James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

Lindsay analyzes the politics shaping U.S. foreign policy and the sustainability of American power.

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Lessons Learned: North Atlantic Treaty Signing

by James M. Lindsay
April 4, 2012


A new installment of “Lessons Learned” is now out. This week I examine the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington, DC, on April 4, 1949. In the video, I look at how American membership in NATO marked a fundamental shift for U.S. foreign policy and discuss how difficult it can be for a country to undertake such a shift. Here’s a question to consider when thinking about these kinds of changes: Does the emergence of China, India, Brazil, and other rising powers require a fundamental rethinking of American foreign policy? I encourage you to weigh in with your answer in the comments section below.

I hope you enjoy the video.

If you are interested in learning more about the history of U.S. foreign relations, the history of NATO, or NATO’s role in the world today, here are some books and reports worth reading:

Dean Acheson. Present at the Creation. (1969)

James M. Goldgeier. The Future of NATO. (2010)

Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas. The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. (1986)

Lawrence S. Kaplan. NATO 1948: The Birth of the Transatlantic Alliance. (2007)

Lawrence S. Kaplan. The Long Entanglement: NATO’s First Fifty Years. (1999)

Henry A. Kissinger. Diplomacy. (1994)

Stewart Patrick. The Best Laid Plans: The Origins of American Multilateralism and the Dawn of the Cold War. (2009)

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