The authors argue that with the end of the Cold War, the Mediterranean, which had often been considered Europe's strategic backwater, is now a region where the Alliance may be most likely to face new challenges. However, U.S. and European allies lack a shared view of the problems in the area and hence a coordinated strategy to deal with them. NATO's recent Mediterranean initiative represents an important step in the right direction although there is as yet no clear consensus on the content or ultimate aim of this initiative. NATO enlargement to the East should remain a top priority but it needs to be complemented by a greater outreach to the South if these new challenges are to be managed. While this article is intended to contribute to a discussion of these issues, it does not necessarily reflect the views of member governments or of NATO.