This article considers the impact of international organizations on foreign policy, by focusing on two of the most powerful international organizations on the policy choices of countries seeking membership. Scholars have argued that applicants to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) have altered their policies, foreign and domestic, so that they can become members. We argue that conditions imposed on potential applicants have less of an impact than frequently argued as neither the applicants nor the existing members care as much about the formal criteria as is often asserted. Instead, we argue that domestic politics, particularly constituents’ preferences, is both logically and empirically prior to external conditions. Indeed, in some sense, NATO and the EU were quite lucky, as domestic conditions in most, but not all, Central and East European countries converged towards “European” expectations. We focus here on minority rights and border negotiations as these were not only highly visible, but of great import for political stability. We focus on some of the key episodes cited by conditionality theorists, and conclude by considering the implications for theory and policy.