Quo Vadis NATO? collective defense, collective security, and the Euro-Atlantic realm in the second decade of the 21st century
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After September 11, the emergence of global terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and dramatic changes in the security environment led once again to debate about the future of NATO. The U.S.Ã¢ led Iraq War deepened the debate and created one of the gravest crises in the history of the Alliance. Although the Alliance experienced a difficult period, it managed to carry out its ongoing transformation efforts to meet the new challenges. At the Istanbul Summit of 2004, the first NATO meeting since the onset of the Iraq crisis, leaders of the Alliance acknowledged their commitment to meeting these new challenges. This thesis argues that the Iraq crisis was mainly a product of leadership failures and that a strategic divorce for the Alliance in the near future seems very unlikely. Within this context, the thesis also analyzes the nature of the Iraq crisis and the ties that bind NATO members on both sides of the Atlantic. Given the steps taken by NATO in its transformation, the changing security environment, and the United StatesÃ¢ and EuropeÃ¢ s unique strategic cultures, the thesis concludes that, while maintaining its original collective defense commitment, NATO will now also perform a collective security function throughout a broader region, especially in the Middle East and Northern Africa.
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