RUSI NewsbriefVOLUME 27ISSUE 1members only

Back to Basics at NATO: Burden-Sharing and Alliance Raison d’être


Whilst there is widespread agreement that the Alliance’s mission in Afghanistan must succeed or NATO’s future will be dealt a fatal blow, beyond this, the same old problems continue to haunt the Alliance. If allowed to fester, they may ultimately jeopardize the ISAF operation.

While it was disagreements over burdensharing that characterized NATO’s history until 1991, it is debate over the Alliance’s strategic direction and purpose that have plagued NATO throughout the post-Cold War era. For much of the 1990s, enlargement was viewed by a significant contingent as a temptation to be resisted for fear of undermining Alliance cohesion, while the majority argued NATO’s door had to be opened to Central and Eastern Europe. More recently, disputes over the

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