NATO Expansion: The United States and the Enlargement Debate

IN THE TWO YEARS SINCE U.S. PRESIDENT BILL Clinton said that the question of expanding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization “is no longer whether NATO will take on new members, but when and how,” the issue has become much more complex.1 In recent months, NATO expansion has raised many questions in the U.S. Congress and in the international and domestic media. The questions have broadened from when and how to expand to the more fundamental issue of whether it is at all desirable to expand the alliance. Other factors, such as Russia’s shriller and more threatening opposition to the idea, are also raising concerns. And a few former members of the Soviet bloc are worried that admitting some countries into NATO might jeopardize the security of those remaining outside the organization.