What impact does NATO’s eastward expansion have on relations with the Russian Federation?
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO is a politico-military organization which gathers many western countries. The treaty has been signed on 4 April 1949 after negotiations between the 5 countries that signed the Treaty of Brussels (Belgium, France, Netherlands, Luxembourg,United Kingdom), the United States, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Iceland, Norway and Portugal. The main aim of the association was to ensure the security of the West after the Second World War in keeping a watch on Germany and in fighting against the soviet invasion. The first NATO Secretary General, Lord Ismay, famously stated that the organization's goal was "to keep the Russians out, the Americansin, and the Germans down"1 (Reynolds, 1994, p. 13). Greece and Turkey joined the organization in 1952, but it is the membership of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) that has made Soviet Union react for the first time with the establishment of the Warsaw Treaty on 14 May 1955. Then, we can say that this military alliance, which included most of the states of the eastern bloc, was created aspart of the cold war as a counterweight to the NATO Pact. Since the end cold war and the “implosion” of the USSR, NATO has encountered new threats like international terrorism or Weapons of Mass Destruction and its role is not only limited to the defense and stability of Western Europe anymore but it also consists in the establishment of new relations of cooperation through the world (Partnership forPeace, NATO-Russia Council, …). After the entry of Spain in 1982, the number of adhesion has increased faster since 1999 with the entry of Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic in 1999 followed by Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia in 2004 and Albania and Croatia in 2009.We can notice that many of recent enlargement concern countries which were formerly under the soviet influence … Farbelow the idea to envisage the reducing of its role and its military organization, NATO try to extend it. Can the Kremlin watch the extension of NATO without any fear or protest in spite of the efforts of NATO to cooperate? Do the recent enlargements represent obstacles in the relationship NATO-Russia? The more important operations of enlargement happened between 1999 and 2004: 8 countries joinedNATO. The Russian opposition to this enlargement had been ignored by Washington while Moscow was reacting both against the military expansion of the United States and the expansion of NATO during the mandate of Vladimir Poutine and Dimitri Medvedev. From 1994, NATO enlargement was already became a important issue for President Yelstin concerning European security affairs. Thus, during his speech atthe summit of CSCE in Budapest in December 1994, he warned of the risk of Europe “plunging into a cold peace”2 (Smith, 2006, p.13). Although NATO does not seek anymore the role that it had played during the cold war but try to reform itself to counter the new threats in the world, Russia keep seeing the organization as a “supervisor” of Russian ambition. In which ways
Reynolds, D. (1994).The Origins of the Cold War in Europe: International Perspectives. Yale University Press. Smith, M.A. (2006). Russia and NATO since 1991: from Cold War through cold peace to partnership? Routledge.
did NATO really change? How did NATO try to better integrate Russia? Cooperation between Russia and NATO started in 1991 through the framework of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council but the mainevent was in 1997 during the summit of NATO in Paris where both sides signed a Founding act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security. The document states that “NATO and Russia do not consider each other as adversaries” and that they “will build together a lasting and inclusive peace in the Euro-Atlantic area on the principles of democracy and cooperative security.”3(Founding Act on Mutual...