Overhauling the alliance: getting back to basics

by David Ochmanek

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This paper describes threats to allied security that may persist at least through the 1990s. It emphasizes that currently fashionable talk about a new "European pillar" to the alliance will not help meet these challenges. Two types of threats persist in the East--the residual threat posed by the Soviet Union and, more important, the possibility that political and economic reform will fail in the newly liberated nations of Central and Eastern Europe. Threats from the Maghreb, the Middle East, and the Persian Gulf regions include terrorism, subversion of or aggression against pro-Western regimes, immigration pressures, blackmail based on oil dependence, or threats to use weapons of mass destruction. Finally, the allies' long-term strategy must not overlook global threats--e.g., the spread of weapons of mass destruction, access to critical raw materials, terrorism, environmental deterioration, unfair trade practices, and expanding populations--which can only be met via effective cooperation. (Presented at a conference on the future of NATO, sponsored by the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House), May 11-12, 1991.)

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