It is no secret that NATO exerts global influence, and is an organization without which the international security architecture would be difficult to imagine. Its capacity to exert influence ranges from the very material dimension of military power to the elusive and intangible effects of functional professionalization. Its unifying power was recognized long before the fall of the Berlin Wall, motivating Karl Deutsch to assign to it the quality of the “Community” in the North Atlantic area. The paradigm of the Cold War heavily influenced the way scholarship evaluated the Alliance. Despite numerous and valuable attempts, the majority of academic contributions to the study of NATO remained policy-driven. The discussion was subsumed by broader regional security studies and
international relations scholarship that repeatedly brought up the question of the Alliance’s organizational purpose and durability, leaving other significant questions unexamined. This article will attempt to address the existing scholarly deficit by focusing on a particular aspect of NATO analysis: the Alliance’s capacity to influence aspirant countries’ policy making (formulation and implementation) in the defense area and, by doing that, to ensure compliance with commonly agreed norms and standards.
The case of Georgia would serve here as the best example of a country that eagerly stated its willingness to join NATO (as early as the Prague Summit in 2002) and since then has firmly followed the chosen path towards full membership.