Where is NATO Headed? New Directions for the Alliance

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NATO was created with three underlying missions. One was to keep the United States in Europe so that it could bring western European countries together in the global fight against the Soviet Union. NATO represented the presence of US military capability on European soil so that the European allies would never doubt the credibility of the American commitment to their security and well being.

Second, NATO was put into effect with the main responsibility of keeping the Soviet threat outside the European continent. Absent the existential security threat the Soviet Union posed to Western Europe, one could speculate that the Alliance would never have come into existence in the first place. Keeping the Soviet Union outside of Europe signified that the Alliance would act first and foremost as a collective defense organization with the sole function of securing the territorial integrity of its members.

Third, NATO would also serve as the most important institutional mechanism, aside from the European Union, to keep Germany down and anchored into the western-European security architecture. For Germany not to appear as a threatening actor again, its western/European identity would have to be institutionalized beyond any doubt. For this to happen, though, membership in the European Union and NATO would help a lot. Keeping Germany down through its bondage to western/European institutions would help allay the security concerns of the other European countries. The looming communist danger in the East had been acute and observable, yet the possibility of Germany re-emerging as a threat in the middle of the continent had also been a serious security consideration to be taken into account...
 

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