NATO after the Cold War: Explaining the Durability of the Atlantic Alliance in a New Global Context
NATO was established in 1949 at the beginning of the Cold War to counter the perceived threat of the Soviet Union. But the eventual demise of the superpower confrontation in the late 1980s did not mark the end of the Atlantic Alliance. To the surprise of many observers, NATO proved to be enormously durable in the face of serious external and internal challenges associated with the emergence of a new post-Cold War era. This PhD thesis examines the reasons for NATO’s durability in the new global context. Drawing on three major theoretical approaches for understanding alliances – realism, liberalism and social constructivism – the study examines the post-Cold War development of NATO and then relates this experience to the aforementioned paradigms. The thesis argues that, on balance, liberalism is the most effective and comprehensive conceptual framework for explaining NATO’s durability in the post-Cold War era. The framework more precisely focuses on the management of domestic politics and public opinion in NATO member states, and the alliance has found that its political values and commitment to democracy have formed a powerful foundation from which to confront new security challenges. The institutional characteristics of the alliance, such as its strong political leadership and consensus based decision making, have also galvanised its members, and NATO’s institutional assets, such as the integrated military command, have been invaluable in responding to conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. NATO, as a multinational alliance, has also been relatively well placed to respond to the demands of a globalised security context in which multilateral solutions to security challenges are arguably more important than they have ever been.
Advisor: Patman, Robert G.; Tan, Lena
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Politics
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: NATO; atlantic; transatlantic; security; cooperation; afghanistan; global; durability; alliance; bosnia; international; relations; kosovo; war; on; terror; theory; resilience; endures; explaining
Research Type: Thesis