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How NATO Adapts

Strategy and Organization in the Atlantic Alliance since 1950

Seth A. Johnston

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Despite momentous change, NATO remains a crucial safeguard of security and peace.

Today’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization, with nearly thirty members and a global reach, differs strikingly from the alliance of twelve created in 1949 to "keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down." These differences are not simply the result of the Cold War’s end, 9/11, or recent twenty-first-century developments but represent a more general pattern of adaptability first seen in the incorporation of Germany as a full member of the alliance in the early 1950s. Unlike other enduring post...

Despite momentous change, NATO remains a crucial safeguard of security and peace.

Today’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization, with nearly thirty members and a global reach, differs strikingly from the alliance of twelve created in 1949 to "keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down." These differences are not simply the result of the Cold War’s end, 9/11, or recent twenty-first-century developments but represent a more general pattern of adaptability first seen in the incorporation of Germany as a full member of the alliance in the early 1950s. Unlike other enduring post–World War II institutions that continue to reflect the international politics of their founding era, NATO stands out for the boldness and frequency of its transformations over the past seventy years.

In this compelling book, Seth A. Johnston presents readers with a detailed examination of how NATO adapts. Nearly every aspect of NATO—including its missions, functional scope, size, and membership—is profoundly different than at the organization’s founding. Using a theoretical framework of "critical junctures" to explain changes in NATO’s organization and strategy throughout its history, Johnston argues that the alliance’s own bureaucratic actors played important and often overlooked roles in these adaptations.

Touching on renewed confrontation between Russia and the West, which has reignited the debate about NATO’s relevance, as well as a quarter century of post–Cold War rapprochement and more than a decade of expeditionary effort in Afghanistan, How NATO Adapts explores how crises from Ukraine to Syria have again made NATO’s capacity for adaptation a defining aspect of European and international security. Students, scholars, and policy practitioners will find this a useful resource for understanding NATO, transatlantic relations, and security in Europe and North America, as well as theories about change in international institutions.

Reviews

Reviews

It is reassuring to know that those who seek reliable information about the Atlantic Alliance will still be able to find it: Seth A. Johnston's "How NATO Adapts" [is] rock solid

Johnston (US Army) provides an important and useful contribution...his findings continue to illuminate and compellingly demonstrate how political decisions are made...Highly recommended.

One of the "5 Books President Trump Should Read this Summer"

Johnston explains the approach thoroughly and his methodology is exceptional...He can clearly outline the adaptations NATO has experienced since its inception, and presents it in a thoroughly facinating manner... I found the read very engaging.

This book is paramount for understanding how NATO can respond to future crises...For any military staff officer, Johnston's examples are a source of inspiration...For anyone preparing to work with NATO, this book should be mandatory reading

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
272
ISBN
9781421421988
Illustration Description
1 line drawing
Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Synopsis
Chapter 1: Introduction

Part I: Thinking about Adaptation and NATO
Chapter 2: Historical Institutionalism and the Framework of "Critical Junctures"
Chapter 3: Institutional

Table of Contents
Synopsis
Chapter 1: Introduction

Part I: Thinking about Adaptation and NATO
Chapter 2: Historical Institutionalism and the Framework of "Critical Junctures"
Chapter 3: Institutional Actors and the Mechanisms of NATO Adaptation

Part II: Case Studies of NATO Adaptation
Chapter 4: The West German Question in the Early Cold War, 1950-1955
Chapter 5: Flexible Response and the Future Tasks of the Alliance, 1962-1967
Chapter 6: NATO and the New World Order, 1992-1997

Part III: NATO Endurance and Implications for the Future
Chapter 7: NATO Adaptation into the 21st Century, 1999-2012
Chapter 8: How NATO Adapts

Bibliography
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Seth A. Johnston

Seth A. Johnston is a major in the United States Army and recent assistant professor of international relations at West Point. He holds a doctorate from Oxford University and is a veteran of NATO missions in Europe and Afghanistan.