Trump and the Future of NATO

Prof. Dr. Tarık OĞUZLU
14 February 2017
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Since the end of the Cold War, NATO, the linchpin of transatlantic security structure, has been in a continuous process of transformation and adaptation. Despite the pessimists, most of whom are neo-realists in the lexicon of International Relations, NATO has succeeded in adapting itself to the emerging security dynamics of the last twenty-five years. Enlarging to the former communist states of Central and Eastern Europe, performing out-of-area military operations in Europe and its beyond and defining transnational terrorism, lack of good governance in Europe’s peripheries, cyber warfare and organized crime as the existential threats confronting its members, NATO has proved its resilience over the turbulent years of the past-quarter century.

 

Yet, the glue binding NATO members to each other has always been the undisputed American commitment to the security needs of its European allies. This has continued during the US-led unipolar era. Even though there is no agreement among analysts as to which years this US-led unipolar era exactly cover, the commonly held assumption is that this era lasted until the global financial crisis erupted in 2008. Since then, the weakening of the US-led liberal world order has been quite evident. During the unipolar era, NATO allies seem to have shared the common view that the European continent still attracted the lion share of the United States’ strategic attention, despite the sporadic crises in the Middle East and East Asia.

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