On July 1997, after the NATO Madrid summit on Czech deputy minister of foreign affairs Vondra approached a group of U.S. senators at the conference and asked them “Why did you choose us?” They answered, “We like you, we think you like us, and then you talked it into our heads for so long that we could not do otherwise” (Schimmelfennig 22). I believe that this anecdote serves as an epigraph for the breakdown of the collective decision-making process on NATO’s Eastern enlargement. At the time, the Czech Republic, Hungary, as well as Poland (CEEC) had been invited to become members of the organization and the question posed by Vondra was significant in reference to the system-level and rationalist alliance ideologies.
I think that, at the time, NATO did not need new of new allies for security purposes thus the admission of the aforementioned central and eastern European countries did not increase their influence in the region. However, they risked antagonizing a powerful state and an indispensable partner in matters dealing with security as well as arms control in the form of Russia. Additionally, I think that NATO neither favored nor prepared for the enlargement then because when the body was faced with the CEECs’ demands for membership, some states were divided on the matter. Moreover, in a way, there was a reluctance to embark upon this project. Lastly, I consider the causal relationship between the consequences of provoking Russia into a structured debacle as well as the lack of union in taking up other CEE members burdens were neither trivial nor uncomplicated, suggesting the enlargement was ill-advised.
Schimmelfennig, Frank. “NATO’s enlargement to the East: An analysis of collective decision-making.” EAPC-NATO Individual Fellowship Report 2000.2000 (1998): 22.