Nuclear Balance in Europe

Courtesy Reuters

Throughout its existence, the Atlantic Alliance has reflected a complex and dynamic process-a "transatlantic bargain." The former U.S. Ambassador to NATO, Harlan Cleveland, has described this "bargain" as partly an understanding among the European members of the Alliance, but mostly a deal between them and the United States. NATO, he contends, is an arena of organized controversy. "Each year the mix of NATO defense forces and the character of allied political collaboration change, adjusting to the shifting technology of war and to ... the tides of domestic politics in each of the fifteen NATO countries. But while the bargain changes, the constant is a consensus among the allies that there has to be a bargain."

This notion helps explain how NATO has survived over the years of crises, both external and internal, that, measured by the historical yardstick of alliances, might long ago have ripped apart a less cohesive pact.

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