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NATO at 75: Why It’s More Than a Military Alliance

For 75 years, NATO has played a crucial role in defending democracy across the West. The rise of an aggressive and imperialist Russia, however, has forced NATO to double down on its original mission—security. In the Journal of Democracy’s newest online exclusive, Robert Person and Michael McFaul argue the Atlantic Alliance should be celebrated for more than being the world’s greatest military compact: It’s an engine of democracy’s advance.

So far, the alliance has risen to Russia’s challenge and delivered a vigorous and unified response, but can it maintain its momentum? The following Journal of Democracy essays track NATO’s role in supporting democracy’s fight against autocracy.

Why NATO Is More Than Democracy’s Best Defense
On its 75th anniversary, the Atlantic Alliance should be celebrated for being more than the world’s greatest military compact. It’s an engine of democracy’s advance.
Robert Person and Michael McFaul

What Putin Fears Most
Forget his excuses. Russia’s autocrat doesn’t worry about NATO. What terrifies him is the prospect of a flourishing Ukrainian democracy.
Robert Person and Michael McFaul

The Rebirth of the Liberal World Order?
Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has done something for the world’s democrats they could seemingly not do for themselves—given them renewed unity, purpose, and resolve.
Lucan A. Way

NATO at Sixty
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization played a key role in safeguarding Western democracy during the Cold War. With that conflict over, NATO must continually adapt and evolve in a fast-changing world.
Zoltan Barany

The Never-Boring Balkans
Once Europe’s most painful “problem” area, the Balkans have managed to make strides toward stability, democracy, and integration into the West over the last fifteen or so years. But Moscow is becoming increasingly active in the region, and the durability of these gains should not be taken for granted.
Srdjan Darmanović

The End of Postcommunism in Romania
The 2004 elections saw the defeat of the former communists who ruled Romania for most of the period since the fall of communism. Will the country’s new, democratic, and pro-European government be able to break with the semi-authoritarian habits of its postcommunist predecessors?
Peter Gross and Vladimir Tismaneanu

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