Bill Clinton

Off the Page: How to Enlarge NATO

January 15, 2020
International Security

This podcast originally appeared on the Belfer Center website. 

This episode of Off the Page, a new podcast by International Security, discusses the interesting history and legacy of the debate inside the Clinton Administration on how to enlarge NATO. Twenty-five years ago, supporters of a relatively swift conferral of full NATO membership to a narrow range of countries outmaneuvered proponents of a slower, phased conferral of limited membership to a wide range of states.

What was at stake in this debate and why did “swift conferral” win the day? What were the main drivers, and who were the key decisionmakers? How can the history of NATO enlargement help explain transatlantic politics, conflict in Ukraine and U.S.-Russia relations today? Listen to find out!

Listen to the podcast on the Belfer Center website.


Mary Elise Sarotte is the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Distinguished Professor of Historical Studies at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Douglas Lute is a non-resident senior fellow at the Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center. Ambassador Lute is also the former U.S. permanent representative to NATO from 2013 to 2017, as well as a career Army officer who retired from active duty in 2010 as a lieutenant general after 35 years of service.

International Security Article:

This episode is based on M.E. Sarotte, “How to Enlarge NATO: The Debate inside the Clinton Administration, 1993-95,” International Security, Vol. 44, No. 1 (Summer 2019), pp. 7–41.

Transcript available here

Photo by Brandon T. Nelson, U.S. Navy.