NATO at 40: Confronting a Changing World

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NATO at 40: Confronting a Changing World

NATO at 40: Confronting a Changing World by Ted Galen Carpenter
English | Apr. 1, 1991 | ISBN: 0669218707 | 301 Pages | PDF | 64 MB
As NATO celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 1989, there was anabundance of self-satisfied congratulations among alliance partisanson both sides of the Atlantic. According to the conventional wisdom,not only had the alliance preserved peace in Europe since 1949, but it hadbeen responsible for keeping Western Europe out of the clutches of the Sovietempire. Moreover, transatlantic solidarity had never been stronger than it wasat the end of the 1980s, if one believed the reassuring comments of manyNATO supporters.

As NATO celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 1989, there was

anabundance of self-satisfied congratulations among alliance partisanson both sides of the Atlantic. According to the conventional wisdom,not only had the alliance preserved peace in Europe since 1949, but it hadbeen responsible for keeping Western Europe out of the clutches of the Sovietempire. Moreover, transatlantic solidarity had never been stronger than it wasat the end of the 1980s, if one believed the reassuring comments of manyNATO supporters.
Although Western political leaders repeatedly reaffirm the importance ofthe alliance, there are mounting signs that such a complacent adherence to thestatus quo is unrealistic. Mikhail Gorbachev's diplomatic initiatives haveshaken long-standing cold war assumptions to their foundations and, in theprocess, revealed serious fissures in NATO. The increasingly acrimoniousdebate over burden sharing is merely the most visible indication of the underlyingproblems afflicting the alliance. Although NATO has experienced episodesof disarray before, the perception of a looming Soviet threat alwaysserved to restore unity. This time, that vital solidifying element may no longerbe present.
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