The expansion of NATO has certainly been a very controversial issue that still sees the world divided into supporters and opponents. Various reasons have been brought forward to justify why the NATO enlargement decision was taken, inter alia the securitisation and stabilisation of Europe, the democratisation of the countries formerly under the Soviet yoke or the enhancement of the Alliance’s effectiveness and cohesion. Although all such propositions might be valid, this article wants to analyse if indeed, as often claimed, the US decision to enlarge NATO responded first and foremost to realpolitik considerations, and namely if it is true that enlargement addressed specific US’s domestic political concerns that had their expression also in foreign policy initiatives, and more specifically if President Clinton used NATO enlargement to enhance his chances of re-election. The study conducted demonstrates that it was indeed so and that President Clinton could have not possibly followed a different policy. Without the firm US commitment to expand NATO, the enlargement of the Alliance would have probably never taken place.
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