Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
NATO Expansion: 'A Policy Error of Historic Importance' | by Michael McCgwire - 1998 |

Extraordinary concise presentation how the Clinton administration pushed through the expansion of NATO with former Warsaw Pact countries undermining the future security of all of Europe ... the Kosovo incident with confrontation was emblematic for the White House and U.S. NATO Command ‼️

House of Commons: Memorandum submitted by Michael MccGwire on the Future of NATO

In April 1999 Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic will become full members of NATO.

Notwithstanding the sharply polarised US debate that surfaced in 1995-97, future membership for these three states had effectively been decided in the White House by October 1993.[5] After that (as Clinton remarked in Prague in January 1994), the question was no longer whether, but how and when?

Washington makes no pretence that NATO enlargement is other than a US-led policy,[6] and within the Clinton administration, it is recognised that the drive came from the White House. The policy was initially opposed by the Pentagon and by the relevant specialists in State, until enlargement was made a test of loyalty to the President. So, too, did NATO members' support for enlargement become a test of loyalty to the alliance and (since it was a US-led policy) to America.

In sum, NATO was presented with a fait accompli regarding the three new members, with little opportunity for substantive discussion or dissent. In one sense, that is water under the bridge. In another, it is a precursor of what lies ahead. The Clinton administration sees enlargement as the unfolding of a policy formulated in 1993-94;[7] a continuous process, rather than an exploratory step with a pause for reassessment.

It is most unlikely that the British Government will call for such a pause. But as the Defence Committee urged caution over the question of further enlargement, its members may wish to take this opportunity to review the question of European security and the future of NATO from a new base line, one that is more favourable to long term decisions on European security than existed five years ago.


Some of the improvements in the decision-making environment reflect the passage of time and/or the reduction of uncertainty. Others are the result of inviting Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to join NATO.

    ▪    --  In terms of American electoral politics, the Polish vote is probably the most important single ethnic group, while the other two have some significance. Their satisfaction increases Clinton's freedom of action regarding enlargement.[8]

    ▪    --  Germany wished to escape the role of frontier zone. It also favoured some kind of Western institutional structure, rather than the spread of German hegemony. Those preferences have been met, allowing a less subjective assessment.

    ▪    --  The Founding Act is in place. We are now in a better position to foresee how Moscow will respond to different NATO initiatives and how this will affect Western policy objectives in the longer term and/or in other areas.

    ▪    --  We have a clearer idea about the political, economic and ethnic situations in the newly independent states, and the relations between those states.

    ▪    --  London and Paris are no longer at odds with Washington over Bosnia, allowing European members of NATO more latitude to challenge the US-led policy on enlargement, should that be desirable.

In addressing those questions, we need to be sensitive to a critical flaw in current policy, a flaw that originates in the American domestic policy process. Under the rubric of "enlargement", NATO is pursuing two competing and contradictory objectives.

The original rationale for NATO enlargement was that the spread of liberal democracy would bring stability and peace in Europe.[9] It was seen as an evolutionary process and would possibly include a democratic Russia, who would in all circumstances participate as partner in a larger security regime embracing greater Europe.[10] The White House had an Inclusive objective--co-operative security in a Europe reaching from the Atlantic to the Urals.

Outside the Clinton administration, the most important political support for NATO enlargement came from the "unilateralists".[11] This hard line viewpoint was strongly represented in the Republican-dominated Congress elected in November 1994.[12] It was against partnership with Russia and stressed rivalry, even enemity.[13] The long-term objective was Exclusionary, its variants ranged from containing Russia, to establishing US preponderance, if not hegemony in Central and Eastern Europe.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Aug 8th, 2022 at 07:48:48 AM EST

Others have rated this comment as follows:


Occasional Series