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Nato’s grey zone

The end of the cold war has left Nato with a diminished role. Will extending Nato to central Europe help revitalise the organisation and stabilise the new democracies? Or will it unnecessarily aggravate Russia and endanger those countries not in the first wave of enlargement?

By Philip Gordon   April 1996

In both central Europe and Russia, there is hardly any debate about the extension of Nato to Russia’s borders. Virtually all central Europeans want it, and virtually all Russians are opposed to it. But in the west there are three strongly contending positions. Supporters of enlargement assert that opening Nato to the new democracies will give the organisation a new mission and project stability; it will consolidate democracy in central Europe, help protect against rivalries among the new countries, and provide a useful hedge in case Russia turns expansionist. Opponents of enlargement think that it is not only unnecessary, but…

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