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The Future of NATO Enlargement

14 pages, pdf
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The Future of NATO Enlargement

Volume: 14 pages, pdf


The accession of the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland as members of the Atlantic Alliance in early 1999 has settled the question over whether NATO should expand. While critics of enlargement derided the NATO decision, in the words of George Kennan, as “the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-cold-war era,” the sixteen NATO governments thought otherwise when they agreed in July 1997 to invite three new countries to join the Alliance. In making this invitation, the allied leaders underscored that this was only the beginning of the process by reaffirming “that NATO remains open to new members,” a commitment that itself is enshrined in Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty. Nine other European states have formally applied for Alliance membership: Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Over time, traditionally neutral countries that recently joined the European Union (Austria, Finland, and Sweden) might also wish to join a growing Euro-Atlantic security organization.