ABOUT THIS BOOK
Following the launch of Sputnik, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization became a prominent sponsor of scientific research in its member countries, a role it retained until the end of the Cold War. As NATO marks sixty years since the establishment of its Science Committee, the main organizational force promoting its science programs, Greening the Alliance is the first book to chart NATO’s scientific patronage—and the motivations behind it—from the organization’s early days to the dawn of the twenty-first century.
Drawing on previously unseen documents from NATO’s own archives, Simone Turchetti reveals how its investments were rooted in the alliance’s defense and surveillance needs, needs that led it to establish a program prioritizing environmental studies. A long-overlooked and effective diplomacy exercise, NATO’s “greening” at one point constituted the organization’s chief conduit for negotiating problematic relations between allies. But while Greening the Alliance explores this surprising coevolution of environmental monitoring and surveillance, tales of science advisers issuing instructions to bomb oil spills with napalm or Dr. Strangelove–like experts eager to divert the path of hurricanes with atomic weapons make it clear: the coexistence of these forces has not always been harmonious. Reflecting on this rich, complicated legacy in light of contemporary global challenges like climate change, Turchetti offers both an eye-opening history of international politics and environmental studies and a thoughtful assessment of NATO’s future.