America's New Allies
March 1, 2006
In 2004, the European Union and NATO welcomed Central-East European (CEE) nations into their ranks, affirming the political and economic progress made during 15 years of postcommunist transition. As they blend into the EU and NATO, these CEE states are likely to be drawn closer to both Brussels and Washington--but for different reasons. In order to understand the objectives of America's new allies and help develop effective U.S. policies, this study charts the evolution of relations between Washington and the CEE states in the context of EU and NATO enlargement. It argues that Washington has an opportunity to strengthen its ties with the CEE states and rebuild productive problem-solving relations with the EU and the NATO alliance as a whole, but the window of opportunity may be closing.
In order for the United States to develop its new alliances, policymakers must be attuned to the foreign policy goals of CEE states, their regional objectives and threat perceptions, and the views of their citizens and diverse political elites. At the same time, these new democracies can offer Washington cooperation and support on a range of security issues that will serve to strengthen the transatlantic link. The United States will benefit from having credible and reliable EU partners. And the CEE states will benefit from having the world's sole global power as a steady and predictable ally.
Janusz Bugajski is director of the New European Democracies Project at CSIS and a senior fellow in the CSIS Europe Program. His most recent book is Cold Peace: Russia’s New Imperialism (Praeger/CSIS, 2004). Ilona Teleki is deputy director of the New European Democracies Project and a fellow in the Europe Program.