The Council on Foreign Relations addresses the NATO challenges of maintaining peace in the twenty-first century.
If the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) did not exist today,
the United States would not seek to create it. In 1949, it made sense
in the face of a potential Soviet invasion to forge a bond in the North
Atlantic area among the United States, Canada, and the west European
states. Today, if the United States were starting from scratch in a world
of transnational threats, the debate would be over whether to follow liberal
and neoconservative calls for an alliance of democracies without
regard to geography or to develop a great power concert envisioned by
the realists to uphold the current order.