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NATO For the 21st Century: Ensuring Liberal Democracy In Europe


Published: October 30, 2017

NATO was originally founded after World War II to ensure that liberal democracy survived in Europe. While the fall of the Soviet Union may have led many to question whether NATO is still necessary, its mission remains vital and relevant. NATO should resist the temptation to expand its geographic focus.

Discussion Questions

  1. What are some of NATO’s recent achievements?
  2. Can NATO reform itself to refocus its mission back toward Europe?
  3. What are the downsides to NATO engaging its forces outside of Europe?
View Transcript


Is NATO still necessary? 

Before we answer that, let’s talk about the original purpose of NATO: 

It was founded after WWII to keep Russia out of Eastern Europe, the United states in, and Germany down. Throughout the Cold War, it served as a key buffer against commuist expansion west of the Iron Curtain. 

Eventually, the Soviet Union fell and NATO membership expanded to include most countries who were formerly part of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. 

But it’s become clear that not all of those countries share NATO’s commitment to liberal democracy...  which dilutes its ability to prevent authoritarian governments from expanding in Europe 

So back to our original question... do we still need NATO? 

The answer is yes. A united Europe offers greater advantages for the United States than a divided Europe. 

And widespresad liberal democracy has continued to be a cornerstone of our national interest. 

But NATO must reform. It must return its focus to the original mission of widespread democracy by ensuring that each country is committed to it. This would help NATO protect liberty and security for its member nations.