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Sustaining NATO by consultation: hard choices for Europe

  • Sten RynningEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

NATO allies have since the inception of the alliance sought to establish an Atlanticist habit of political consultation to prevent political go-it-alone drift on the part of key allies and help define NATO in regard to major strategic issues. Today, observers dispute the ability of Atlanticism to sustain the Alliance. This article reviews the history and current politics of Atlanticist consultations to assess the conditions under which consultations are most likely to serve as a force of alliance continuity. The article argues that European allies have become accustomed to an incremental Atlanticist approach that no longer serves them well. Reviewing Atlanticist history, the article suggests how Europe can leap forward to revive the tradition of consultations. It involves a balancing act for Europe between on the one hand expanded power to manage global issues such as the rise of China and on the other limited ambitions of strategic autonomy. NATO’s future ability to sustain itself by political consultations, the article argues, is hostage to this balancing act and the support accorded to it by all allies.

Keywords

NATO Europe Atlanticism Consultations Atlanticist Harmel Wise men Brosio 

Notes

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© The Editor of the Journal 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Southern DenmarkOdense CDenmark

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