Building A New NATO

Courtesy Reuters


THREE YEARS AFTER the fall of the Berlin Wall, Europe is headed toward crisis. Memories of democracy's triumph have faded. The immense problems facing the new democracies in the East are increasingly compounded by political gridlock, economic recession and resurgent nationalism. The revolutions of 1989 not only toppled communism; they unleashed a set of dynamics that have unraveled the peace orders of Yalta and Versailles. War in the Balkans, instability in East-Central Europe and the former Soviet Union, growing doubts about the European Community's future as well as the future role of the United States-all underscore the lack of any stable post-Cold War European security order.

Nationalism and ethnic conflict have already led to two world wars in Europe. Whether Europe unravels for a third time this century depends on if the West summons the political will and strategic vision to address the causes of potential instability and conflict before it is too late. A new U.S.-European strategic bargain is needed, one that extends NATO'S collective defense and security arrangements to those areas where the seeds for future conflict in Europe lie: the Atlantic alliance's eastern and southern borders.


THE ENDOFTHE Cold War has wiped away the strategic distinction between Europe's center and periphery. Whereas the potential locus of conflict in Europe during the Cold War was located along the old inner-German border, Europe's new strategic challenges exist almost exclusively along two "arcs of crisis." The first is the eastern arc: the zone of instability running between Germany and Russia from northern Europe down through Turkey, the Caucasus and middle Asia. The second is the southern arc, running through northern Africa and the Mediterranean into the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

In the eastern arc especially, the Soviet collapse has left behind significant and unbalanced military forces and weapons inventories among nations experiencing a wave of instability and conflict generated by virulent nationalism. East-Central Europe is littered with potential mini-Weimar Republics, each

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