economy. In sum, Russia is not poised for the changes necessary to bring them in line to compete economically with a united Europe under the EC; they may well be overwhelmed by the economic potential of the United States, Mexico, and Canada united by NAFTA. Additionally, Russia's crippled economy will eventually effect their ability to fund their military; this will directly effect military readiness, failing government intervention. Indeed, President Yeltsin has already announced increases in military funding to "correct the problems of Chechnya".41 Additionally, the conflict in Chechnya must cause Alliance members to ask themselves who is "in control" of the Russian military. The PfP objective is democratic control of the military; incidents in Chechnya question civilian control of the Russian military.

Economic pressure is creating the next reason to question full NATO membership for Russia. Although deemed by Russia to be "an internal problem", Chechnya has fueled the concern of growing nationalism. As mentioned earlier, the harsh realities non-communist Russia faces in the nineties pushes them closer to nationalism. Ultra-nationalists like Zhirinovsky will continue to prey on the weaknesses created by a government unable, and perhaps unwilling, to make the hard decisions to complete the make-over of Russia. The question then becomes whether a Russia led by such a personality could or would return to the days of an aggressive Soviet Union without, perhaps, the communist overtone. Would NATO membership be enough to stop aggressive tendencies of an economically crippled Russia led by a nationalist who thinks the U.S. should give back Alaska, and that Hitler's racial policies (favoring dominance of Russians vice Germans) may be valid?

The fourth reason to question Russia's full membership to NATO is security. Theoretically, security is the Alliance benefit of full membership for Russia. However, collective defense will require NATO to defend the borders of Russia, including that with China, and save for the Caspian Sea, the border with Iran. These are responsibilities NATO should not take on, at least in the near future. Neither the present member countries of NATO, nor the partners, have the resources or the political support of their respective populace to finance the kind of NATO forces Russia's borders would require for protection.

Realistically however, Iran and China are probably not a threat to the Russian border in terms of a large scale armed conflict. However, regional security may well be an issue from an economic standpoint, depending on China's reaction to Russia's NATO membership. The U.S. (as a NATO member) should not risk alienating its largest trading partner in an attempt to placate Russia's security concerns with NATO membership. Nor should the U.S. risk escalating tensions

with North Korea during what may be referred to as North Korea's current 'political identity crisis'. The bottom line is that the political and economic instability in Russia, and in the countries that border Russia, make NATO membership a risk for the Alliance members.

One of the options facing NATO is expansion of the Charter, including actions influencing the social and/or economic aspect of their member countries (or influencing those countries threatening the security of the member countries). Given the larger-than-life example of the current economic crisis that is Russia, it is unlikely that NATO actions could influence the Russian government towards economic reform. More basically, it is unlikely that Alliance members could reach a consensus on actions to take to do so.

On a final note concerning Russia; NATO membership for Russia will require significant change. Failing change in NATO member veto authority, Russia will not be able to become a member. The alternative to changing veto authority is political change to sway those countries against Russia's membership in NATO.42

Part IV: The New "Threat"

Before theorizing on the new "threat" facing the Alliance, it is important to briefly discuss the merits of NATO membership. The big plum of NATO membership is two-fold. First, being a member of 'the' organization in Europe may appeal to some countries after fifty years of being denied membership because of geographical and (sometimes) ideological ties with the "other" superpower during the Cold War. NATO membership represents Europe, where NATO members are European. Ties to Europe for countries whose former European affiliation was severed by the Iron Curtain is extremely important.

The more important issues concerning NATO membership are those regarding collective defense and economic stability. Again, NATO was established to ensure the security of Europe at a time when the Soviet Union was considered a significant threat to that security -- although no threat was ever identified. Admittedly, there are probably some concerned citizens at the old borders of the iron curtain who have spent the majority of their lives in fear of a Soviet takeover; they are not likely to change their attitude after only a handful of years seeing communism in collapse. Realistically, however, it is unlikely that the old regime will seize power overnight without sufficient warning to Alliance members of their return to the "evil empire". Additionally, some of the current Partners seek full membership for reasons other than security. These reasons include enhancing their own internal stability, and speedier adoption of democratic culture.43

In a personal interview with Dr. William Johnsen, he likened the change in threat to going from one large known to lots of little unknowns.44 I likened it to mercury; when a drop splits, it forms hundreds of smaller, identical drops virtually indistinguishable from the original in their unbelievable mobility and utter unpredictability. Alliance members are not likely to be faced with an armed conflict on the scale of either world war. However, there are enough unknown factions facing the Alliance to assure its continuance. The weapons of these factions most threatening to NATO are terrorism, political instability, and economic uncertainty.

Looking at terrorism first, it is important to understand enough of the nature of terrorism to know there is almost as much fear for the possibility of the act as there is in the act itself. As the sole remaining super power (but not the sole remaining nuclear power), the U.S. and her allies (therefore the Alliance) need to recognize their vulnerabilities. Odd as it may seem, Tom Clancy's recent made-for-television movie Ops Center illustrated this quite readily. The story-line revolved around the theft of nuclear warheads from Russia by former KGB officers selling the warheads to the highest bidder. The possibilities in terms of vulnerable targets are virtually unlimited.

Unfortunately, there is no shortage of current hot spots of political unrest and violence. The Spring months are considered prime fighting time by the Muslim, Croatian, and Serbian armies in the former Yugoslavia. Some analysts think the move to kick out the U.N. peacekeepers signals the imminent end to the fragile cease-fire.45

Algeria is on the brink of civil war; Islamic fundamentalists clashing with the government in power has taken 40 thousand lives and the toll continues to climb. The threat to Alliance members is the wave of refugees across the Mediterranean to Europe as violence escalates.46

According to recent news accounts, Yasar Arafat's control over the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is diminishing. A new generation of extremists are waiting for opportunities to assume control. If the right scenario plays out, Israel may be threatened by a resurgence in violence against her. The U.S., with our known relationship to Israel, could be targeted as well.47 No one should assume attacks of this nature would be limited to the continental U.S. (or to just the U.S.).

Despite a large deficit, China appears to be increasing their military

spending by as much as 21%.48 This worries some of China's neighbors, who are concerned about the possibility of China using the military option to settle the dispute over ownership of some of the islands off the Chinese mainland (The Spratleys).49

The message in this incomplete list of world events is simple. Political and economic instability are the threats facing the NATO Alliance. Sources for these threats are only limited by the number of countries in the world today and the cultural, social, religious, economic, and political differences between the people that populate them.


Many of the countries potentially effected by events previously outlined (or the threat of these events) are allies of NATO members or NATO members themselves. Historically, NATO has not entered in the fray for Out of Area (OOA) operations. The political and economic instability existing in countries across the world, until recently, might have indicated necessity for change in NATO policy away from the limiting verbiage of Article 6.

Most recent efforts to diffuse potential threats to the security of Europe include extension of invitations for four North African countries and Israel to

become Partners in PfP.50 These invitations clearly identify the threat (Islamic fundamentalism) Willy Claes (Secretary General of NATO) considers "at least as dangerous as communism was."51 Key in this identification is a move to change the integral face of NATO. It represents an expansion clearly beyond the original Charter. This is true whether or not all the invitations are accepted, or whether full membership is ever offered. Such an expansion effectively expands the NATO area of operations into what was previously considered "out of area." In fact, U.S. insistence on inclusion of Israel effectively expands the area of influence to the entire Middle East. NATO has expanded well beyond the dreams of the initial treaty concept.

More than ever, alliance members must move cautiously in this expansion, regardless of the final full member end-state. This is especially true for the question of full membership. Expansion of full NATO membership for these potential new partners is an exponential expansion of the complexity discussed earlier regarding the European partners.

Expanding NATO's 'sphere of influence' is a natural evolution. The world is shrinking. More than ever, events in countries far from European borders will effect the security as well as the political and economic stability of Europe (and her allies). The U.S. is inextricably tied to this increase in NATO's sphere of influence. And we should not wish it otherwise.

Since before the start of WWI, our collective well-being has been tied to Europe through the Transatlantic Alliance (in spite of attempts to bury our collective heads in the sand during the inter-war years). Reluctant though we were initially to assume the mantle of leadership, it is our responsibility, as a world leader, to recognize the continuing importance of the North Atlantic Treaty. It is our responsibility to foster and nurture its continuance. We need to do this not because Europe needs us, but because we need Europe. As stated earlier, the world is shrinking. What we face are diminishing resources for an increasing population in economic markets increasingly reliant on trade with partners who may not have always been on "our side".

The U.S. needs to take the lead on setting (or influencing) policy for the future of NATO. Isolationism or shirking our responsibilities as a world power will prevent us from influencing our own destiny to continue as a world power. Key to NATO's success (and our (U.S.) ability to influence Europe) is expansion. I advocate expansion for the purpose of extending the umbrella of collective defense through adoption by PfP members of democratic cultures and governments. This does not necessarily mean full membership.

NATO must guard against so great an expansion as to dilute (and possibly destroy) its effectiveness as a collective defense organization. Again, the U.S. must take the lead here. The enemy is collective security. Its weapons are political and economic instability in countries capable of influencing Alliance security. Collective security's insidious nature will lull member countries into immobility until covert and overt sub-alliances destroy NATO from within. The key is commitment. The 'consultation' offered by PfP, though not offering full NATO membership and the collective defense that buys, has the potential to be as effective as full membership. The necessary ingredient is commitment. When a partner's territorial integrity is threatened, consultation must have some teeth in it and backbone behind it. Without something to back it up, consultation will prove as meaningless as some U.N. sanctions. This, in turn, would leave the partner susceptible to a political campaign by the aggressor designed to isolate the partner on the world stage. Without moving one soldier, the aggressor could then conquer the isolated partner.

There are numerous benefits to NATO in extending partnership without changing membership. First, NATO maintains its integrity without losing any vote value. In other words, there is no dilution in its power. Critics will again cite creation of Richard Nixon's "haves" and "have nots". Unfortunately, the cost of developing a collective security organization at the cost of the collective defense organization would be more than any one of the member (or nonmember) countries could afford.

Another benefit to extending the partnership without changing the membership is fiscal. As discussed earlier (and as depicted in Table 2 - for Europe only), many partners are not in a position to afford NATO membership in terms of providing a military force able to meet Alliance readiness standards. Assisting these countries in 'purchasing' their memberships will prove a substantial financial burden for NATO members able to undertake banker duties. Of the current 23 partners, very few have militaries able to meet Alliance standards. Of the five possible new members, only Israel and (arguably) Egypt could field militaries able to meet NATO standards.52

The final argument against full membership for the partners (including the possible partners) is security. Maintaining only the current members shows non-partner countries (i.e., China) the non-threatening nature of the Alliance.

For the immediate future, NATO should remain structurally unchanged. PfP should be the vehicle for security expansion without membership expansion. U.S. policy regarding NATO must be supportive, striving for Alliance continuance in this expanded version. The threat catalyzing creation of the Alliance has changed its identity, but it remains, and is at least as threatening as the original.


1Martin Sieff, "NATO Growth Could Aid Russian Ultranationalists", Washington Times, February 7, 1994, p.A1.

2 Irving Kristol, "Who Now Cares About NATO", Wall Street Journal, February 6,1995, p.12.

3 NATO Facts and Figures, Brussels, 1989; North Atlantic Treaty Organization, New Strategic Concept, downloaded from NATO Gopher, November 1994.

4 Poland was not represented when the United Nations Charter was signed because the governments of the Soviet Union and the Western powers could not decide on the composition of a provisional government. NATO Facts and Figures, Brussels, 1989, p. 4.

5 Attempts to establish de facto governments in some of these countries through the United Nations resulted in successive vetoes by the Soviet Union. NATO Facts and Figures, p.5.

6 The Warsaw Treaty was concluded in 1955 with the intention of being in answer to the Paris Agreements, which (among other things) invited West Germany to participate in the North Atlantic Treaty. NATO Facts and Figures, p.46.

7 NATO Facts and Figures, p.9.

8 The Brussels Treaty was also the origination of the Western Union which, in 1954, following West German membership in NATO, became the Western European Union (WEU). NATO Facts and Figures, p.10, 38; North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Interlocking Institutions, downloaded from NATO Gopher, November 1994.

9 Stanley R. Sloan, NATO's Future Toward a New Transatlantic Bargain, p.5.

10 Initially there was considerable resistance (especially) from France about West Germany becoming a NATO member; France voted to allow West German membership in 1954 following what was considered the 'catastrophic' circumstances of the conflict in Korea and the resulting need to solidify the alliance. NATO Facts and Figures, p.38; Sloan, NATO's Future Toward a New Transatlantic Bargain, p.7-12.

11 Alan Sabrosky, Alliances in U.S. Foreign Policy, 1988, p.7.

12 William T. Johnsen, and Thomas-Durell Young, Parameters, "France and NATO: The Image and the Reality", 1994, p.76;Sloan, NATO's Future Toward a New Transatlantic Bargain, p.22, 35; NATO Facts and Figures, p.500.

13 NATO Handbook, Brussels, 1992, p.3;NATO Facts and Figures, p.376.

14 NATO Handbook, p.13; NATO Facts and Figures, p.376.

15 The geographies of Article 6 of the treaty have been changed to reflect both the accessions of Greece, Turkey, West Germany, and Spain, and voidance of the term "Algerian Departments of France" upon Algeria's independence in 1962; Calleo, David P., Beyond American Hegemony, 1987, p.21.

16 NATO Facts and Figures, p.73.

17 This is not to say the forces were previously considered adequate. Rather, they were considered "of sufficient strength to make it impossible for an aggressor to achieve a quick and easy victory." Secretary of Defense Acheson, Bulletin XXI, August 8, 1949, p.193.

18 North Atlantic Treaty Organization, New Strategic Concept, downloaded from NATO Gopher, November 1994; Note: at the time of ratification, the Soviet Union was still intact.

19 North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Interlocking Institutions, downloaded from NATO Gopher, November 1994.

20 North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Interlocking Institutions, downloaded from NATO Gopher, November 1994.

21 Bill Gertz, "Russia Rebuffs U.S. on Reactor Sales to Iran", Washington Times, April 4, 1994, p. A1 and A20.

22 When a U.S. citizen departs Germany after having visited France and Austria, the customs tariffs imposed are collected at the point of departure from the European continent, allowing reimbursement for taxes collected at the point of purchase, regardless of country. North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Interlocking Institutions, downloaded from NATO Gopher, November 1994.

23 North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Interlocking Institutions, downloaded from NATO Gopher, November 1994.

24 While the Franco-German Brigade has been operational since 1990, the Eurocorps will not become operational (as the Eurocorps) until later this year. Divisional size elements have been identified for possible future Eurocorps assignment. North Atlantic Treaty Organization, The European Security and Defence Identity, Brussels, June 1994.

25 North Atlantic Treaty Organization, The North Atlantic Cooperation Council, Brussels, July 1994.

26 North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Partnership for Peace, Brussels, June 1994.

27 Jeffrey Simon, "Partnership for Peace", Joint Forces Quarterly, Summer 94, p.36.

28 Dana Priest, "Not all Partners Will Join NATO, Perry Concedes", Washington Post, February 9, 1995, p.A26.

29 North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Partnership for Peace, Brussels, June 1994.

30 North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Partnership for Peace, Brussels, June 1994.

31 North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Partnership for Peace, Brussels, June 1994.

32 Richard Nixon, Beyond Peace, p.

33 Dana Priest,"Not all Partners Will Join NATO, Perry Concedes" Washington Post, February 9, 1995, p.A26.

34 Martin Sieff , "Kohl's Outreach to Poland May Aid it's NATO Dream", Washington Post, April 6, 1995, p.A13.

35 Paul Bedard, "Clinton Hammers GOP Over 'Isolationist' Stance", Washington Post, March 2, 1995, p.A1.

36 Gertz, p. A1 and A20.

37 Josef Joffe, Survival, "Collective Security and the Future of Europe", Summer 1992, p.37.

38 Josef Joffe, Survival, "Collective Security and the Future of Europe", Summer 1992, p.37.

39 Dietrich Genschel, "Russia and a Changing Europe", Joint Forces Quarterly, Summer 94, p.25; It is extremely unlikely that these economic struggles will prevent Russia from affording the NATO membership 'dues' (to which funding for participation in NATO exercises and as part of the security forces may be attributed).

40 NBC Nightly News, March 2, 1995; Geoffrey York, "Murder of Legislator Shows Russia is Losing War on Crime", Washington Post, February 5, 1995.

41 It is important not to take this as an opportunity to underestimate the capabilities of the Russian Army (Chechnya has been a learning experience for an army not accustomed to low intensity conflict). They are in the midst of comprehensive reform including troop withdrawals (and reductions) from countries of the former Soviet Union, and morale suffers. However, the army of the former Soviet Union is still very capable. Genschel, p.27-30.

42 Kori Schake, Series of interviews, October 1994 - April 1995; 1994 White Paper on the Security of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Situation and Future of the Bundeswehr", p.51-62.

43 Genschel, p.32.

44 William T. Johnsen, telephone conversation, February 9, 1995.

45 Tyler Marshall, "In Bosnia, Spring is the War Season", Los Angeles Times, March 6, 1995, p.3.

46 "Algeria, and the Islamic Challenge", New York Times, March 6, 1995, p.14.

47 Bombing of the World Trade Center by extremists two years ago attests to U.S. vulnerability to terrorist attacks.

48 Richard Fisher, "Ignoring China's Mischief at Sea", Washington Times, March 5, 1995, p.A17; AP Wire Service, "China Pours Cash into Military", Early Bird, March 6, 1995, p.20.

49 AP Wire Service, "China Pours Cash into Military", Early Bird, March 6, 1995, p.20.

50 Martin Sieff, "NATO looks south to secure partners, block new threats", Washington Times, March 9, 1995, p.A15; the 4 North African countries include Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Mauritania.

51 Sieff, "NATO looks south to secure partners, block new threats", p.A15.

52 U.S. contributions to both Israeli and Egyptian militaries are what would enable them to meet the NATO standard.


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