From Cold War to War on Terror: NATO, Russia and the Balkans 1991–2002
2018-10-18T09:18:16Z (GMT) by
The end of the Cold War brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union and caused the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to think hard about its changed role in the world. Coincident with these momentous events was the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia and the attendant civil wars in the Balkans. At a given point in history, therefore, NATO and its former Cold War protagonist Russia found themselves undergoing fundamental changes while being forced to deal with the immediacy of the crisis in the Balkans. This thesis examines, from a NATO perspective, how the Alliance and Russia came to terms with their changing status after the Cold War, and how their relationship developed throughout the 1990s and beyond. In particular, it focuses on the course of the relationship during the bloody civil war in Bosnia, and in the NATO campaign against Serbia in Kosovo, known as Operation Allied Force. The thesis considers the disparate nature of the twenty-six-member Alliance and, ultimately, its dependence upon US political leadership and military power to act effectively. It considers also the relative weakness of the post-Soviet Russian Federation, and its attempts to maintain its great power status despite its greatly reduced circumstances. The conduct of the unequal relationship between a powerful NATO and a weakened Russia is traced through the course of their interaction in Bosnia from 1991 to 1995, and their subsequent cooperation in peacekeeping there. It is examined further in the case of the war over Kosovo, and the deep rift which it caused between the Alliance and Moscow, only partially bridged by their peacekeeping activities in the province. In conclusion the thesis attempts an evaluation of the significance of the Balkans in the overall context of NATO–Russia relations, and offers some thoughts for the future of the relationship.