Two years after Troy University was selected to host NATO’s 70th anniversary conference, three TROY political science professors have released a book detailing NATO’s relationship with the United States and its implications for global security with contributions from government leaders around the world.
The conference, held in Montgomery from Nov. 1-2, 2019, offered a strategic examination of NATO’s past, present and future and was made possible through the prestigious NATO Public Diplomacy Grant. TROY was the only U.S. university to receive the grant to host the international conference of leading military, diplomatic, policy and academic experts.
Dr. Doug Davis, Director of TROY’s Master of International Relations program, and Dr. Michael Slobodchikoff, associate professor and Chair of the political science department, wrote the successful grant and later published the book. Dr. Brandon Stewart, assistant professor of political science, also aided in the publication.
As part of the application process, the pair promised to write a book in the wake of the conference.
“That was actually a lot to promise,” Davis said. “Normally you have an idea that generates a book, but this time you had a grant that generated a conference that generated a book.”
According to Stewart, their book illustrates the continued relevance of NATO in the post-Cold War world. Titled “The Challenge to NATO: Global Security and the Atlantic Alliance,” the publication officially released on Nov. 1, 2021 and spent time as the top-ranked book in Amazon’s new releases in international treaties category.
Multiple government officials from inside and outside of the United States either contributed a chapter or endorsed the work, and Slobodchikoff said getting buy-in from embassies around the world helped things take off.
“NATO is the most important institution uniting the West, and today the alliance is threatened by nationalism and a growing inability to distinguish fact from fiction. Through contributions by diplomats, military leaders, and scholars, this important work focuses on NATO’s current operations and future threats, showing the alliance’s continued importance in the twenty-first century,” said retired Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.
“The world is again facing a series of critical and ongoing crises without clear solutions: the Middle East conflict, Syria, Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh are but a few of the conflicts that will populate news cycles in the years to come. This book clearly demonstrates the role that NATO has played in mitigating global hostilities over the last decades,” said Miomir Žužul, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Croatia and former ambassador of Croatia to the United Nations and the United States. “Yet more important, it thoughtfully and convincingly discusses the questions—both internal and external—that NATO must face in order to effectively meet the challenges of the coming era. I would highly recommend it not only to policy-makers and academics, but to anyone that wishes to better understand the role for multilateralism in our changing world.”
The book is structured into five parts: the history of NATO; the current regional operations undertaken by NATO; hybrid and cyber warfare and the threat they pose to NATO; internal and external threats to the alliance; and the future of NATO.
Davis, Slobodchikoff and Stewart collaborated on part one—the history of NATO—before separating into their own areas of expertise. In chapter 11, Stewart discusses how ethnic minorities, with a focus on the Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, should be part of the long-term strategy to consolidate the influence of NATO in Eastern Europe. In chapter 12, Davis and Slobodchikoff argue that one of the biggest threats to NATO is an internal vulnerability which NATO has no control over and that affects every member state—a multifaceted demographic transition where birth rates are dropping and the population is aging.
The final chapter, again written by all three editors, discusses the overarching themes of the difficulties facing the Atlantic Alliance in the 21st Century.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created in 1949 by the United States, Canada and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union and was the first peacetime military alliance the United States entered into outside of the Western Hemisphere.
Although formed in response to the exigencies of the developing Cold War, NATO has lasted beyond the end of that conflict, with membership even expanding to include some former Soviet states. It remains the largest peacetime military alliance in the world.
“NATO has redefined itself many times over its existence and continues to do so,” Slobodchikoff said. “NATO is an important organization moving forward for defense of all its allies, so we brought together all of these people to share their experiences with NATO, what’s happened with NATO, what they think the threats to NATO are and what they see the future of NATO as being.”
With the success of both the conference and the book release, Davis said he hopes the University’s undergraduate and graduate political science programs will receive more attention and credibility that will better benefit their students.
“The book and conference work to enhance Troy University’s reputation and serve our students by allowing them to develop personal connections to individuals who have made contributions to NATO. It was a great honor and allowed the University to receive attention across North America and Europe,” he said.
“I agree,” Slobodchikoff added, “it really thrust TROY into the international spotlight. TROY is a very military-friendly university and works around the world with our members in uniform, and this (book) is just a continuation of that—reaching out to our military, to our allies and building connections that make TROY the international university it is.”
Additional endorsements came from Leon Panetta, the former Secretary of Defense, CIA Director, White House Chief of Staff, Director of the Office of Management and Budget and a U.S. Representative from California; Army Brig. Gen. John Adams (Ret.), former deputy U.S. military representative of the NATO Military Committee; Nicolae-Ionel Ciuca, the current Prime Minister of Romania and former National Defense Minister; Stanley Sloan, author and current leading expert on NATO; and Army Brig. Gen. Peter Zwack (Ret.), Wilson Center Global Fellow at the Kennan Institute.
Content contributors include Robert Hunter, former United States ambassador to NATO; Lt. Col. Jeff Mrazik, a Stephen R. Lorenz Fellow at the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies at Air University on Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Alabama; Dr. Mary Hampton, professor at Air Command and Staff College; Dr. Richard Ledet, associate professor of Political Science at TROY; Dr. Chris Rein, associate professor at Air University; Dr. Boris Havel, assistant professor at the University of Zagreb; General Wesley K. Clark (Ret.), former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO; Tad Schnaufer II, University of Central Florida; Jānis Karlsbergs, Undersecretary of State, Policy Director in the Ministry of Defense of Latvia; Robert Bell, former Assistant Secretary General for Defense Investment for NATO; and George-Cristian Maior, Romanian ambassador to the United States.
“The Challenge to NATO” can be purchased online and in stores.
About the authors
Dr. Doug Davis is the director of the Masters of Science in International Relations program at TROY where he is a European Security and Middle East regional expert. In addition to earning a masters and doctorate degree in political science from the University of Arizona, he has a European graduate degree from the Pontificia Università Lateranense. He has published multiple academic papers and previously co-authored another book with Dr. Michael Slobodchikoff titled “Cultural Imperialism and the Decline of the Liberal Order: Russian and Western Soft Power in Eastern Europe.” His academic work has been translated and published in nine languages.
Davis has international development experience in the Middle East where he has worked on projects funded by the European Union, the Italian government and the World Bank as well as international banking experience where he worked to open financial institutions internationally. In addition to working at multiple Polish universities, Davis was a visiting scholar at the University of Zagreb in 2020.
Dr. Michael Slobodchikoff is an associate professor of political science as well as Chair of the political science department at TROY. He specializes in relations between Russia and the former Soviet states, international conflict and peace, security and comparative politics. He is a regular contributor to Russia Direct and has often served as an analyst on Russian relations with Ukraine for BBC World News as well as Voice of Russia Radio.
Slobodchikoff has published many peer-reviewed articles. His first book, entitled “Strategic Cooperation: Overcoming the Barriers of Global Anarchy,” was published in 2013. His next book, “Building Hegemonic Order Russia’s Way: Rules, Stability and predictability in the Post-Soviet Space,” was published in 2014.
Dr. Brandon Stewart is an assistant professor of political science at TROY’s Phenix City Campus. He received his doctorate in political science from the University of North Texas, and his primary research interests include ethnic politics, political violence, East European politics and African politics. His research has been published in journals such as Nationalism and Ethnic Politics and Social Science Quarterly.