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Research Report


René Van Beveren
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 1993
Pages: 42
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 6-7)

    The Atlantic Alliance was created to deter any direct military aggression against its member countries. For forty years the USSR, with its great superiority in conventional forces, was seen as a potential enemy capable of launching a massive attack with very little warning.

    Recent events in Eastern Europe, as well as the desire of the governments of several European countries to assert a European security and defence identity within the framework of a European Union linked to Western European Union, have led to an extensive review of the Alliance. Moreover, the search for this European defence identity also implies military...

  2. (pp. None)

    States choose to form alliances in order to impose a common political will on a common enemy or to prevent that enemy from imposing his will on members of the alliance that are too weak to oppose it. The usual features of an alliance are therefore that there is an advantage in membership and a common enemy (real, potential or simply hypothetical) to be faced.

    Some alliances have a limited goal of collective self-defence against any direct attack on the territory of their members. In this paper such an alliance is termed a ‘self-defence alliance’.

    Other alliances are not limited...

  3. (pp. None)

    The Atlantic Alliance, which is composed of sixteen states located on both sides of the Atlantic, has existed for over forty years. Whether in the future military cooperation is Atlantic or European, within a self-defence or general defence alliance (as defined earlier), it seems that the Atlantic Alliance will still be seen as a reference point and therefore merits detailed examination.

    The North Atlantic Treaty is certainly a text of major importance. Member countries undertake to give assistance to any ally that is the victim of aggression with the means (including military ones) that they deem necessary. However, there are...

  4. (pp. None)

    Since 1986, and in particular since 1989, the failure of the Marxist-Leninist system has profoundly changed the facts of European security. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe have become potential allies. The Soviet Union no longer exists and the Russian Federation and the other republics find themselves in a disastrous economic situation and are seeking economic cooperation and support from the West. The abortive coup of August 1991 and the events that have resulted from it seem to have strengthened the separatist movements and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a very fragile structure.

    Then there are the...

  5. (pp. None)

    At the beginning of this paper definitions were given of self-defence alliances and general defence alliances. In considering the future of European defence, both types of alliance must be included.

    The Atlantic Alliance has a responsibility for Europe’s self-defence. It has been seen how the Alliance intends to adapt to the sudden change in the threat. That change - some would say disappearance - raises a fundamental question: will a self-defence alliance still be necessary? It is noted that the reply given at Rome and Oslo has been very prudent and conservative. If the European Union expands to include Central...