Essay on The Expansion of NATO

Essay on The Expansion of NATO

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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was founded in 1949 as a means of collective security for the West to defend against the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO seemed to have lost a main reason for existing. As former Eastern Bloc nations expressed interest in participating in NATO operations or even joining, Russia became steadily uneasy. When evaluating their response to NATO expansion in the 1990’s, did Russia act in an offensive or defensive manner? J.L. Black presents a plethora of primary accounts of the years encompassing NATO expansion to give the reader an idea exactly what the Russian government was thinking at the time. It seems clear that NATO expansion caused Russia to act in a defensive manner in order to protect its own strategic interests. By looking at a history of Russia, Black highlights that the Russians have always faced the problem of being enclosed by the West. This is what caused Russia to reach out to “fringe” nations for collective security support. Black also shows how during the Kosovo Crisis, NATO overstepped their bounds in terms of to what extent they could solve the problem. Lastly, NATO expansion was the cause of increased Russian military spending in the last 1990’s.
Historically, Russia has often found itself in a tough situation strategically. Due to its massive size, its borders are always at risk of being invaded by the countries surrounding it. In the early 1700’s it was the Ottomans and the Swedes who encroached on Russian borders. This was to be followed by an invasion by Napoleon, a defeat in the Crimean War, and resistance to Russian expansion in the Balkans in the late 1800’s (J.L. Black, Russia Faces NATO Expansio...

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...uses like China and India to create a new Asian Bloc to counter balance the west. While their support of these nations definitely hurts the West’s security, Russia had no other option after NATO took all of the former Soviet republics under its wing, undermining the Russian influence. NATO also overstepped their bounds during the Kosovo crisis leaving Russia troubled due to their once formidable influence on the UN Security Council being negated by NATO’s unilateral movements. Finally, the military reform of the late 1990’s was defensive in nature as it was meant to be a deterrent to NATO expansion. Looking back historically on Russia, they want collective security and fear isolation and vulnerability. NATO expansion takes away their sphere of influence in Europe and also leaves them boxed in at the corner of the map, forcing them to take a defensive stance.

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