The Role for NATO in the Modern World

1622 Words7 Pages
The Possibility of a Role for NATO in International Relations

When NATO was founded in 1949, it had a clearly defined role. It was

an alliance for collective security against the USSR and the Warsaw

Pact, whereby if one member state was attacked, the rest would come to

her aid under article 5. Since the fall of the Soviet Union and the

end of the Cold War, however, the role of NATO has become a great deal

less clearly defined, since its members no longer really have any need

for a defensive alliance. Indeed, operations such as those in Bosnia

and Kosovo have suggested that for from being a defensive alliance,

NATO may have some kind of future as an offensive alliance. There are

also now doubts, however, over whether the futures of Europe and the

United States are bound together as they were during the Cold War, and

many European countries now pursue radically different, more

pacifistic foreign policies to that of America. Many people now fell,

therefore, that NATO is nothing more than an anachronistic hangover

from the Cold War with no real future. Others would say, however, that

organisations such as NATO and the UN are still crucial in the modern

world to ensure that countries do not act unilaterally, but co-operate

with allies. It is first perhaps worth considering in what way NATO's

role in the modern world is changing.

As has already been said, NATO may no longer really be viewed as a

defensive organisation. This is not to say that it no longer has a

credible role, however, and many would argue that it can be used as a

useful tool in solving international problems. There are several

examples of this suggestion in action. For in...

... middle of paper ... an alliance of such different

interests will mean that it's future survival is highly dubious. As

Nicholas Burns, the US Ambassador to NATO, said recently, 'the EU's

push for greater military autonomy [poses] the most significant threat

to NATO's future.'

Thus there is still a role for NATO in the modern world, although this

role has shifted from being defensive to being offensive, as above

examples have shown. The question now must be, then, whether NATO can

function effectively has an organisation in the coming years. Many

would say that the polarising effect of America's aggressive foreign

policy under George Bush and the recent expansion or the organisation

Eastwards towards Russian borders will mean that NATO will cease to

have a role in the future, since it is now a body which such

conflicting interests.
Open Document