Paul van Hooft publishes a new article on US grand strategy, NATO enlargement and European security

June 1st 2020 - 12:00

What are the consequences of NATO enlargement after the end of the Cold War? In "Land rush: American grand strategy, NATO enlargement, and European fragmentation", HCSS Senior Strategic Analyst Paul van Hooft analyses American grand strategy, NATO enlargement, and the long term consequences for Europe. 


This article argues that NATO enlargement, while stabilizing Central and Eastern Europe, still undermined other aspects of European security over the long term. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, US administrations pursued three ambitious policies: they expanded NATO, but also its geographic scope, and they ensured that no alternative European security architectures could compete with NATO. Through interviews with US officials, the article shows a preoccupation with instability in Europe and elsewhere, an institutional predisposition to maintaining the centrality of NATO, and a lack of constraints on US policies by Russia or Europe. In the end, these contradictory policies diluted European strategic cohesion and overburdened European militaries, while expanding the commitments inherent to the alliance.

Read the entire article (subscription content)

Paul Van Hooft, “Land Rush: American Grand Strategy, NATO Enlargement, and European Fragmentation,” International Politics 57 (2020): 530–53.

Paul van Hooft is a Senior Strategic Analyst at HCSS and the Co-Chair of The Initiative on the Future of Transatlantic Relations. He was a postdoctoral fellow from 2018 to 2020 at the Security Studies Program (SSP) of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), including as a 2018-2019 Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow. His work focuses on: the origins and logic of American grand strategy; European grand strategy and security; nuclear strategy; Indo-Pacific security, transatlantic relations; alliances; and extended deterrence. Paul attained his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Amsterdam (UVA) and was a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute (EUI) from 2016 to 2018. Paul received the 2016 prize from the Dutch and Flemish political science associations for his dissertation on the impact of experiences with war on postwar grand strategy.