Thank goodness for NATO enlargement

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What have been the consequences of NATO enlargement for European security? To the vindication of its critics, the consequences appear disastrous. Insecurity pervades Europe while NATO is in crisis with a Russia justifiably aggrieved by broken promises and the overreach of liberal hegemony. This insecurity is especially troubling because NATO’s newer commitments are indefensible. In this essay, I evaluate these criticisms of NATO enlargement and advance three claims. First, intentionally or not, NATO enlargement has fulfilled a reasonable need to hedge against Russian resurgence. Critics of NATO enlargement themselves conceded that Russia could become revisionist once it reconstitutes itself. Second, NATO enlargement still allows for mutually beneficial cooperation with Russia. It has not been responsible for Russia’s internal political development and aggressive foreign policy choices. Finally, NATO enlargement does not necessitate expensive deterrence measures to secure its most vulnerable members. NATO enlargement thus has hugely benefited European security.




Lanoszka, A. (2020). Thank goodness for NATO enlargement. International Politics, 57(3), 451–470.

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