NATO enlargement eastwards and NATO/Russia relations

Fecha de publicación:
Paul Gebhard

In response to the topic to be addressed, I’d like to touch on three broad areas. First, the why of NATO enlargement and the specific benefits the U.S. sees; second, a number of post-Madrid issues, or post-enlargement issues ( what are going to be the key questions that each member of the Alliance is going to have to face); and third, provide a brief overview of the NATO-Russia Founding Act and some of its key provisions. So, first to the why of NATO enlargement as far as the U.S. is concerned. The U.S. sees the great opportunity for democratic reform in Central and Eastern Europe fomented by enlargement. The opportunity to join NATO clearly has served as an impetus for democratic change in a number of countries, specifically for greater civilian control over the military, greater parliamentary oversight, and the creation of transparent political processes. I believe this can be seen in new countries like Slovenia, where there are wonderful opportunities to build a new government from the ground up. It can be seen very clearly in countries like Poland, about which, up until three or four months ago, there were very deep concerns in the West concerning democratic control of the military. I think it’s quite clear that as a direct result of western criticism over the way Poland was conducting its military affairs, the Polish government took very important steps to reform the defense bureaucracy and firmly establish civilian control over the military.