Despite concerns about its future, recent developments are giving NATO renewed relevance. The January, 1994, NATO summit in Europe identified several roles appropriate for the alliance to fulfill in order to maintain post-Cold War importance. One challenge is maintenance of the traditional role in the wake of recent Russian elections: protecting established democratic nations in Europe and buttressing the newly emerging democratic societies and deterring a potentially reassertive Moscow. Another challenge is finding ways to resolve the potential crises of ethnic instabilities in Europe, especially Eastern Europe, without undercutting the unity of the alliance. Events in the former Yugoslavia have exposed deep rifts between NATO countries on the present and future role of the alliance in dealing with a changing European theater. Underlying all of these challenges is the realization that the United States is consigning itself to more of an international partnership role rather than leadership role in the performance of North Atlantic Treaty Organization objectives.
The purpose of this research is to examine the changing geopolitical environment for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and to assess the future of NATO in European affairs. This analysis will include an evaluation of the new problems emerging in European international affairs and a reevaluation of NATO objectives in this new environment. The resource capabilities of NATO to achieve these ne