NATO enlargement after the cold war contributed to the democratic transformation of post-communist states. It failed, however, to generate a larger consensus on the shared mission and to provide the requisite military capabilities. Today, notwithstanding the rhetoric of unity after the 2008 Bucharest summit, NATO struggles to reconcile the out-of-area experience of the Balkan wars with its post-9/11 tasks and the renewed territorial defense concerns raised by the 2008 Russo-Georgian war. Paradoxically, the more NATO has expanded to foster the military–political security of the new democratic states of eastern and south-eastern Europe, the less it seems capable of dealing with real security threats such as Afghanistan. Facing the possible strategic failure of its ISAF mission, NATO needs to re-evaluate the policy track chosen post-1989.