Prospects for NATO Enlargement: examining the "big bang" approach
Moyer, Andrew J.
Yost, David S.
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In March 1999, NATO admitted the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland as its first new members since the collapse of the Soviet empire. As the 2002 NATO summit approaches, nine countries (Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia) aspire to membership. Led by the Baltic states, these nine countries have signed the May 2000 Vilnius Declaration, advocating the admission of all nine aspirants simultaneously, a so called "big bang" approach to the next round of NATO enlargement. This thesis examines the "big bang" approach to NATO enlargement as well as the prospects for the current candidate countries. Allied and aspirant arguments in the enlargement debate are discussed as well as key issues concerning NATO-Russian relations. The thesis concludes that, while NATO is well advised to remain open to further enlargement, the Alliance is unlikely to pursue the "big bang" approach, owing to the political, financial, and strategic implications that enlargement would entail. Indeed, the Allies may conclude at their 2002 summit that it would be premature to undertake further near-term enlargement.
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