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NATO Enlargement Reloaded

21 pages, pdf
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NATO Enlargement Reloaded

Publisher: NATO Defense College

Volume: 21 pages, pdf


The dispute about who will become a new NATO member and when is set to make it back on the transatlantic agenda. Debates in the Alliance have for years been dominated by the operations in Afghanistan or the evolution of NATO’s partnership approach, but now the enlargement question is coming up again and might lead to strong disagreements among the allies. All NATO nations certainly concur that the door for new members should remain open; the question is which countries should join the Alliance, and when?

At NATO’s Chicago Summit in May 2012, US Foreign Secretary Hillary Clinton suggested that Chicago should be the last NATO summit not explicitly focusing on enlargement.2 From this statement, which went largely unnoticed by the public, it can be logically inferred that all forthcoming summits should deal with inviting new members to join NATO, showing the degree of emphasis the US government is set to place on the enlargement issue in the coming years. Even if a statement of this kind in Chicago – in the midst of the presidential campaign and at the first NATO summit on US territory since 1999 – is partly directed to a domestic audience, it still shows the current mood in US political circles: NATO enlargement is regarded as a unique benefit, and the United States sees itself as the spearhead of the movement in favor of this.