What's Wrong with NATO and How to Fix it
What's Wrong with NATO and How to Fix it

NATO, the most successful alliance in history, is beset by unresolved tensions and divergent interests that are undermining its cohesion, credibility and capability.

In this new book, Mark Webber, James Sperling and Martin Smith explore four key post-Cold War developments that threaten NATO's survival: an overextended geostrategic reach and an unwieldly security policy portfolio; a failure to address capability short-falls and meet defence spending benchmarks; US weariness and European wariness that call NATO into question; and intra-alliance discord over Russia’s place in the European security order and how to deal with Moscow’s destabilization of Georgia and Ukraine. The authors propose in response a range of policy options that could reinvigorate NATO, but conclude with a note of caution. Alliances come and go and most are cast into the dustbin of history. If NATO is to avoid this fate, it must not only address the major problems that trouble it, but also get to grips with future challenges to alliance cohesion and credibility, from Brexit to the emerging contest with China.

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  • May 2021
  • 320 pages
  • 150 x 209 mm / 6 x 8 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $69.95
  • 9780745682617
  • Paperback $26.95
  • 9780745682624
  • Open eBook $22.00
  • 9780745682655
Table of Contents

Introduction: What Is Wrong with NATO?


Part I Problems

Chapter 1. Doing Too Much: The Problem of Task Proliferation

Chapter 2. Weary or Wary? The Problem of American Leadership in NATO

Chapter 3. Fiscal Constraints, Military Capabilities and Burden-Sharing

Chapter 4. NATO and Russia: Cold War Redux


Part II Treatments

Chapter 5. Task Discretion: Doing Less, Better

Chapter 6. American Leadership or European Autonomy?

Chapter 7. Cash, Capabilities and NATO Effectiveness

Chapter 8. Mending NATO-Russia Relations


Conclusion: Improvement, Repair and NATO’s Future


About the Author

Mark Webber is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham.

James Sperling is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Akron.

Martin A. Smith is Senior Lecturer in Defence and International Affairs at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS).

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“Like precision-guided weapons, the authors of this insightful and persuasively argued book home in on what ails NATO. The recommended fixes are far-reaching in their capacity to ameliorate these problems and to help the Alliance successfully navigate the years ahead.”
John Deni, US Army War College

“This valuable book offers many realistic and well-considered reforms aimed at making NATO fit for the twenty-first century. This makes it compulsory reading for anyone concerned about the fate of the transatlantic security relationship in our disorderly and increasingly confrontational world.”
Jamie Shea, University of Exeter and former NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General

"The only book to offer a systematic and up to date treatment of NATO with a problem-solving attitude. Theoretically informed and policy orientated, it’s an excellent source for teaching NATO to novices.”
Lorenzo Cladi, University of Plymouth

“If you're looking for a concise text that deftly identifies the present challenges facing NATO  and then goes just beyond pointing out the problems, but actually offers workable solutions to address these ills, then this is the text for you. What's Wrong with NATO and How to Fix It is a well-paced, yet comprehensive read that will be of interest to scholars and policy-makers alike.”
Michael John Williams, Syracuse University

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