NATO, the European Union, and the Atlantic community: the transatlantic bargain
reconsidered. By Stanley R. Sloan. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. 2003. 287pp.
Index. Pb.: £18.95. ISBN 0 7425 1760 8.
That the transatlantic bargain must be reconsidered comes as no surprise to observers of NATO
but the blueprint capable of attracting political allegiance across the board has so far been missing.
Policy-makers should perhaps consider going beyond the day-to-day management of the alliance
in order to review a grand initiative of the kind proposed by Stanley Sloan in this book, a new
Atlantic Community Treaty. The valiant idea is to build a new superstructure encompassing
NATO and the European Union in order to ‘integrate’ the building blocks of a transatlantic
democratic order and beat off the forces of fragmentation.
This Atlanticist’s plea for renewed cooperation is based on two assumptions. One is that
NATO is necessary but no longer sufficient, which is to say that developments since 1989 have
surpassed NATO’s ability to absorb them, although NATO with varying degrees of success has
sought to cope with them. These developments include post-Cold War crisis management opera-tions (examined in ch. 6), nuclear strategy and missile defence (ch. 7), outreach and enlargement
(ch. 8) and the European pillar (ch. 9). NATO should not be allowed to perish because, and this
is the second assumption, it is in the vital interest of the West to continue cooperating. Citing
Henry Kissinger and Samuel Huntington, Sloan argues that the future of western values and
civilization—the world order as we know it—hinges on NATO’s and more generally the Atlantic
Community’s revitalization. In the words of Huntington, ‘Europe and America will hang
together or hang separately’.
Sloan’s grand initiative is outlined in chapter 11, the book’s concluding chapter. The Atlantic
countries must stand united, which is why Sloan refuses to consider a kind of division of labour
between a peacekeeping Europe and warfighting US, and why NATO as a whole must be
preserved within the new structure, in the new Treaty. Concretely, the new Atlantic Com-munity
Treaty should build on values of democracy in the Euro-Atlantic area, ‘effective
collaboration’ between NATO and the EU, and should incorporate NATO’s current Article IV,
the obligation to consult each other when any one country feels threatened. Collective defence
(Article V) should remain a NATO preserve, however.
Sloan acts as a dispassionate analyst throughout most of the book but becomes a passionate
advocate of renewal in the end. This combination is not a bad one. Sloan, building on his long
career as a policy analyst, can thus provide a concise and insightful account of NATO from the
very beginning to the end of the Cold War (chs 2–5) and beyond (chs 6–9)—summed up in
appendix B’s 32-page ‘Atlantic Community Chronology: 1941–2000’—before turning to
advisory policy analysis in the final two chapters.
The main deficiency of the book is the somewhat abrupt leap from analysis to advice, not least
because the advice is of such a grand nature. The reader who doubts the viability of Sloan’s
solution, the grand bargain, will confront many questions raised throughout the analysis but find
few answers by way of scenario building. Sloan does not address a critical question: irrespective of whether NATO nations should make a new grand bargain, which is certainly Sloan’s position,
will they? It is unfortunate that the book does not address this question because it contains all the
insights into NATO affairs that such an assessment requires. Sloan’s precipitate jump from analysis to advice should be noted but still it should not obscure the book’s two merits: an insightful analysis of NATO affairs to date and a clear stand on the debate over NATO’s future.
Sten Rynning, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark