NATO’s persistence has been a topic for academic discussion since the end of the Cold War. The theoretical focus has predominantly been approaches other than realism as neorealist predictions of the demise of the Alliance proved wrong.
The thesis investigates NATO's persistence by analyzing American objectives and priorities in the transformation agenda that was launched at the Prague summit in 2002. With the initiatives in the transformation agenda, the United States has sought to increase the usefulness of NATO in the ‘war on terror.’ Drawing on contemporary realist assumptions about power, unipolarity and institutions, this thesis asks whether realist theory can explain the puzzle of NATO’s transformation and relevance in transatlantic security.
The thesis seek to evaluate realist predictions by investigating American initiatives within NATO, with an emphasis on the NATO Response Force and the use and nonuse of NATO in the ‘war on terror,’ in order to conclude on the assumption that the relevance of NATO in American policy can be found in the nexus of power politics and security policy.