The conclusion of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations in Afghanistan in 2014 closes an important chapter in the history of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In this volume, European and US experts examine a range of perennial issues facing the Alliance, including relations with Russia, NATO’s institutional organization and command structure, and the role of the United States in the Alliance, in order to show how these issues shape today’s most pressing debate—the debate over the balance between NATO’s engagement in security operations globally and traditional defense within the North-Atlantic region. The volume’s contributors propose that NATO can indeed find a viable balance between competing, but not inherently incompatible, strategic visions.
A theoretically informed, empirical account and analysis of NATO’s recent evolution, this volume will appeal to both security scholars and practitioners from the policy community.
Cover photo courtesy of NATO.
“The reports of the demise of NATO have been greatly exaggerated, to say the least. Despite many learned opinions over the decades, the Alliance seems to reinvent itself again and again. As this turbulent 21st century unfolds, the value of a sustained military alliance, a standing command and control structure, and shared political views have proven themselves from the Balkans to Libya to Afghanistan to the waters off East Africa. Yet the world continues to change, and this volume of brilliant essays is a perfect launching point for a timely discussion on a new course for a venerable and still vital Alliance.”
—Admiral James Stavridis USN, (Ret), Supreme Allied Commander at NATO 2009-2013 and Dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
“We have long got used to the ‘buzzwords’ beloved by NATO bureaucrats and western politicians alike: ‘smart defence’; the ‘Comprehensive Approach’; ‘Partnership for Peace’. This book cuts to the chase, offering a set of provocative conceptual essays and empirical analyses of the challenges the Alliance is about to confront in a post-ISAF world. Written by some of the leading thinkers on NATO, it is work that will provoke debate and challenge conventional thinking.”
—Christopher Coker, London School of Economics
“The North Atlantic Alliance is at an inflection point as it approaches the end of unpopular ISAF operations in Afghanistan, faces massive defense budget cuts, and assesses the impact of the American pivot to Asia. This volume asks the right question: how should the Alliance prioritize between its common defense and crisis management missions? The answer is sound and should be very useful to the Allies as the September Cardiff Summit approaches.”
—Hans Binnendijk, Senior Fellow at SAIS and RAND
Andrew A. Michta is Professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College and Adjunct Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
Paal Sigurd Hilde is Associate Professor at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies (IFS), Norwegian Defence University College.