In this article the author discusses the projected enlargement of NATO, focusing on the candidacy of the three Baltic states. He examines the factors that have induced the Baltic governments to seek NATO membership, the steps the alliance has taken in the lead–up to the Prague summit in November 2002, the evolution of US policy with regard to the potential entry of the Baltic states into NATO, and the arguments that have sometimes been raised against Baltic membership. He argues that the admission of the Baltic states into NATO will be a step forward both for the alliance and for European security, but he believes that it should be accompanied by a restructuring of the alliance that would give much greater weight to its political dimension. One key objective of this restructuring would be to establish a closer relationship with Russia, moving beyond the NATO–Russia Council that was set up in May 2002. The way to do this is not by treating Russia as a special case, but by encouraging the Russian government to apply for NATO membership (as other countries have) and then helping Russia to carry out far–reaching political and military changes that would eventually qualify it to enter the alliance.