Although fundamental questions concerning whether the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is still relevant or necessary have emerged, NATO remains necessary for the protection of Western security and political interests. The international security environment remains unstable, and threats can arise far from NATO territory. In addition to its traditional role of defending members’ territory, NATO is assuming new security-related missions. In addition, the alliance has developed “partnerships” with numerous nations throughout the world. These networks can enhance NATO’s military capabilities and also encourage democracy. Thus, NATO has the potential to play a significant and constructive global security and political role in the twenty-first century.

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