The geopolitical change and emergence of new threats, notably terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, forced a reappraisal of the political and security roles of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Alliance's post- Cold War development, operations in the Balkans, and differences across the Atlantic also provided grounds for a revision of NATO's purely self-defense dimension. The Alliance, after having permanent out-of-area debates, has realized that it can no longer be circumscribed by artificial geographic boundaries to meet the future. At its Summit in Prague 2002, NATO initiated a new concept transforming itself into an effective organization with a global approach. By establishing the NATO Response Force, balancing the burden-shifting, and opening the security dialog among likeminded allies, NATO renewed the essence of common transatlantic values. By analyzing NATO's role and its prevailing tendencies, this thesis contends that NATO is no longer a regional security organization but a collective security instrument with its first front abroad, in the Greater Middle East and Northern Africa. However, if NATO is to contribute profoundly to international peace, it needs an institutional framework with global legitimacy.
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