The Cold War is over, the Soviet Union is gone, and America faces no other great-power threat to its security. Yet Washington continues to spend $90 billion a year on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
In Beyond NATO: Staying Out of Europe's Wars, Ted Galen Carpenter argues that the United States needs to adopt an entirely new policy toward Europe. He contends that preserving NATO is unnecessary because the West European nations now have the economic and military resources to protect their own security.
Proposals to expand NATO into Central and Eastern Europe -- including the Clinton administration's Partnership for Peace -- are especially dangerous. Enlarging the alliance would risk a military confrontation with Moscow over a region in which Russia has a long-standing political and security interests. Perhaps even worse, a larger NATO would entangle America in the numerous parochial quarrels and conflicts of East European nations themselves.
Carpenter warns that the Bosnian war is the kind of problem that NATO will repeatedly encounter if it moves east. He calls on the United States to withdraw from the alliance, encourage the European powers to take responsibility for the stability of their own region, and form a more limited and flexible security relationship with Western Europe. Above all, he urges U.S. policymakers to remain aloof from European conflicts that do not have a direct and significant bearing of America's vital interests.