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  • Print publication year: 2003
  • Online publication date: July 2009

1 - The Pros and Cons of Further Enlargement


In 1999 three East-Central European countries – the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland – joined NATO. Less than a decade prior to the Alliance's enlargement, these three states (the Czech Republic then was still a part of Czechoslovakia) were members of NATO's Cold War nemesis, the Warsaw Pact. The expansion of NATO was the result of a controversial decision surrounded by much public debate. Because this debate is quite relevant to the matter of the Alliance's further expansion, I will briefly revisit the reasoning of its supporters and detractors in Part I of this chapter.

NATO leaders and, more importantly, politicians in Washington, have committed themselves to further expand the Alliance. In June 2002 President George W. Bush signed a measure supporting NATO's enlargement. In October 2002 the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution which recommended a “big bang” expansion at the Prague NATO Summit in the following month. Although this decision is just as important as the first round of enlargement was, the debate concerning the desirability of additional expansion has been at best muted. It seems as if scholars, pundits, and public policy experts had said all they wanted to say about NATO enlargement already in the 1990s. In Part II I will examine the arguments (and the logic behind them) for and against the additional expansion of the Alliance. Moreover, I will briefly address such related issues as the future expansion of the European Union and Russian views of NATO expansion.