Hegemony Versus Multilateralism

Nuclear Sharing and NATO’s Search for Cohesion
  • Andrew M Johnston


Under Eisenhower’s New Look extended deterrence rested on transcending NATO’s variegated interests. Integration went a long way toward that end creating, as the TCC hoped, one military-economic authority that would weaken nationalism.This process, however, did not fully include the United States. It had to retain enough its own ideals to hold together as a nation, while speaking the language of universalism to represent the interests of “civilization.” Creating a self-sufficient security community in Europe actually insulated American nationalism. The uneven distribution of power across NATO worked itself into the 1949 strategic concept, the MTDP, SHAPE, and the TCC report, each differentiating between what was collective (Europe’s decision-making institutions) and what was national (the rules of American assistance and its control over nuclear strategic power). Dulles’s need to restore dynamism by backing deterrence with brinkmanship posed new questions for this social structure. Massive Retaliation would only work if America’s allies internalized it, embraced it so seamlessly that their national control over the instruments of war and peace all but disappeared. Even if deterrence worked perfectly—installing Europe under the wing of U.S. protection— the symbolism of surrendering such authority raised the question, as I have from the outset, of whether the nuclearization of NATO was a product of multilateral agreement, or a system of hegemony.


Atomic Weapon Conventional Force Strategic Concept Strategic Bombing Soviet Troop 
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Copyright information

© Andrew M. Johnston 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew M Johnston
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Western OntarioLondonUK

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