NATO, which consumes more than 40 percent of the U.S. defense budget each year, is beset by mounting criticism in both the United States and Western Europe. In this volume 17 distinguished policymakers, scholars, and policy analysts assess the value of the alliance after 40 years.
American critics question continuing the U.S. financial drain in the face of federal budget deficits. In addition, they contend that the European allies are not contributing their fair share to the common defense effort. Finally, they fault Western European's insensitivity to U.S. wishes on a host of foreign policy issues that fall outside NATO's purview. Thus, a growing number of journalists, scholars, and policy experts have concluded that NATO—at least as it is presently constituted--no longer serves the best interests of the United States.
Western European's grievances center on U.S. "domination" of alliance affairs and Washington's unresponsiveness to Moscow's diplomatic initiatives. The Bush administration's insistence that NATO deploy a new generation of short-range nuclear missiles has perplexed and distributed many West Europeans, who are concerned that U.S. leaders may miss the opportunity to ease East-West tensions and perhaps even to eliminate the artificial division of Europe into hostile blocs.
The contributors to this book examine those concerns. Some believe that the alliance has served the West well for 40 years and will continue to do so, with relatively minor adjustments, in the coming decades. Others contend that fundamental reforms are imperative if NATO is to be a viable entity in the 21st century. Still others argue that vast changes in global political conditions have rendered NATO an expensive and potentially dangerous anachronism.