• Julie GareyEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in International Relations book series (PSIR)


This chapter presents the central framework of the book and its two driving questions: why has the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance persisted in the post-Cold War era? And why is NATO persistence important to the United States? The 1999 Kosovo intervention, the 2001 war in Afghanistan, the United States’ invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the 2011 intervention in Libya signified watershed moments for the alliance, and analysis of these events reveals a connection between the alliance’s persistence and its US relationship. Each engagement allowed the allies to regroup and reassess NATO’s political and military needs. Empowered in part by its hegemonic status and its historical relationship with the alliance, the United States used these moments to shape an institution favorable to its interests. Because the allies accepted American demands for institutional reforms, the United States perceived it as increasingly more capable of engaging in conflict. Further, as each case reveals, the United States derived tangible and intangible benefits from NATO in the form of legitimacy enhancement, appearance of conformity to international norms, and political and military capability enhancement. Thus, the United States continues to value the alliance, provide monetary and military resources to improve the alliance’s utility in conflict, and ensure its persistence.


  1. Armstrong, David, and Theo Farrell. 2005. Force and Legitimacy in World Politics: Introduction. Review of International Studies 31 (S1): 3–13. Scholar
  2. Attanasio, J.B., and J.J. Norton. 2004. Multilateralism V Unilateralism: Policy Choices in a Global Society. London: The British Institute of International and Comparative Law.Google Scholar
  3. Bjola, Corneliu. 2009. Legitimising the Use of Force in International Politics, Contemporary Security Studies. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Braun, Aurel. 2008. NATO-Russia Relations in the Twenty-First Century. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Buchanan, Allen. 2010. Human Rights, Legitimacy, and the Use of Force. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Chan, Sewell. 2016. Donald Trump’s Remarks Rattle NATO Allies and Stoke Debate on Cost Sharing. The New York Times, July 21.
  7. Civic, Melanne A., and Michael Miklaucic. 2011. Monopoly of Force: The Nexus of DDR and SSR. Washington, DC: National Defense University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Coicaud, Jean-Marc, and Veijo Heiskanen. 2001. The Legitimacy of International Organizations. New York: The United Nations University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Flenley, Paul. 2009. Russia and NATO: The Need for a New Security Relationship. The Magazine of International Affairs Forum: NATO at Sixty, Spring.Google Scholar
  10. Freisleben, Shanya. A Guide to Trump’s Past Comments About NATO. CBS News, Last Modified April 12. Accessed 30 Aug 2017.
  11. Goldgeier, James. 2009. NATO Enlargement and Russia. The Magazine of International Affairs Forum: NATO at Sixty, Spring.Google Scholar
  12. Hancock, Jan. 2007. Human Rights and US Foreign Policy. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Hurd, Ian. 1999. Legitimacy and Authority in International Politics. International Organization 53 (2): 379–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Johnson, Jenna. 2017. Trump on NATO: ‘I Said It Was Obsolete. It’s No Longer Obsolete. The Washington Post, April 12.
  15. Kreps, Sarah E. 2011. Coalitions of Convenience: United States Military Interventions After the Cold War. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ku, Charlotte, and Harold K. Jacobsen. 2002. Democratic Accountability and the Use of Force in International Law. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Londoño, Ernesto. 2014. The U.S. Wants Its Allies to Spend More on Defense. The Washington Post, March 26.
  18. NATO. Brussels Summit Declaration. Last Modified Aug 30, 2018. Accessed 9 Mar 2019.
  19. ———. 2019. NATO Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS). Accessed 8 Mar 2019.
  20. NATO Parliamentary Assembly. 2015. Policy Recommendations Adopted by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in 2015. Accessed 8 Mar 2019.
  21. Nau, Henry. 2009. Whither NATO: Alliance, Democracy, or U.N.? The Magazine of International Affairs Forum: NATO at Sixty, Spring.Google Scholar
  22. Nuccitelli, Dana. 2017. NATO Joins the Pentagon in Deeming Climate Change a Threat Multiplier. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
  23. Pourchot, Georgeta. 2009. Collision Course: NATO, Russian, and the Former Communist Block in the 21st Century. The Magazine of International Affairs Forum: NATO at Sixty, Spring.Google Scholar
  24. Rafferty, Kirsten. 2003. An Institutionalist Reinterpretation of Cold War Alliance Systems: Insights for Alliance Theory. Canadian Journal of Political Science 36 (2): 341–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Reisman, W. Michael, and Scott Shuchart. 2004. Unilateral Action in an Imperfect World Order. In Multilateralism V Unilateralism: Policy Choices in a Global Society, ed. J.B. Attanasio and J.J. Norton. London: The British Institute of International and Comparative Law.Google Scholar
  26. Shea, Neil. 2018. Scenes from the New Cold War Unfolding at the Top of the World. National Geographic.
  27. Smale, Alison, and Steven Erlanger. 2017. Merkel, After Discordant G7 Meeting, Is Looking Past Trump. The New York Times, May 28.
  28. Stoltenberg, Jens. 2014. Keynote Address by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Last Modified Nov 24, 2014. Accessed 5 July 2017.
  29. Strategic Airlift Capability Program, n.d. The Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC). Accessed 9 Mar 2019.
  30. The Economist. 2017. Military Spending by NATO Members. February 16.
  31. Vershbow, Alexander. 2015. Deputy Secretary General: Russia’s Aggression Is a Game-Changer in European Security. Accessed 5 July 2017.
  32. Weitsman, Patricia. 2010. Wartime Alliances Versus Coalition Warfare. Strategic Studies Quarterly 4 (2): 113–136.Google Scholar
  33. ———. 2014. Waging War: Alliances, Coalitions, and Institutions of Interstate Violence. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA

Personalised recommendations