THE FUTURE OF NATO: BEYOND 2010 2At the end of World War II, the world quickly became divided between the West and theEast. On the West, the United States and Great Britain were strong advocates for democracy. Onthe East, the communist Soviet Union was fearful of the democratic policies that the U.S. was pushing for. This divide created a strong tension leading Winston Churchill to deliver a powerfulspeech in 1946 where he stated an “iron curtain” had descended upon the European continent(Halsall, 1997, para. 7). Churchill’s speech marked the beginning of the Cold War and the needfor a strong and united Western Europe against the communist Soviet Union and its satellitestates. This backdrop became the breeding ground of the highly celebrated North Atlantic TreatyOrganization (NATO), commonly referred to as the Atlantic Alliance. Since its inception, NATOhas steadily grown in power and international respect to become one of the most successfulalliances in history. At the end of the Cold War, many called into question the necessity of adefense pact that was originally designed to combat a conventional war. NATO’s strategicconcept has evolved considerably over time and continues to evolve to this day through review boards. The current issues that affect NATO today and will ultimately shape NATO in the futureare the war in Afghanistan; NATO enlargement, with specific concerns regarding Georgia andUkraine accession; NATO-Russia relations; and the European Union’s encroachment on NATO’s roles and responsibilities.
According to Hillary Clinton (2010), the current U.S. Secretary of State, NATO wascharged at inception with three goals that could easily be adapted to new challenges: defendEuro-Atlantic Alliance nations, strengthen transatlantic relations, and facilitate Europeanintegration (para. 4). NATO’s founders understood that the world is a constantly changing placewhere one day, the Soviet Union would no longer be the sole concern of the Atlantic Alliance.