March 5, 2004
NATO is not the vehicle to restore trans-Atlantic partnership; today NATO is the major impediment. For the United States and Europe to work together on the world stage, mutual respect must be achieved. For this to happen, Europe needs to take full responsibility for its continental and regional security, acting as a partner worthy of respect, not the reluctant subordinate perceived today. The crisis in trans-Atlantic relations is more the inevitable result of a NATO that has lost its reason to exist and has ceased to be a true alliance of shared interests and values than the product of differing views about Iraq. NATO was created to serve a temporary European need--to inject American power into conditions of post-War economic devastation and Soviet threat--and was not intended to be permanent. Today, NATO serves the non-European objectives of US global policies as a "toolbox" for engagements far afield. The United States needs a genuine partner in Europe, but it is reluctant to shed its dominant, hegemonic habits within NATO. Europe knows the end of the Cold War liberated it from the "struggle for mastery in Europe," but hesitates to put aside the American crutches and subsidy. An Op-Ed was published in the February 3rd edition of the International Herald Tribune . A longer article about the future of NATO was published in the Winter 2003/2004 issue of National Interest.
Mr. Wayne Merry is a Senior Associate at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington. In a twenty-six year career in the US Foreign Service, he worked extensively on European issues, serving in Moscow (twice, including directing political reporting of the end of the Soviet Union), Berlin, Athens, New York and Washington. Unusually for a professional diplomat, he also had wide government experience outside the State Department, including service at the Treasury, Marine Corps Headquarters, at the US Army Russian Institute, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (as Regional Director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia), and the Congress (at the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe). He was educated at the University of Wisconsin and Princeton's Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. In recent years he has been widely published and interviewed on media in this country and in Europe.