The North American Treaty Organization (NATO) has always faced internal disagreements and differences, even crises. But today?s questions about alliance solidarity and viability appear to strike at the most basic levels of what NATO stands for.The variance among allies? willingness to commit resources to Afghanistan and the different levels of combat risk accepted by different allies suggest basic disagreements on the purposes of NATO and the importance of its most significant military operation. Indeed, according to the German Marshall Fund?s Transatlantic Trends survey, some 70 percent of Europeans disagree with the proposition that force might sometimes be needed to achieve a just outcome, while some 70 percent of Americans agree with such a proposition. Disagreement over whether to offer a Membership Action Plan (MAP) to Ukraine and Georgia suggests a fundamental strategic divergence between allies who believe the project of extending Western institutions in Europe is complete, and those who believe more remains to be done.Doubt has been cast on the willingness of some allies to fulfill Article V commitments, especially for Central Europe. These are examples of core strategic questions for NATO. As NATO embarks on its effort to produce a new strategic concept, delving into basic questions of the values and beliefs that underlie the alliance could help resolve policy differences, or at least help understand those differences better.moreless
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