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NATO Expansion in the Post-Cold War Era

By tokugawa in Op-Ed
Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 11:54:08 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was the most important Western institution during the Cold War. It was mainly designed to guarantee European security in face of the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies.

The Cold War is now over; there is no great enemy looming on Europe's borders. One would think this would make NATO obsolete, but it has sought to reshape itself in hopes of staying relevant. One of the steps it has taken has been expansion into Eastern Europe. The intitial round of expansion (3 new members) was completed in 1997. This essay will question the wisdom of a second round of expansion, further East.


The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was created in 1949 to counter the threat of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact to Western Europe. As a collective defense organization, it aimed to deter an attack on one member by stipulating that this could be interpreted as an act against all members. The end of the Cold War in 1989 brought an easing of relations between both camps and NATO lost its raison d'être. Without a powerful enemy to balance against, the organization sought to reshape itself.

In 1991, a New Strategic Concept was declared that led NATO to adopt a greater range of possible duties, including crisis management and peacekeeping. Member nations reduced their military deployments and expenditures to adapt to the changing circumstances. Central and Eastern European nations did not share their optimism. They anxiously desired to join the ranks of NATO for fear of losing their newly independent nationhood. It was hoped that membership would also lead to closer political and economic ties to Western nations. In extending membership to nations that once were on the other side of the iron curtain, NATO has seemingly found a new purpose of bringing closure to the Cold War by reuniting Europe.

This essay will argue that the first round of NATO expansion has been a success and that it should be mirrored in Eastern Europe.

The First Round

In 1997, the first round of NATO expansion became official: Poland, Czech Republic, and Hungary were invited to join the organization. They were reportedly chosen because they had made the most progress in strengthening democratic institutions, converting their planned economies to free market economies, and to respecting the rule of law (Volker, 1998).

Justifications for expansion are varied. Some, such as Sharp (1999), see it as a way to enhance European security by peaceful integration through cooperative security agreements and institutionalism. Others, such as Kristol (1997), view it as an opportunity to redefine the geopolitical borders of Europe to reflect the end of the Cold War, namely by allowing the United States, through NATO, to fill the power vacuum left in Central and Eastern Europe.

The first round of expansion has been a resounding success. All three countries have taken important steps to conform to Western political, economic, and military standards (Sharp, 1999). Bringing them into the sphere of NATO serves to solidify these advances and guarantee them from external threats. In this sense, NATO serves as a stepping-stone for joining the EU (Morrocco & Taverna, 1999). The democratic peace and economic interconnections that are found in Western Europe will gradually be extended to the East with the end result of enhancing European security.

Kamp (1995) and Arbatov (1996) argue that the European Union (EU) and the Western European Union (WEU) would be more appropriate institutions to accomplish these tasks. The EU is certainly well placed to cement the democratic rule of law and economic standards, but it can only do so within a stable security context. As shown with its inaction concerning the

Yugoslavian civil wars, the European Union can only credibly act on military matters with the help of the United States. Furthermore, the presence of the US stabilizes the German and Russian poles of attraction. Were the enterprise conducted under the auspices of the WEU, for instance, then both Berlin and Moscow might destabilize the central and eastern region by vying for power and influence (Sharp, 1999).

The Balkans still retains a high level of possible ethnic strife. Expanding the NATO stability umbrella over these nations would do much to curtail such conflicts. Nations such as the Czech Republic and Hungary have taken important steps to improve relations with their neighbours. Even those that were not part of the first round expansion have taken similar actions in hopes of joining NATO in the future (Sharp, 1999). The first expansion has already proved to be a great success in this area, and will likely continue its achievements in the years to come as more nations join the alliance.

One might point out that Turkey and Greece waged war against each other despite both being NATO members. If the alliance could not prevent these two neighbours from going to war, then why presume it could in the Balkans? Turkey and Greece did go to war against each other but it was limited in scope. Without pressure from NATO and the United States, it would likely have been far greater in scope. In this regard, NATO did have a positive effect (Kamp, 1995).

Much of the criticism to NATO expansion is focused on the adverse Russian reaction it might foster. There are fears that this might encourage undemocratic nationalist forces within Russia to rise to power and lead to a more aggressive Russian stance (Pushkov & Polreich, 1994). However, such warnings have failed to materialize. The initial phases of expansion have proven to be a great success if we take into account the enormous amount of criticism that focused on Russia's antagonistic reaction.  Six years after the official invitation was extended to Poland, Czech Republic, and Hungary, there have been no such internal changes in Russia. Roskin (1998) points out that this is so because Russian nationalism is related to internal chaos and economic hardship, rather than foreign policy matters. The Russian public seems genuinely disinterested in this matter.

In sum, the first round of expansion has been a success in all respects. New members are now poised to join the European Union, building upon the political, economic, and legal reforms began under NATO auspices. The seriousness that has been shown to inviting new members in the alliance has had a multiplier effect in the region, spreading reforms and better inter-state relations.

The Second Round

In lieu of the success of the first round of NATO expansion, there is no reason why we might not proceed to round two. Indeed, there is every reason to extend the NATO stability shield as much as possible. As German Defense Minister Volker Ruhe put it, "if we don't export stability, we will import instability." The security of Europe depends on it.

The balance of power to protect one's security is no longer as relevant in Europe as it once was. With the creation of the EU, European nations have staked their security in cooperation through greater integration, rather than carefully calculated alliances. The institutional structures already in place will be strenghtened, resulting in greater stability and commonality within Europe and a more united front against those outside of it.

Some contend that Russia still remains a potential threat to European security. Such fears stem from the belief that the Russia will always remain the "bad boy" of Europe (Pushkov & Polreich, 1994). If security is best served through cooperation and integration, then Europe's ultimate goal should be to eventually fully integrate Russia into its institutions. This alone can cement European security. Balancing against an enemy that poses no current threat would not help Europe achieve this goal. More cooperation between Russia and NATO should be considered so as to present NATO as partner rather than a threat.

NATO is an important piece of the integration puzzle. As yet, there is no comparable organization within Europe (Sharp, 1999). The presence of US troops in Europe provides for a hint of hegemonic stability, especially in Germany's case. Without the foreign troops, Germany might feel less secure and therefore build up its military force. In turn, France might feel insecure and follow the same path. Without the US presence through NATO, a new security dilemma might spawn and destabilize Europe.

Extending both the EU and NATO to the east will provide the same prosperity, security, and stability that it has in the west. Some argue that expanding the European Union would be enough and serve the same purpose without "hollowing" NATO out (Kamp, 1995; Roskin, 1998). This would be a mistake. There can be no true economic and political integration if the security needs of the new nations are not met. Many of these nations believe that the presence of the US is absolutely required to guarantee this security, and thusly desire NATO membership.

NATO is no longer solely a collective security organization. By expanding east, the alliance is providing military security but is also helping build nations. The strict requirements required to join NATO has helped shape the new members into emerging liberal democracies. We must stop thinking of security only in terms of military security (Biddard, 1999). Prosperous and democratic nations in Central and Eastern Europe will enhance European security as a whole.


The first round of expansion has been a success and continued expansion to the east will extend this success not only to new member nations but also to the whole of Europe. NATO and the EU are the two most important European institutions. They should walk hand in hand in extending the sphere of security and prosperity, for both are inexorably linked. If the success of the first round of expansion can be repeated in future rounds, then NATO will likely be with us for another 50 years.


Arbatov, A. (1996). Eurasia letter: A Russian- U.S. security agenda. Foreign Policy, 104, 102-118.

Biddard, D. (1999). Quelle sécurité collective pour l'Europe: l'Otan constitue-t-elle la réponse efficace? In P. Boniface (Ed.), Quel Avenir pour l'Otan? (pp. 32-38). Paris: IRIS Press.

Kamp, K. (1995). The folly of rapid NATO expansion. Foreign Policy, 98, 116-130.

Kristol, W. (1997, October 8). To opinion leaders: NATO enlargement. New American Century. Retrieved March 29, 2003, from http://newamericancentury.org/natooct0897.htm

Morrocco, J. D., & Taverna, M. A. (1999). Long Uphill Struggle Adapting to West. Aviation Week & Space Technology, 150, 50-62.

Pushkov, A., & Polreich, M. (1994). Building a new NATO at Russia's expense. Foreign Affairs, 73, 173-176.

Roskin, M. G. (1998). NATO: The strange alliance getting stranger. Parameters: Journal of the US Army War College, 28, 30-38.

Sharp, J. M. O. (1999). The case for opening up NATO to the east. In C. David & J. Lévesque (Eds.), The Future of NATO: Enlargement, Russia, and European Security (pp. 27-34). Montreal: McGill-Queen's University.

Volker, K. (1998). NATO enlargement. Social Education, 62, 252-255.


This was initially an essay written for an introductory political science class. References have been left in the text so as to retain consistency.


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Should NATO continue to expand?
o Yes. 53%
o No. 46%

Votes: 54
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o http://new americancentury.org/natooct0897.htm
o Also by tokugawa

Display: Sort:
NATO Expansion in the Post-Cold War Era | 66 comments (40 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
One problem (4.00 / 3) (#12)
by trhurler on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:51:56 PM EST

The existing "new members" were chosen for their modernization and Westernization successes. If you expand, but don't maintain that, then you ARE importing instability instead of exporting stability. I'm not saying you can't do this, but it might take time to do right - just bringing people into NATO is not a magical cure for all ills, even if NATO as it exists IS a stable organization.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Yes, (5.00 / 3) (#14)
by tokugawa on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:55:27 PM EST

I agree. New members must all adhere to specific political, economic, and democratic norms. The process is similar to that of getting into the EU, though much less strenuous. It would be a shame to allow countries like, say, Belarus, into NATO just for political reasons.

[ Parent ]
Heh (5.00 / 1) (#37)
by dj28 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:00:30 PM EST

"It would be a shame to allow countries like, say, Belarus, into NATO just for political reasons."

Hate to break it to you, but NATO is almost completely a political organization in the post-Cold War era. Thus, all decisions made are mainly based on political situations.

[ Parent ]

Points to consider (4.60 / 5) (#15)
by n8f8 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:59:20 PM EST

Recent events have probably deeply impacted the fate of NATO. Since NATO has been turned into just another political forum there will have to be some movement to create a meaningful institution.

Another point to ponder is that established EU countries have been slashing defence spending over the last two decades to the point where they are incapable of providing any meaningful mutual defence assets. This "abidication of responsability" of maintaining defence resources has to impact NATO membership sooner or later.

It could be interresting to try to come to grips with the trends in the development of the EU, NATO and the UN: Power, Defence, Economics and Politics. Will there be conflicts when newer members and applicants to the EU join NATO? Will EU budgeting restrictions impact NATO development and maintenance? Does the UN have any valid role in areas other than humanitarian aid?

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)

NATO is breaking up - maybe (4.40 / 5) (#17)
by drquick on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:40:57 PM EST

All of this article is as if directly quoted out of NATO/Pentagon pamphlets. NATO expansion. Pulling the blanket over all of Europe. Sole alternative heed us, heed us (or is it head us? )

This article does not deal with one issue. France, Belgium and Germany are now discussing a military aliance which threats to replace NATO. The conscious French threat is that NATO has to change or else we will abandon it together with anyone who wants to join.

  • US leadership `not viable' - Irish conventioneer
    The US cannot sustain its current power, so Europe needs to look closely at its future security needs. That was the stark warning from a leading member of the Convention on the Future of Europe, on Tuesday.
  • Berlin backs defence plans outside the EU
    Die Welt writes that enhanced defence co-operation between a small number of countries could become a rival group to NATO since France wants to have a defence Union with several military units parallel to the ones in NATO.
  • Parliament set to vote on common defence
    But strong criticism was voiced by UK Conservative MEP, Geoffrey Van Orden, who accused the report of being a way "to complicate transatlantic relations and to shift away responsibilities from NATO to the EU."
  • EU Observer - defence topic

Exactly (5.00 / 3) (#34)
by Doktor Merkwuerdigliebe on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:50:02 PM EST

The omission of this highly topical issue is primarily why I voted this down. The inclusion of the new members may even speed this process up, as they are seen to be more sympathetic to a strong transatlantic relationship, which now runs increasingly contrary to European interests. Or so it may be seen by some parties.

One other nitpick would be that NATO was not formed to deal with the Warsaw Pact as the text suggests, but rather the Warsaw Pact was formed (in 1955) to counter NATO.

NATO is essentially obsolete and has been since the end of the Cold War. Deciding on where it should go next is difficult because it's an unequal partnership, dominated by the US. As recent events have shown, what is in the interest of the US is not necessarily in the interest of (some) European states. A native defence alliance would cure much of the current headaches (though introduce potential others), but it will take some time. The beginnings are there though and like the single currency (a process that took 30 years and was little more than talk in the beginning) this will likely be a two-speed project spanning decades as well, if only because of the horrible inefficiency of Europe's military capabilities. Until then, expect NATO to survive, with the occasional bickering of course...

Also Sprach Doktor Merkwürdigliebe...
[ Parent ]

EU, US and the new World Order (3.33 / 3) (#18)
by drquick on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:48:15 PM EST

The relationship between Europe and US is crucial to the future of NATO. It's not about an enlargement that faces problems with new members. The old core of NATO is seriously damaged. There is very little trust between Europe and the US, haven't you noticed?

EU, US and the new World Order

The old school (4.50 / 2) (#19)
by tokugawa on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:52:30 PM EST

Actually, this US/EU/NATO schism was happening while I was writing this essay. However, I had a specific question I needed to address in this essay, so I was not free to speak of current issues. I guess I could have worked it in somehow, but it would probably have been superfluous.

[ Parent ]
No (5.00 / 3) (#38)
by dj28 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:07:59 PM EST

You throw around the term "Europe" like the continent is some monolithic political organization with the same political goals. Sorry, but that's simply not true. If the Iraq situation has shown us anything, it's that Europe is more splintered than anyone thought. A lot of Eastern European countries are more eager about joining NATO than the well-established Western nations are.

So when you say "very little trust between Europe and the US", you're really only talking about a handful of nations in Western Europe.

[ Parent ]

Splintered Europe (5.00 / 2) (#51)
by drquick on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 01:56:22 AM EST

If Europe was a united monolithic, transatlantic relations wouldn't be any better. On the contrary a splintered Europe worsens that reelationship a lot. After all that's the major complaint Americans seem to have.

This is nitpick is off the point really: It's a handful of governments and a majority of nations. If we look at the peoples of the nations, Greece, Italy and Spain have huge majorities against US foreign policy. Portugal, Sweden and Finland are quite critical too. As for governments, Belgium, France and Germany only have expressed critisism. The average European is these days against USA's foreign policy.

[ Parent ]

This alienates Europeans from NATO (4.00 / 4) (#20)
by drquick on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 02:58:38 PM EST

Many Europeans regard Americans as arrogant and despotic. There has been a number of issues that have anoyed Euopeans. We have diagreements on the Kyoto treaty, the International Criminal Court, Free trade (recently the US was convicted in the WTO for subsidies to exporting companies), demands on a discount for Cipro while opposing similar demands form Brazil and South Africa, etc.

The new Dept. of Homeland Security is just another cause for anoyment in Europe: EU must guard against security creep. How do you expect all of this to not affect that much touted NATO enlargement?

Integrating Russia into "Europe"? (3.66 / 3) (#22)
by tkatchev on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:20:49 PM EST

What a stupid idea. Russia is bigger and an order of magnitude more diverse than the rest of Europe combined.

The only way Russia and Europe would be integrated is if Russia annexes Europe. Don't worry, though, that is a dumb idea that is in nobody's interest.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.

Good troll! Good troll! (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by i on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:33:26 PM EST

Now figures, please.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
ghod what a retard. (3.00 / 2) (#31)
by tkatchev on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:19:07 PM EST

Here you go.

That link is very much biased, though. In reality, the numbers for ethnic Russians are very much lower; in Soviet times, people of unknown or uncertain ethnicity very billed simply as "Russian" -- to simplify census data.

Me for example -- I am also billed as "Russian" even though I am not quite.

Note that almost all these ethnicities have their own autonomous political and power structures -- i.e. ethnic parliaments, a president, parallel ethinic governments, constitutions, etc.

Also, remember that the huge border between Russia and Central Asia is virtually transparent. Is Europe ready to handle the influx of migrants from e.g. Tajikistan?

P.S. Where do idiots like you come from? What country do you live in anyways?

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

I don't know about other idiots (3.33 / 3) (#33)
by i on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:48:03 PM EST

but this particular idiot, me, comes from Russia. Good luck explaining me things.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
So you're Jewish? (2.00 / 3) (#49)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 01:45:44 AM EST

My, you must be so proud of yourself...

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

The bigger picture (5.00 / 2) (#27)
by tokugawa on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:36:51 PM EST

Some might have said the same thing about French-German cooperation many years ago. Europe is peaceful and prosperous because European states have focused their efforts on cooperative security arrangements rather than military might alone. It makes a lot of sense to, one day, bring Russia into European and Western institutions so as to duplicate this success on a wider scale.

Sure, Russia is different. But if it progresses and becomes "westernized" in a political and economic sense, then anything is possible. Think longterm!

[ Parent ]

You are such an idiot. (2.60 / 5) (#30)
by tkatchev on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:06:28 PM EST

What planet do you live on?

In physical terms, Russia is bigger and more diverse that the rest of Europe combined. How can you integrate Russia "into" Europe? The only path to integration is on equal terms. But even that is unrealistic -- Europe is unready to handle e.g. indiginous Muslim ethnicities from the Caucasus or stone-age indiginous cultures that live in the polar circle.

Besides, to claim that Russia is not "Westernized" already is disingenous to say the least. In fact, it is downright idiotic. You must have confused Russia with Turkey or something.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

well, it depends (none / 0) (#32)
by minerboy on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:39:59 PM EST

Russia is big in land only, diverse, and POOR. do a quick comparison of the GDP's for instance. Russia and France are about the same even though Russia has about 3 times as many people. The Per capita GDP is about 1/3 of France.

On the other hand, Given Russia's undeveloped natural resources, it may be a power house someday, if it can ever develop a viable economic system. The Russians would do well to work more with the U.S. along these lines since the european economies are faltering

[ Parent ]
GDP means nothing. (none / 0) (#50)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 01:46:55 AM EST

It is a measure of currency exchange disbalance only.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

? nutter (none / 0) (#52)
by melia on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 05:58:12 AM EST

maybe i'm being stupid, explain this please?
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]
Sure. (none / 0) (#54)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 08:45:11 AM EST

Imagine a farmer somewhere in, say, butt-end Uganda. Now imagine that this farmer grew one tonne of corn, sold it for $3 in local currency, and then proceeded to buy a flock of sheep for that money.

Now imagine a PR-manager from Lower Manhattan who spent $3000 on a psychoanalysis treatment.

Now calculate the GDP of both situations. It turns out that the GDP of the PR-manager is one thousand times bigger.

Does that mean that the manager is one thousand times richer? One thousand times more "developed"? One thousand times more efficient?

Not really. All it means is that the subjective value of $1 in Lower Manhattan is one thousand times smaller when compared to butt-end Uganda.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

To be more specific (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by minerboy on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 09:54:25 AM EST

The values I used were scaled for Purchasing power paritySo the GDP IS a good starting point to compare countries. We could also compare by adding things like quality of health care, infant mortality, and life expectancy

In all these categories Russia is significantly worse than even Greece. So Russia is like a promising child, that has had bad parents. It may learn how to take advantage of its resources and intelligence (maybe some mathematicians and Chess players can become good economists), or it may descend further into corruption and become a real third world country. In any case it is not really the equal of any of the major european countries

[ Parent ]
Purchasing power parity? (none / 0) (#56)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 10:15:22 AM EST

What the hell is that?

And does it account for insurance, housing and taxes? What about the barter and natural economies?

Besides, Russia can never be "equal" to any European country precisely because Russia is a vastly bigger and more diverse federalized entity.

Comparing tiny France to a huge trans-continental entity that has about one hundred times bigger and more complicated in land area, ethnic makeup and political structure is disingenious to say the least.

As for Greece -- it is smaller, both in terms of area and in terms of population, than a couple of large Russian cities. Moscow alone has a bigger population than all of Greece, while Moscow remains an order of magnitude more diverse ethnically.

In short, you need to compare comparable entities and to stop spouting idiotic ideological cliches that you pulled out of your ass. (Or perhaps it is your local newspaper?)

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Bigger isn't always better (none / 0) (#58)
by minerboy on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 02:24:23 PM EST

you say - "Russia is a vastly bigger" - but so what, most of that land is virtually useless, then you say - "and more diverse federalized entity" - but so what, the diversity is mostly a disadvantage, since the different ethnic groups don't work together very well (which seems odd, because the distinction between different ethnic groups there is so small as to be barely noticable on a global scale).

Bottom line is that Russia has nothing that makes it very powerful right now except maybe nuclear weapons, and so needs to kiss NATO's Ass if it has any hope of modernizing and becoming influential again. But Putin doesn't seem much like Peter the Great.

[ Parent ]
Hello idiot with cliche for brains. (1.00 / 2) (#59)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 02:29:20 PM EST

I wasn't talking about "better". Not to mention that "better" is a completely personal, subjective qualification. And I won't even touch upon the fact that you seem to have some sort of secondary product from the Fox Channel instead of a brain, 'cause that is your own problem.

Have a nice day. And lose the retarded Cold War mentality, BTW.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Yesyesnopenope nutter (none / 0) (#61)
by melia on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 10:13:41 AM EST

Does that mean that the manager is one thousand times richer?

Well yes. If you're saying what I think you're trying to say, then this PR-manager, who has the money to spend on psychoanalysis treatment is richer than the Ugandan farmer. The pr-manager could buy 1000 sheep. So in purchasing parity terms, of course he's richer. Perhaps i'm being even more stupid, but I really don't understand what you're getting at here.

GDP is not a measure of "currency disbalance" (which surely should be "unbalance" anyway) but a measure of the value added throughout production processes. Look up "national income accounting" if you want to understand more about the wealth of nations.

And incidentally, GDP isn't about the subjective value of anything, is it.
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]

No. You are wrong on many points. (none / 0) (#62)
by tkatchev on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 12:20:08 PM EST

You see, the farmer in Uganda could get a psychoanalysis treatment for something like $0.30 in local currency. Whereas $1000 in Lower Manhattan terms is hardly enough to buy a flock of sheep; sheep are relatively expensive, you know.

Effectively, this means that the subjective value of $1 in Uganda is several orders of magnitude larger than the corresponding subjective value of $1 in Lower Manhattan.

P.S. I didn't even touch upon the question of whether psychoanalysis treatments should rightly be counted as a "product". (Gross domestic product, you know?)

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

What? (none / 0) (#65)
by melia on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 08:47:20 AM EST

You're a terrible troll. I'm not saying you shouldn't have an opinion, but if you're going to talk about something you should at least try to study the basics.
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]
Yes. (none / 0) (#66)
by tkatchev on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 09:00:14 AM EST

So you resort to namecalling. Does that mean that you ran out of arguments? Or that you simply didn't understand what I said?

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Russia is varied (4.00 / 1) (#43)
by MSBob on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 08:32:26 PM EST

Just like you yourself said, Russia is big and diverse. Diverse in cultural and economic terms. Moscow or St. Petersburg are very modern metropolis and the lifestyle there isn't THAT much different from most western cities. But now travel to some rural post Kovhoz town and tell me that Russia is already 'westernized'.

Everyone in the world wants a stable and prosperous Russia. Especially the neighbouring states. But they will treat Russia with caution because being next to Russia is like sleeping with an elephant. Every move, every grunt, no matter how benign is going to impact you. And most countries don't want to be next to an elephant that has rabies. So get on with it and curb that crime a bit. Oh, and don't pick another nutcase for a president... ever.

I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
Purely depends (none / 0) (#41)
by MSBob on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 08:23:56 PM EST

on who's going to run Russia. Putin's been great so far - cool as a cucumber. Yeltsin on the other hand... well he seemed a little bit on the unstable side.

Besides if Beria didn't order Stalin killed Russia would have likely tried to conquer more European states.

I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
changing times? (3.62 / 8) (#26)
by cronian on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:35:36 PM EST

Remember, France and Germany almost tried to stop NATO from defending Turkey. In the end Germany backed down, and France couldn't really do anything anyway. Besides, they seem to end up assisting behind the scenes anyway since they are not (yet?) able to assume their own security. However, these sorts of things indicate a weakening of NATO.

Opposition to the Iraq war, has been leading closer ties between Russia, Germany, and France. NATO is important because it ties America to Europe. Should the US pull its troops out of Germany?

NATO expansion has made Eastern European states reliant on the United States for security--albeit greater expense for the United States. However, if a greater European alliance truly emerged, it would likely be a more logical candidate for providing European secuirty. This sort of new European security could have the potential to challenge US political potential.

We perfect it; Congress kills it; They make it; We Import it; It must be anti-Americanism
Pulling out from Germany -> loss of income (none / 0) (#28)
by drquick on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:52:14 PM EST

Should the US pull its troops out of Germany?
Such a pullout would have considerable economic influence on Germany. The German government would really not like income (yes, income) from the US bases to disapear, since the economic crisis would get worse.

I suspect the US will pull out at least some troops, if just only to retalliate against Germany for it's anti-war stance.

[ Parent ]

Troops pulled form Germany go into Eastern Europe (none / 0) (#63)
by kamil on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 12:49:37 PM EST

The troops that US pulls from Germany will probably go to Eastern Europe most likly Poland.

Advantages to US:
+Punishes Germany
+Rent on bases, supplies are cheaper in low cost Poland
+Strengthens Polish-US and Eastern European-US relations
+Rewards Poland and Eastern (New) Europe for support in Iraq
+Poland is more centrally located and closer to potential trouble spots than Germany as well.
+Poland would not ban (unless the most dire circumstances) US forces from operating from US bases in Poland, as Germany might for political reasons ban US forces in Germany supporting an attack on Iraq.

Advantages to Poland:
+Strengthens polish US Ties
+Provides the strongest defensive ties possible a strong defensive alliance with allied troops on your the ground, any attack on Poland would mean US troops would be already fighting and dieing with their allies, absolutely committing the US to defense of Poland. (Such posture by France and UK in 1939 would most likely deterred German aggression and stopped WW2)
+Strengthens NATO
+Economic boost to Poland for housing US troops
+Poland has lost of old Red army bases (cities really) that are now empty and would be more than willing to rent out to US
+US would likely improve Polish infrastructure to support US troops and Army

No Eastern European country Especially Poland would join or support German-French defensive alliance over NATO; it is not credible all these countries are trying to strengthen transatlantic ties. This is the strongest reason they support US and send troops to Iraq, Afghanistan.

The majority of the EU - UK, Spain, Portugal, ?Italy?, and all the new EU member states are pro NATO.

France and Germany are not Europe or even the EU, the EU is an organization of all of Europe not some private playground run by the German and French leaders.

[ Parent ]

I don't care about Poland (none / 0) (#64)
by drquick on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 02:16:11 PM EST

You didn't list disadvantages to Germany. Germans want the money form the bases, but they want nothing to do with US military pre-emptiveness. Germans are pacifists. The US wont miss that chance to strife Germany.

I don't care about Poland or US play with European splinterdness. The Easten Europan countries are still innocent virgins when it comes to US policies. They have no idea how hard it will be to back out, if needed.

[ Parent ]

nothing ever changes (4.75 / 4) (#48)
by felixrayman on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 01:27:29 AM EST

That's ridiculous. France and Germany didn't try to stop NATO from defending Turkey, France and Germany refused to send military forces to the country the United States was planning on using as a staging ground against Iraq under what have turned out to be utterly false pretenses. If there was a threat to Turkey, France and Germany would have been more than happy to have NATO send whatever forces were needed to protect it.

Remember, at this point in time, the US was still trying to find a peaceful end to the confrontation through inspections. You remember that, right? It wasn't like the US had some plan to invade Iraq no matter what and was just using trumped up charges of possession of doomsday weapons that could threaten the US as some sort of propaganda tool to convince the UN to rubber stamp an invasion it had decided on years ago. Right?

It is fucking amazing how soon the facts of the past disappear down the memory hole. Just fucking amazing.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
offense vs. defense (5.00 / 2) (#57)
by cronian on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 12:18:16 PM EST

You missed my point. Everyone pretty much knew at the time, Bush was determined to attack Iraq. In the US we call all military action defense. We have the defense department. The PNAC's plan for global military dominance is called "Rebuilding America's Defenses." We have a plan for a national missile defense system which would allow a potential first strike capability. Anyway, NATO is and was supposed to allow the US to dominate European security I.E. Have the US pay for and decide what wars Europe is involved with, defend Europe against Russia, etc. When European powers decided to oppose the US in NATO, they drew into question the alliance, because their actions violated NATO's purpose.

We perfect it; Congress kills it; They make it; We Import it; It must be anti-Americanism
[ Parent ]
Nato expansion (4.57 / 7) (#36)
by MSBob on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 05:32:19 PM EST

The chief reason that Poland, Chech Republic and Hungary were so eager to join NATO was very simple. Put it bluntly: they are still scared shitless of Russian imperialism.

Regardless of whether that threat is real or perceived or not this is how most people feel in the region. They haven't forgotten 50 years of repression and puppet governments in a hurry. They view NATO as absolutely crucial to their security because they lack confidence in a unified European defence force. And frankly if the past is anything to go by they are probably right in being sceptical.

I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

Its understandable (4.00 / 1) (#53)
by bil on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 07:59:07 AM EST

I've meet Poles who still hold a grudge against the French and British for failing to defend them against the Nazis and even worse leaving them to the Soviets when the Nazis were defeated. I dont know about the Czechs but I could understand if they felt the same. The truth is that France/UK couldn't have thrown the Soviets out of Eastern Europe in 1945, and the Poles accept this, but why now put your trust in those who have failed you in the past because they lacked the will and the power when you can tie yourself to the US (through NATO) which does have the power and get the main European countries thrown in as a bonus.


Where you stand depends on where you sit...
[ Parent ]

NATO Expansion in the Post-Cold War Era | 66 comments (40 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
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