NATO's Changing Role

August 21, 1992 • Volume 2, Issue 31
Does the old Atlantic alliance have a post-Cold War role?
By Mary H. Cooper


In 1949, the United States, Canada and 10 European nations established the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to defend North America and Europe from Soviet aggression. For more than 40 years, the U.S. dominated alliance helped keep the Cold War cold. With the demise of the Soviet Union and the disbanding of its Eastern European alliance, the Warsaw Pact, the old military threats virtually disappeared. But even as other threats to European security are arising, such as the savage fighting in the former Yugoslavia, alliance members on both sides of the Atlantic are expressing uncertainty about NATO's relevance in the new Europe. Moreover, some European members are seeking greater autonomy from the United States and a greater defense role for distinctly European organizations.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Jan. 2009  Future of NATO
Feb. 28, 2003  Future of NATO
May 16, 1997  Expanding NATO
Aug. 21, 1992  NATO's Changing Role
Mar. 22, 1974  Faltering NATO Alliance
Nov. 18, 1964  Reconstruction of NATO
Oct. 24, 1956  Future of NATO
Alliances and Security Agreements