Natopolitanism:The Atlantic Alliance since the Cold War

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Armed internationalism - on NATO's history and future

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the fortunes of NATO - pronounced "braindead" only a few years prior - have been miraculously revived. The alliance, buoyed by surging European military budgets and inflows of combat-ready troops and cutting-edge hardware, looks forward to welcoming additional member states. Originally conceived as a bulwark against the Soviet Union, NATO has outlasted its ostensible foe by over three decades. Its geostrategic remit is limited to the North Atlantic in name only. Treaty obligations range from the Andes to the Gulf of Aden and the Khyber Pass, and allied commanders now prepare for battle in the South China Sea.

Natopolitanism takes an in-depth look at the evolution and aggrandizement of NATO since the turn of the 1990s. What purposes does NATO serve in the post-Cold War world? What is the balance sheet of a quarter century of alliance expansion, and what part did it play in the eruption of conflict on Europe’s eastern marches?

Contributors to the volume, including John J. Mearsheimer, Mary Elise Sarotte, Susan Watkins, Wolfgang Streeck, and Volodymyr Ishchenko, revisit this this history as it unfolded. Varying in viewpoint and judgment, all share a critical perspective at odds with wartime pieties.


  • After Donald Trump brazenly doubted NATO's necessity, the Ukraine war reanimated the zombie. This indispensable collection sets sanctimony to one side, gathering diverse reflections on the alliance's functions and trajectory since the Cold War — including in the coming of the Ukraine war itself.

    Samuel Moyn, Yale University
  • A bracing critical review of the 'most successful alliance' in history. An essential primer for the new era of Natopolitanism.

    Adam Tooze, author of Crashed
  • This collection of essays and documents regarding NATO's role as the military wing of US capitalism and its increasingly aggressive approach to that role is important and (obviously) timely.

    Ron JacobsCounterpunch