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Abstract

NATO's success in Afghanistan — or lack thereof — will have significant implications for the alliance itself. Success could promote the image of a capable global security alliance. Failure, or even an indeterminate outcome, would cloud the alliance's own future. The authors examine the risks, commitments, and obligations of the current mission in light of NATO's history and with an eye toward the future, as well as the effects on the alliance's internal dynamics. Drawing on a wide range of sources, the authors describe how NATO came to be involved, concerns and tensions that have developed over the investments and risks that member and nonmember states have in the operation, management of the expectations of nations and peoples, and the need for a coherent, comprehensive, and coordinated long-term strategy. The list of issues NATO faces is long and daunting and extends beyond the borders of the member countries. If the goal is indeed to look toward the future, however, the alliance must confront them; failure to do so would risk the long-term success and sustainability of the alliance.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    The NATO That Once Was

  • Chapter Three

    Redefining NATO's Role: 9/11 to Afghanistan

  • Chapter Four

    A Greater Role for NATO in Afghanistan

  • Chapter Five

    Risking NATO in Afghanistan

  • Chapter Six

    What Might Be Next for NATO?

The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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