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The Role For Nato In The Modern World

1912 words - 8 pages

The Possibility of a Role for NATO in International Relations

When NATO was founded in 1949, it had a clearly defined role. It was
an alliance for collective security against the USSR and the Warsaw
Pact, whereby if one member state was attacked, the rest would come to
her aid under article 5. Since the fall of the Soviet Union and the
end of the Cold War, however, the role of NATO has become a great deal
less clearly defined, since its members no longer really have any need
for a defensive alliance. Indeed, operations such as those in Bosnia
and Kosovo have suggested that for from being a defensive alliance,
NATO may have some kind of future as an offensive alliance. There are
also now doubts, however, over whether the futures of Europe and the
United States are bound together as they were during the Cold War, and
many European countries now pursue radically different, more
pacifistic foreign policies to that of America. Many people now fell,
therefore, that NATO is nothing more than an anachronistic hangover
from the Cold War with no real future. Others would say, however, that
organisations such as NATO and the UN are still crucial in the modern
world to ensure that countries do not act unilaterally, but co-operate
with allies. It is first perhaps worth considering in what way NATO's
role in the modern world is changing.

As has already been said, NATO may no longer really be viewed as a
defensive organisation. This is not to say that it no longer has a
credible role, however, and many would argue that it can be used as a
useful tool in solving international problems. There are several
examples of this suggestion in action. For instance, in 1995 the
former Yugoslavia descended into anarchy. When the UN failed to keep
the warring factions apart, with thousands of Moslems being massacred
at the supposed safe-haven of Srebronica, NATO decided to launch an
offensive against Bosnian Serb positions in August and September,
thereby bringing the Serb leadership quickly to the negotiating table.
This resulted in the Dayton Ohio Accords, which received peace in the
region, and with NATO upheld with 20,000 soldiers who were deployed to
the area. This was a great success that arguably wouldn't have been
possible without the intervention of a multilateral organisation such
as NATO which, unlike the UN, could feasibly have an offensive
mandate. Indeed, it essentially marked the rebirth of NATO as an
offensive organisation, and it was the first time that NATO forces had
been used in an aggressive manner. This has led to numerous cases of a
similar nature. For instance, in 1999 in Kosovo, when it became widely
feared that the Serbian government was beginning to initiate policies
of ethnic cleansing and possible even genocide in its province of
Kosovo, NATO intervened once again. By early 1999 it...

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