Germany, France and NATO

  • October 01, 1994
  • Ms Maria Alongi, Dr Peter Schmidt

U.S. national strategy and U.S. Army doctrine explicitly establish the overwhelming need for, and value of, coalitions and alliances in the post-cold war era. Two generations of U.S. civil officials and military officers have been inculcated with the precept of NATO's importance to security and stability in Europe. Free of the confines of the cold war, competing national interests and different national perceptions have transformed the Alliance. While NATO retains its value to U.S. national interests in Europe, the lack of a common threat now is producing a different Alliance. Clearly, if the Alliance is to survive and remain meaningful, an understanding of NATO and its political subtleties will be essential. To provide a wider understanding of the changed nature of the Alliance, Dr. Peter Schmidt of the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Ebenhausen, Germany, examines the current policies of France and Germany, the two largest continental NATO powers, toward NATO. Dr. Schmidt presented this paper in June 1994 to a roundtable sponsored by the American Institute for Contemporary Germany Studies and the Chief of Staff of the Army's Strategic Outreach Program. Approximately two dozen European experts participated in this roundtable ably recorded by Ms Maria Alongi.