The Atlantic Defense Relationship: Core, Troubles, Prospects.

by Horst Mendershausen

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The Atlantic Alliance is viewed as having a sound core and a persistent malaise. The sound core consists of the common need to create a steady military counterweight to Soviet power. The malaise results from the unresolvable conflict between the unity requirements of the security bond and the political separateness of the states it is supposed to hold together. The conflict has run along several fissure lines, some geographic, some functional. The resulting irritating issues have eroded the core of the alliance and made it vulnerable. But since what ails the alliance is not so much international but domestic malfunctions, the author points out what appears to be a necessary condition for its survival; states must solve their domestic problems. Failure of the liberal order in the Western countries today threatens their security more fundamentally than do their differences over diplomacy, alliance strategy, and national defense efforts. 9 pp.

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