Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management

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Volume 2 Issue 1 (March 1994), Pages 1-60

Europe's Jurassic Park? NATO and the End of the Cold War (pages 21-30)

The end of the Cold War posed a threat to NATO's continued existence: without the Soviet Union to deter, what role did NATO have? This article argues that NATO survived the immediate aftermath of the Cold War for a number of short‐term reasons, but addressed the longer‐term question of its survival primarily through changing its goals rather than its structure. In particular, it developed two new goals: a new political role involving dialogue and limited cooperation with the former Warsaw Pact states; and a capability to intervene in conflicts in Europe or elsewhere (for missions ranging from peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance to the defence of strategic interests). Both of these new roles have proved problematic, however. Although NATO's continued survival seems assured through the lack of neither a serious competitor nor any convincing reason to abandon it, its continued importance cannot be guaranteed.

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