NATO was established in order to confront the strategies of the Soviet Block to spread its influence in the various European countries. During the cold war years, by the demonstration of its military power, NATO succeeded in effectively opposing the expansion strategies of the Warsaw Pact.
However, during the post cold war period NATO used various strategies such as the use of force and diplomatic negotiations and played an important role in the conflict resolution in Eastern Europe. Many countries of Eastern Europe applied for the membership of NATO. This has increased the influence and role of NATO particularly in Europe. However, one can discern both success and failures of NATO in the conflict resolution in Europe.
NATO or North Atlantic Treaty Organization was established after the end of the Second World War. NATO emerged as a consequence of the cold war relations between the Soviet Block and the American Block. After the end of the Second World War, the Soviet Union expressed its intention to expand its influence over large number of countries. The Soviet Union was apparently successful in expanding its ideology and influence in the various countries of the world particularly in the eastern European countries.
This led to emergence of threat perception among the western European countries and the United States of America. This threat of Soviet block was countered with the creation of the NATO. Thus, one can discern the emergence of conflict between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. The main objective of the leaders of NATO was to safeguard the military and economic interest of the member countries of NATO and also to contribute to world peace as it was thought that unprecedented and unchecked Soviet expansion would endanger the world peace and harmony. Thus, during this cold war era, NATO played a significant role, which created balance of powers and maintained the proper equilibrium in the world power politics.
Hence, during this period, the main contribution of NATO to the conflict resolution was to counter the potentially aggressive moves of the Soviet block. This indirectly contributed to the world peace as there was unprecedented arms race between the two blocks and one can discern that during this period, there were no major wars although there were few threats to world peace. However, even during the post-cold war era, NATO played an important role in the conflict resolution. To achieve this objective of conflict resolution, NATO some times has used its military force. However, one can also discern the effective use of the peaceful means such as discussion, negotiation and deliberation among the various parties of the conflict.
For instance, NATO has strived to establish the peace in the eastern European region when there broke out conflicts between different ethnic and national groups. NATO also worked along with other international agencies such as UNO and other agencies in order to bring world peace. NATO during the post cold war era tried to expand its membership and it has invited many other countries of Eastern Europe to accept its membership. This has led to a debate among the diplomats regarding the need for expansion of NATO.
Scholars have discussed regarding the contribution of NATO to conflict resolution. In fact, there are few examples particularly those relate to the Balkan region, which demonstrate the role of NATO in the world politics. Although several scholars have studied regarding NATO, there are only few specific study regarding its role in the conflict resolution. This indicates that it is imperative that an attempt should be made to analyze the role of NATO in the previous and the current dynamic world political atmosphere.
In this dissertation, an attempt is made to study the role of NATO in the conflict resolution during the cold war era and post cold war era with particular reference to the Balkan problems.
Aims and Objectives
This dissertation is has the following aims and objectives.
Providing history of NATO from its founding to the present. Providing comprehensive literature survey. Assessing the role of NATO in the conflict resolution during the cold war era. Analyzing the role of NATO in the conflict resolution in the post cold war period. Discussing the various strategies adopted by NATO to achieve its goals. Research Methodology
The above aims and objectives would be achieved with the assistance of a research methodology. In this dissertation, we use the methodology of literature review, observation, and analysis. In other words, this work is based on the study of the various scholars who have contributed to the study of role of NATO in the cold war and the post cold war period.
Plan of the Work
This work is divided into six chapters. The first chapter discusses the introduction, aims and objectives, research methodology and plan of the work. The second chapter discusses the survey of the literature regarding the role of NATO in conflict resolution. A brief history of NATO is analyzed in the third chapter. The strategies of NATO in the cold war and post cold war period are studied in the fourth chapter. The role of NATO in solving the Balkan crisis in the post cold war period is analyzed in the fifth chapter. The conclusion is provided in the sixth chapter of this dissertation.
Scholars have discussed regarding the history, role, and initiatives of NATO in the world conflict resolution during the cold war and post cold war era. While few scholars have been critical of the role of NATO, many scholars have appreciated the important role played by NATO in establishing world peace and order. In fact, many scholars accept the fact the NATO played precise and decisive role in the international peace keeping activities by taking initiative in the conflict resolution in the different parts of the world particularly in the Eastern Europe.
In this chapter, an attempt is made to present the views of few scholars who have worked regarding the role of NATO in the conflict resolution. The study of these works is essential to discuss the important role played by NATO during the period after 1950.
The role of NATO during the cold war period has been analyzed by Vojtech Mastny (2002). This study provided historical background, and the problems that NATO had to face during the cold war period particularly from the Warsaw pact. This work of Mastny surveys the contribution of the various scholars regarding the significant role played by NATO during the cold war period in order to fight against the domination of the Soviet Block and the attempt of the Soviet Block to spread its influence over the various other nations of the world. This analysis demonstrates the changes in the perception regarding the role of NATO in the world politics. This essay is useful in reconstructing the history of NATO particularly during the cold war period.
Scholars have studied the role of NATO after the cold war. Initially it was thought that the purpose of establishing NATO was to counter the intentions of Soviet Block, which wanted to expand its membership. After the end of the cold war era, it was thought that the NATO would cease to exist. However, this expectation that NATO would not survive the post cold war period, has been criticized by Duffield (1994-95) who suggested that even in the post cold war era NATO has proved that its persistence is very much necessary because of the emergence of various developments leading to the threat to the world peace and security. Consequently, the member countries of NATO decided to persist with NATO.
Thus, it is argued that it is wrong to suggest that NATO has become irrelevant in the post cold war period. This study of Duffield is important because it gives emphasis to the role of NATO in the period after the end of the cold war.
Andrew Stigler (2002-2003) made a study of the role of NATO in solving the crisis in Eastern Europe with particular reference to Yugoslavia. Stigler made the analysis of the military strategy of the NATO in order to bring peace and order in this region of Eastern Europe where there were many incidents of violence and war leading to loss of lives of large number of innocent people. Consequently, NATO used the force or gave threat to the warring parties that if they do not surrender, the NATO forces would be compelled to attack the bases of the insurgents. This threat worked and this led to reducing the incidence of violence in this region.
This study of Stigler gives valuable information regarding the nature of the military strategy employed by NATO in establishing international security and peace. In fact, after the end of the cold war, there emerged major political problems, which threatened the security of many new states, which emerged after the disintegration of Yugoslavia. During the cold war period, there was greater security due to ideological and political support of the major political powers.
Gleditsch (2005) made a study of the nature of armed conflict during the period 1944 - 2000. This study provided useful information regarding the role of NATO in these armed conflicts during the period of cold war. This work is useful in comprehending the military and diplomatic strategies employed by NATO during this period. This work is also useful in comprehending the method of conflict resolution and the role of NATO in initiating these conflict resolution strategies.
The role of NATO in the conflict resolution in the Balkan region has been studied by Fuat Aksu (2005) who has presented the initiatives taken by the NATO in reducing the threat to international peace and security. Aksu has demonstrated how in the changed circumstances, NATO was forced to change its strategies in order to guarantee the security of its member countries. Randolph (2004) has provided further information regarding the role of NATO in the region of Serbia.
This study demonstrates that in order to establish peace and order in the region NATO had established the Kosovo force, which was given the instruction to counter the guerilla tactics of the enemy troops, which had disturbed the security of the region. This study provides the important information regarding the military strategy adopted by the NATO forces in the Balkans.
Reiter (2001) discussed the debate regarding the NATO enlargement. Reiter’s study analyzed the views of different scholars who presented their argument for and against the NATO enlargement. Few scholars suggested that NATO enlargement and the inclusion of more members from the earlier Soviet Block would strengthen NATO, while some other scholars suggested that this would lead to alienation of Russia which would not cooperate with the member nations of NATO in international peace and security. However, Reiter felt that NATO did not play an important role in developing democracy in the member countries although the role of NATO in conflict resolution is not challenged. The NATO enlargement policy has been criticized by Gaddis (1998) because it is argued that by the inclusion of the new members belonging to Eastern Europe, NATO would not help its own cause because this would alienate Russia and this would not lead to fulfilling the aspirations of NATO.
Consequently, Gaddis argues that NATO should not indulge in the enlargement program as now there is no cold war and there is no need to continue the same policy, which was being followed during the period of the cold war. Gaddis argues that with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the NATO think tank should have treated Russians with kindness so that they are not alienated leading to further enmity between NATO and Russia. This study argues that during the post cold war period, NATO is expected to pursue a different policy and course of action.
Dannreuther (1999-2000) attempted a study of the debate regarding enlargement of NATO. Based on this debate Dannreuther analyzed the impact of enlargement of NATO on its diplomatic relationship with Russia. This study calls for the adoption of less confrontational attitude towards Russia as the aggressive methods would lead to antagonism from the Russians which would not help the members of NATO to bring world peace and order which is an important objective of the founding of NATO. Hence, this study shows the importance of the maintenance of cordial relationship between NATO and the various major political powers of the world.
The above studies indicate that the various scholars have studied different dimensions of NATO. The scholars discussed regarding the history and historiography of NATO. They have also studied the role of NATO during the cold war period and the role of NATO during the post cold war period. One group of scholars thought that after the fall of the Soviet Union NATO would cease to exist. However, contrary to the expectations of these, NATO has persisted and it has been playing an important role in finding political and other solutions to the conflicts which have the potential of disturbing the world peace and order. Hence, in the present context there is enough opportunity for NATO play an important role to establish international security.
A Brief History of NATO
In the earlier chapter of this project, it has been mentioned that NATO emerged due to emergence of antagonism between the two super powers in world politics namely: USA and USSR. At the same time, the Soviet Block established the Warsaw pact which was aimed at forming its own united force against the forces of USA and its supporters. On April 4, 1949 twelve countries signed the North Atlantic Treaty and it was decided to establish NATO in order to protect their security.
These twelve countries are Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United States. Later few other nations also joined NATO. Greece and Turkey joined NATO in 1952 while West Germany became its member in 1955 and Spain joined in 1982.The NATO constitution included a clause which stated that when there is attack on any one member it is considered as attack on all the member countries of NATO. (Reiter, 2001) Thus, the main motive of NATO was to provide collective security to the member countries.
Thus NATO can be considered as the consequence of cold war relations between the two major political groups of the world. However, from 1949 to the present there were different roles played by NATO. It is true that initially NATO followed the policy of confrontation and this must have resulted in conflicts. Hence, the cold war period can be considered as the age of conflict between the US Block and the Soviet Block. It is well known to the students of international relations that there were many incidents involving both these blocks. However, after the end of the cold war in the 1990s, the members of NATO realized that there is a need to perform an extremely different function.
That is, NATO decided to play an important role in the conflict resolution. This role can be seen particularly in the case of the crisis in the eastern European region. Hence, NATO played a significant role in solving the Balkan crisis. This can be considered as an important contribution of the NATO. Conflict resolution was achieved through different means such as threat of the use of force, persuasion, diplomacy and so on. Various military strategies were used by the NATO leaders to achieve their objectives.
The Historians found it very difficult to find the archival sources to write the history of NATO involvement in its confrontation with the Warsaw Pact. This is because of the fact that the archival sources of both NATO and Warsaw Pact were well guarded and they were always kept as a secret. Consequently, even after the end of the cold war, these secret sources are not accessible to the scholars. Yet, some unclassified documents are available to the Historians particularly in USA. The Historians have mostly concentrated on the role of NATO during the cold war years. During this period, the history of NATO was the history of its confrontations with the Warsaw Pact until the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1990s.
During the years of cold war, NATO followed a policy of arms race and with the encouragement of the USA, followed a confrontational policy with the Soviet Block. The various member countries such as West Germany, France, and USA played an important role during these years.(Mastny, 2002) During the period of cold war, NATO gave greater importance to maintain the unity of the Western European countries. NATO made attempts to comprehend its relationship with West Germany, which had become the member of NATO. By these actions and strategies, NATO during the cold war years was able to provide sense of belongingness and security to the member countries of NATO. (McCalla, 1996)
During the post cold war period, NATO played an important role in establishing peace in the region of Kosovo where there was the emergence of a serious crisis. In order to get rid of this problem NATO used its military authority and warned the insurgents that if the Kosovo militia did not accept the proposals of NATO, the latter would attack Kosovo with the use of its Air power.
This threat worked and resulted in a victory to NATO. Here in this crisis, very clear message was sent by NATO to Kosovo forces. This fact demonstrates that the NATO played an important role in the conflict resolution during the post cold war period. (Stigler, 2002-2003) Thus in 1999, the NATO led Kosovo Protection Force played an important role in the liberation of Yugoslavia and this was also sanctioned by the UNO. This can be considered as an important contribution of NATO to the conflict resolution. (Llamazares and Levy, 2003)
NATO continued to play an important role even in the post cold war years. During this period there has been change in the functions of NATO. Earlier its main function was to confront the other Block, while now NATO was expected to provide security and stability to its member nations particularly the countries belonging to Western Europe. It was also realized that it was a matter of great import that NATO played an important role establishing stability in the Eastern Europe (Duffield, 1994-95). These details show the important role played by NATO even during the years after the cold war. In order to solve the crisis in Eastern Europe NATO used different methods such as maintaining cooperation with the major East European countries such as Russia.
Particularly, in the Balkan region the role NATO has been recognized and appreciated by the Historians. (Aksu, 2005) From 1999 to 2001 and later NATO played an important role in curbing the ethnic conflict between the different groups in Serbia. NATO also signed treaty with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and this guaranteed the security of the various countries of region around Serbia. When the enemy troops used the guerilla tactics, NATO forces also used the armed force and quelled the resistance of the Albanian insurgents. This led to greater cooperation between the government of Yugoslavia and NATO. (Randolph, 2004) Another important development in the NATO organization and strategy to maintain security of its member countries is to allow more countries to become the members of NATO.
Consequently, after 1999, many Eastern European countries such as Poland and Hungary became the part of NATO and several other countries also applied to become the members. The major strategy of NATO to resolve the conflict is to encourage democratization process as it was believed by some leaders that true democratic nations would not attack and capture the other nations. It was thought that this would act as deterrent to the activities of those nations which aspired to create unnecessary international conflicts. (Reiter, 2001) The inclusion of various countries of Eastern Europe can be considered as a great achievement of NATO and it emerged as an important international security organization. This allowed NATO to play a significant role in the international conflicts. (Dannreuther, 1999-2000)
The above study indicates that starting from 1949 there have been many changes in the aims and objectives of NATO. Initially, its main aim was to counter Soviet Block. However, after the collapse of Warsaw Pact, NATO concentrated on various crises and played an important role in resolving the conflicts between the various nations of the world particularly in Europe and thereby NATO has emerged as one of the most respectable international organizations. NATO has to play similar significant role in the future years of the 21st century.
Strategies of Conflict Resolution
NATO pursued various intelligent strategies in order to achieve its aims and objectives of establishing international peace and security. In the earlier chapter, it has been noticed that initially the main purpose of NATO was to confront the Warsaw Pact signed between Soviet Union and various other countries of Eastern Europe. The NATO member countries strongly believed that emergence of Soviet threat had impact on the world politics and this might even result in various conflicts between the different nations.
Thus, few strategies were devised by NATO to counter the strategies of Soviet Block. However, after the cold war, NATO was compelled to change its strategies to suit the changed political and economic scenario. Consequently, significant changes were introduced by the NATO leaders to emerge as an important international agency. Thus, during the earlier period NATO followed the strategy of aggression, while during the later period NATO followed the other strategies such as enlargement of NATO to bring various other countries of Eastern Europe within the orbit of NATO.
During the different phases of the emergence of NATO, it pursued different strategies and doctrines. For instance it is argued by Sandler and Murdoch (2000) that during the years from 1949-1966 NATO followed the strategy of mutual assured destruction where the USA played greater role and paid huge amount of money to counter the activities of the Soviet Block. During this period importance was given to the public good. During the period from 1967-1980, NATO followed the doctrine of flexible response.
Now greater importance was given to the strategic forces. During the period from 1981 to 1990, greater understanding emerged between UK and France which led to strategic build up of the two countries. During the period from 1991 to 2000 importance was given to the expansion of NATO. Now importance was also given to reduce the investment in the weapons of mass destruction. The member countries reiterated greater cooperation and understanding to achieve international security and peace. (Sandler and Murdoch, 2000) Thus, during the different phases of its development, different strategies were pursued by NATO.
During the years of cold war, NATO members deliberated regarding its weaknesses vis a vis Warsaw Pact and the alliance attempted to overcome these perceived weaknesses. This an important strategy pursued by NATO with a view to establish their superiority. (Mastny, 2002)
During the period of cold war NATO countries went on to amass large number of weapons of mass destruction which also included the chemical weapons. During those days, there was the existence of arms race between NATO and the members of the Warsaw Pact. The members of both NATO and Warsaw Pact spent huge amount of money for the increase in the number of weapons in their own countries. This led to emergence of balance of powers in the world politics. The collection of huge amount of weapons acted as a deterrent against the member countries of the Warsaw Pact. However, during the post cold war period, NATO has followed altogether different policy.
That is, now NATO insisted on the destruction of weapons of mass destruction and persuaded the different minor powers to do so. This strategy also went a long way in limiting the impact of chemical weapons. However, after the end of cold war many other powers of the world in Asia and Europe became interested in obtaining weapons of mass destruction. This is considered as a dangerous signal according the leaders of NATO.
This trend can be seen in the Balkans also which led to almost uninterrupted warfare leading to loss of large number of people. Hence, in order to curb this tendency NATO, has taken proper measures by signing treaties of destroying weapons of mass destruction. Perhaps NATO realized the evil consequences of the arms race in the future. In fact, arms race by the countries of the world would lead to emergence of another world war which would lead to the loss of life of large number of people. Hence, treaties are signed between both NATO member countries and other major powers of the world. Thus, different strategies were undertaken to achieve the objectives of NATO.
(Capelli and Labanca, 2005) This study indicates that different policies were adopted during different contexts to achieve the aims and objectives of NATO. However, in spite of collection of huge amount of weapons, NATO as far as possible avoided confrontation unless it was forced to do so due to pressure put by the enemy forces.
Hence, collection of huge armaments was considered as a strategy of conflict resolution during the days of confrontation with the members of the Warsaw Pact. When NATO defended its member countries, it gave importance to sustained and large scale aggression. This was an important method of defending its territories from attacks by the other group. However, in some cases, the member countries of NATO pursued their own security agenda when they tried to obtain nuclear arsenal for the protection of their own territories.
This can be seen in the case of France which developed Pluton missile to use against the enemy attacks. Yet, NATO as a whole showed its capacity to obtain large number of weapons which acted as deterrence against the countries which had become the members of the Warsaw Pact. (Schwartz, 1975) In fact, whenever there was need for the use of force, NATO resorted to it. This is seen particularly in the case of the conflict in the Eastern Europe where the strength of the NATO air power was demonstrated to the fighting insurgents in Yugoslavia. Although always air power does not assure the success of a great power, in this case NATO obtained its success due to its superior air power.
This clearly demonstrates that NATO used different strategies depending on the situation and the parties involved. (Stigler, 2002-2003) However, the attempt of NATO to give importance to the accumulation of new nuclear arsenal has been considered as a tactical error on the part of NATO since it also encouraged similar accumulation of nuclear weapons by the members of the Warsaw Pact and during this period Soviet Union was more inclined to reduce the conventional forces which implied that the Warsaw Pact members wanted to pursue peaceful means. (Mastny, 2002) Hence, one can notice few weaknesses in the strategies of NATO.
After the end of the cold war in 1989, NATO was compelled to make alterations in its strategy. Significantly, NATO has adjusted to the changes in the world political scenario and introduced new strategies to achieve the new goals. However, there was no need to change the original constitution of NATO as the new goals were stated within the boundary of the earlier aims and objectives of NATO.
This can be considered as an important achievement by the NATO members. In 1990 the NATO members emphasized that the goal of world peace and establishment of democracy and international security can be achieved through political means rather than by the use of armed forces. This is a new strategy which was stressed by NATO.
This strategy was needed to adjust with the changes in the political developments. Thus, the NATO members began to negotiate and sign treaties with the various countries to avoid the conflicts in the world. However, whenever there was the need for the use of force, NATO has not hesitated to use its military to establish international security and order.
But during the post cold war period one can find certain significant changes in the approach and attitude of NATO. The result of these negotiations and mutual understanding was the establishment in 1991 of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NAAC) which also included the then Soviet Union. Later the various other countries like Georgia were given the membership of this council. This understanding was further strengthened by the signing of the Partnership For Peace (PFP).
Through these different peaceful means attempt was made to avoid the further conflicts particularly in the region of Eastern Europe. (Woodliffe, 1998) To become relevant in the light of the changes in the modern world, NATO has initiated various changes in its strategies. For instance, NATO along with other cooperating individual countries and organizations established the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) and the Joint Task Force (JTF). These can be considered as the strategic steps taken by NATO to achieve its objective of maintaining international security by the use of force. However, some times NATO has been criticized for making use of force. (Millen, 2002)
However, one should remember that firstly, force was used when diplomacy failed in resolving conflict particularly in the case of the Balkan crisis and secondly, even after the use of force, within few weeks, peace was restored and attempts were made to resolve the conflict by the intervention by the international organizations such as UNO. NATO always tried to obtain the sanction of UNO for its actions.
Millen (2002) also argued that NATO took a right decision of the enlargement of its membership when it invited many countries to become the member countries of NATO. It is suggested by Millen that more countries particularly belonging to the Balkan region should be given membership in order to strengthen the organization of NATO. This would improve the standing of NATO in the international arena.
Thus, enlargement can be considered as another major strategy adopted by NATO to find solution to international conflicts. Further, enlargement provided flexibility to NATO as it was possible for NATO to shift its bases from west to the eastern European countries such as Poland. (Millen, 2002) After the end of cold war NATO has elaborated its programs and changed its organization and the method of functioning. For instance, NATO entered into discussion with the countries of Eastern Europe and the former members of the Warsaw Pact. In fact, NATO insisted on the implementation of the resolutions of the UN Security Council with reference to Yugoslavia.
(Duffield, 1994-1995) This can be considered as a noteworthy contribution of NATO to the establishment of peace in the region known for incessant ethnic conflicts. However, Aksu (2005) maintained that although the countries of Eastern Europe were welcomed to become the members of NATO, the Balkan countries were kept at some distance and hence, Aksu suggested that there is need to include the Balkan powers within NATO in order to instill confidence among the Balkan countries which would reduce the ethnic confrontations between these different powers.
During the period of cold war, NATO was concerned only regarding the security of its European members. Several attempts were made to counter the movements of the members of the Warsaw pact. However, after the end of cold war, there were new challenges to NATO members with the emergence of the Gulf crisis which proved that even outside Europe the interests of NATO are at risk.
Consequently, this forced NATO to take proper measures to guarantee of the interest of NATO outside Europe. Hence, NATO began to take interest in the developments of non European states. Attempt was made to observe the activities of the “rogue states”. For this purpose there was the need for financial contributions by the member countries. Mostly during the period before 1990s the financial burden was shared equally by the member countries. This led to emergence of equality between the member countries of NATO.
This was one strategy pursued by NATO to achieve its goal of protecting its interest within Europe and also outside Europe. However, after 1990s there has been inclusion of new and small countries as the members of NATO who may not be in a position to manage the need for such huge financial contributions particularly during the times of crisis.
This would lead to emergence of misunderstanding between the member countries of NATO. Hence, there is need to insist on the earlier policy of equal financial burden on all the member countries which would guarantee the security and interest of NATO both in Europe as well as outside Europe.(Sandler and Murdoch, 2000)
This study of Sandler and Murdoch has given importance to enlargement strategy pursued by NATO to achieve peace and security in the various parts of the world. This strategy gains particular importance in the post cold war period because on the one hand there was the entry of various new members like the United Germany and many countries of Eastern Europe like Poland and Hungary and on the other NATO began to take interest in the developments in the regions outside Europe.
The militant activities of the terrorist organizations have affected the policy and strategies of NATO particularly after September 11 attack of America by the militant organizations. Even after the cold war the importance of Eastern European powers did not subside for the simple reason that they possessed dangerous nuclear arsenal. After the end of cold war, there emerged many ethnic conflicts.
Hence, it was realized that in Eastern Europe NATO needed to play the balancing act between Russia and its various neighbor countries which were previously the part of the Soviet Union. The attitude of Russia did not encourage the establishment of peace and order in this region. This enhanced the responsibility of NATO and hence suitable strategies were devised to achieve the goals of NATO. (Duffield, 1994-1995)
After 1990 there was the emergence of various ethnic conflicts particularly in the Eastern European nations. However, NATO failed to bring solution by the use of peaceful means to the conflicts among the different ethnic groups like Serbs, Armenians and others. Hence, NATO resorted to the use of force. The NATO forces began to attack the various important places of conflict such as Kosovo and other places in Eastern Europe. NATO also obtained military sanction from UNO for its actions in this region.
Thus, even in the post cold war period, in certain extreme situations NATO was compelled to use its military power. This was done due to the failure of conventional methods of conflict resolution as the modern ethnic conflicts differed from the earlier conflicts between different states. This compelled NATO to purse a different strategy. (Baird, 1999). Thus, always it was not possible to achieve conflict resolution through the use of peaceful means. In such cases there was the use of weapons or threat was given that NATO forces would attack and destroy the armies of the insurgents.
Due to these reasons Millen states that, “The NATO Alliance is the most robust, flexible, and proven security organization in Europe”. (Millen, 2002: 30) This statement is particularly true in the context of the modern developments in the world politics. However in the recent years NATO has faced challenge from European Union (EU) as major international organization with the motive to dominate the European politics. Yet with the support of US, NATO has been able to withstand this challenge effectively. Again in this context NATO devised strategies to face the threat of EU. (Aksu, 2005)
The above study demonstrates that after its establishment during the cold war years and after the end of cold war, NATO has devised various programs and strategies to secure the protection of its members. However, while during the cold war years, aggression was considered as the main strategy of NATO, during the post cold war years, there was the use of peaceful means and when the peaceful means did not succeed to achieving the proper results, then NATO resorted to the use of armed forces.
Attempt was also made to expand NATO by accepting more members from the various European countries. During the cold war period, NATO mostly catered to the needs of the Western Europe, while in the post cold war years NATO began to concentrate on the whole of Europe. This assured the continued existence of NATO even after the end of cold war. The new developments in the international arena such as Balkan crisis and terrorist attacks on European countries have made NATO all the more relevant.
Role of NATO in Conflict Resolution in the Balkans
The earlier chapters have provided proper background to the study of the role of NATO in the Eastern Europe particularly in the Balkans where there was the emergence of ethnic conflict between the various ethnic groups. This led to the break up of Yugoslavia and emergence of various other countries.
This development has forced NATO to concentrate on the conflict resolution in this region. In fact, the ethnic conflict in the Balkans emerged during the post cold war period which significantly altered the role of NATO due to the changes in the political atmosphere as no longer there existed Warsaw Pact which challenged the authority of NATO in Europe during the cold war years. For example in 1989, in Georgia there emerged ethnic conflict.(Baird, 1999) Many other such conflicts emerged in the various regions of Eastern Europe.
After 1990, one can notice few changes in the policies of NATO. It was decided by the members of NATO to maintain close watch on developments in central and eastern European countries (CEE). In the North Atlantic Co-operation Council (NAAC) there was interaction between NATO and CEE countries and it was decided to maintain greater diplomatic contact to maintain political stability in the region. (Baird, 1999)
Several scholars have discussed in detail the activities of NATO with reference to the Balkan region. This is due to the fact that Balkan crisis has redefined the role of NATO in the modern world politics as NATO was forced to alter its strategies to achieve the conflict resolution in this region.
After the end of the cold war many believed that NATO’s role in international political scene had come to an end and it needed a decent burial as NATO was formed to fight against the Warsaw Pact and now that Warsaw Pact had a decent burial there was no further role of NATO.
However, NATO persisted even in the cold war years. This persistence and resistance of NATO is due to emergence of many post cold war developments such as the crisis in Eastern Europe, better relationship with the earlier Communist Block and the emergence of terrorist attacks on many European countries.(Duffield, 1994-1995) The fighting between the ethnic groups in Yugoslavia led to the rise of militant problems in the neighboring countries which were the members of NATO.
These ethnic problems began after the end of cold war and NATO members tried to formulate appropriate strategy to quell this potentially dangerous development. This development led to threat perception among the members of NATO and it was decided to continue the important role of NATO as an important security organization of Europe. One important crisis that was handled by NATO was the problem in Balkan region when ethnic problems emerged between the different ethnic groups in this region.
After the end of the cold war, there was the emergence of unstable political atmosphere in the Balkan region, which was a part of earlier communist regime. Changes emerged in the political field with importance being given to establishing new nation states. However, the national movements in the Balkan region did not take much time to become the ethnic cleansing process leading to the unprecedented killing of large number of people. This threatened the security of the countries of Eastern Europe. Even the Balkan people wanted few changes in their existing political and economic conditions.
They wanted to welcome the new market reforms to encourage free markets, although there existed ethnic conflicts which did not lead to much economic advancement of the region. NATO devised its own strategies and methods to deal with this problem in the Balkan region. It was only by the end of 1990s that NATO was able to taste some success in resolving the Balkan problem. The countries in this region decided to accept the NATO program of Partnership For Peace. (PFP). (Aksu, 2005)
NATO responded to the emergence of ethnic struggles in Eastern Europe during 1990s. It was decided to implement the UN resolutions regarding protecting the regional stability in this region. Initially, NATO was not very successful in dealing with the Balkan crisis.
This is because of certain weaknesses in the strategy of NATO which allowed the ethnic groups such as Serbians more time to plan their attacks. However, with more experience NATO forces are able to achieve better success in dealing with this major problem. In 1994, it was decided by NATO to establish Combined Joint Task Forces (CJTF). This was done to find solution to the security threat to the NATO member countries. (Duffield, 1994-1995)
NATO tried to participate in the process of conflict resolution in Bosnia-Herzegovina. NATO supported the UN Protection Force as it was difficult for the UNO to implement its resolution in this region. NATO was given the power to attack the insurgents which led to the peace negotiations between the parties resulting in the temporary conflict resolution in the region. Consequently, the Paris treaty was signed in 1995. NATO also took interest in the implementation of the resolution the of Paris treaty.(Woodliffe, 1998) Proper planning and strategies contributed to conflict resolution by NATO. (Flawin, 2003)
In 1998-1999 there was a crisis in the Balkans when the Yugoslav forces under Slobodan Milosevic decided to attack the Kosovo Liberation Army and Kosovar Albanians. This attack by Milosevic was perceived by NATO as the humanitarian disaster. It led to loss of lives of large number of people in the Balkans and it would have led to further loss of lives if it was left unattended.
Consequently, one can discern that NATO began to contemplate various strategies of subjugating the forces of Milosevic. NATO demonstrated that it was averse to casualties. Reliance on the ground war would have resulted in the death of large number of NATO soldiers. However, due to limited man power in the NATO army, it was decided by Bill Clinton, President of USA that he would consider the use of Air Force as a better option of attack of the army of Milosevic.
In order to achieve this goal, the NATO began to bombard the military equipments of the Serbian forces which meant that the Yugoslavian forces would have lost large number of people if they continued the war. Obviously, they accepted the proposal of negotiation and due to the superior air power of the allied forces Milosevic decided to withdraw from Kosovo and surrendered Kosovo to the NATO forces. Hence, this can be considered an important achievement of the NATO forces that they used the proper strategies and sent appropriate messages to the leaders of Yugoslavia who perceived that it is not possible for them to fight against the powerful Air Force of NATO.
Consequently, here one can find that NATO used both its coercive power as well as the diplomacy to avoid the conflict in 1999. This reduced the potential casualties which might have resulted from this crisis. Thus the strategies of NATO were successful in averting the major humanitarian disaster in the Balkans. (Stigler, 2002-2003).
After the end of confrontations between NATO forces and the regional Balkan forces, serious attempts were made by NATO to guarantee security and stability in the region. This development can be seen particularly from the second half of 1990s which has led to significant results.
It has been suggested by Aksu (2005) that NATO should accept the membership of the Balkan powers as members of NATO because the Balkan powers wanted political freedom and economic advancement which can be achieved with the help of other powers. One can also notice further changes in the relationship among the various East European powers which also reduced the tension among these counties. Lack of trust among the Balkan countries was the main reason responsible for the ethnic struggles.
However, despite this, sincere efforts are being made by these countries to establish atmosphere of security in this region to avoid the future consequences of this crisis on the Balkan powers. The intervention of NATO and signing of peace treaties in Paris and Dayton has an important impact on the peace process in the Balkan region. Consequently, there has been emergence of greater cooperation among the Balkan countries and also the outside agencies such as NATO and important powers like USA provided necessary cooperation and financial aid to these countries to allow fast economic recovery and advancement which would guarantee the success of the peace process.
This has resulted in multilateral approach to solve the problems in the Balkan region. There has emerged the cooperation between various members of south east Europe such as Macedonia, Albania, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Romania and Croatia. In 1998 many Balkan countries became the part of Multinational Peace Force for South Eastern Europe. In 1999 there was the establishment of Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. All these peace processes have been encouraged and guided by NATO which has resulted in significant development reaching conflict resolution in this region. (Aksu, 2005)
The 1999 campaign of NATO’s Kosovo forces has been considered as an important achievement of NATO. This achievement reiterated the emergence of NATO as a dominant security organization of Europe. Initially Russia opposed the intervention of NATO in Eastern Europe. However, NATO used its diplomacy and incorporated the Russian forces in the struggle against the insurgents in Kosovo. This indicated that in order to achieve peace in the Balkans, NATO approached the assistance of Russia although this later complicated the operations of armed forces in this region.(Dannreuther,1999-2000)
After the end of cold war, in Southern Serbia there was the emergence of liberation movements in the municipalities such as Presevo, Bujanovac, and Medvedja. During the 1999 Kosovo war many ethnic communities were marginalized and thereby alienated from the Serbian government.
This led to the emergence of armed conflict between these ethnic groups and the Serbian government. The Albanian insurgents who were majority in these provinces also wanted to establish their domination and this led to conflict between different ethnic groups of Southern Serbia. (Randolph, 2004) However the history of Serbia shows that there was alienation of the Albanian groups by the government authorities of Serbia. This led to emergence of conflict between Kosovo Serbians and Kosovo Albanians.
The Yugoslavian politicians exploited this polarization of the two groups of Serbia. In 1999, after NATO began bombing of Yugoslavia, Serb forces attacked Albanians which forced millions of people to leave their homes. (Llamazares and Levy, 2003) This crisis continued till 2001 when Serbian Joint Security Forces entered the war field and tried to resolve the conflict between the different groups. Thus, Albanians could not implement their ambition of establishing domination over the region of Southern Serbia. The liberation movements of Presevo, Bjanovac and Medvedja also came to a halt because of the operations of Serbian Joint Security Forces.
The Serbian government along with international agencies such as NATO worked to bring peace and order in Serbia. NATO members took keen interest in initiating negotiations between the Serbian government and the insurgents which led to discussion among the two parties. When the insurgents in January 2001 resorted to guerilla warfare, the Kosovo Force of NATO took firm action against them and by the use of force the insurgents were conquered. Earlier the Albanian insurgents took advantage of the Ground Safety Zone (GSZ) creation and exploited the diplomatic process for their advantage.
However, after the conflicts took serious turn, NATO observed this fact and decided to give GSZ back to the Serbian government in order to control the activities of the insurgents. The negotiations led to creation and acceptance of “Kovic Plan” which assured the various ethnic groups that they would be provided security and that their human rights would be protected. All attempts were made by NATO, government of Serbia and modern Albanian leaders to re-establish peace in this region. During the period of conflict between January 2001 and June 2001, NATO played a significant role in Serbia.
The activities of NATO in the post conflict period have been significant since an attempt was made to use peaceful means to assure security to the various ethnic groups. International agencies have started the donor programs in Serbia in order to provide financial aid to the people of region. This financial aid undoubtedly contributed to the economic recovery of the region. The peaceful activities of NATO provided a sense of security to the Albanians. NATO programs also allowed the international community to show their sympathy with the moderate Albanian leaders and the Serbian government. NATO has played an important role in introducing various ‘confidence building projects’ in the region.
Many other international agencies such as the UN agencies have also participated in these measures. This led to progress in political institutions leading to the emergence of republican governments and municipalities. (Randolph, 2004) During the post conflict years there has been great consensus among the international agencies regarding the peace building process. The international agencies have realized the need for conflict resolution measures such as negotiation and mediation.
The main aim of reconstruction packages of NATO was to re-establish peace and sustainable development of the region. All these measures taken by NATO and other international agencies have significant impact on the conflict resolution process in the region. (Llamazares and Levy, 2003) By participating in the conflict resolution in the Balkan region, NATO tried to strengthen the hands of UNO as after the cold war NATO could afford to deploy its forces to the states outside its member countries.
(Woodliffe, 1998) It is suggested by Millen (2002) that the policies of NATO showed that it is not possible to arrive at conflict resolution by the use of peaceful means alone. Peace and stability was established by the use of force. In the Balkans NATO attacked the insurgents. However, within few weeks of battle, NATO forces would again bring normalcy. Usually the period of battle was followed by the post war reconstruction process which involved signing treaties with the regional and global powers and giving financial aid to these regions for economic recovery.(Millen, 2002)
In the earlier chapter of this project, it has been mentioned that one important strategy pursued by NATO was to increase the number of members in NATO. In order to find a solution to the unstable political atmosphere in the region of Eastern Europe, it was decided to welcome the various countries of Eastern Europe as the new members of NATO.
Consequently, in 1999, it was decided to accept Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic as the members of NATO. NATO began the Membership Action Program (MAP) which analyzed the qualifications of applicant countries who aspired to become NATO members. Only those countries which fulfilled the minimum NATO qualifications were accepted as the members of NATO. (Millen, 2002) Various other countries such as Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia formally applied to become the members of NATO.
This NATO enlargement was done to obtain cooperation of these countries in order to find a solution to the crisis in the region of Eastern Europe. The supporters of enlargement argued that entry of these former members of communist Block would reduce the powers of Russia leading to stability in Eastern Europe.
Another justification given for enlargement was that the NATO members would not fight among themselves and border disputes could be settled within the limits of the NATO organization. Thus, few scholars have supported this strategy of NATO to introduce new members in the NATO. It was thought that entry of these members into NATO would lead to the democratization process leading to the existence of peace and order in the modern world politics.
In fact the American President, welcoming these countries entering into NATO, stated that this would lead to transformation of non-democratic nations into democratic nations. In fact, enlargement of NATO was supported as it was justification for the persistence of NATO in the post cold war period. Based on the above factors, it was decided by the NATO authorities to accept the former members of the Soviet Block as the members of NATO. (Reiter, 2001)
However Reiter (2001) does not agree with this argument that the East European countries would develop ideals of democracy after they become the members of NATO. Reiter suggested that the earlier experience demonstrated that NATO did not encourage the emergence of democracy among the member countries. However, this entry of new members to NATO took place during the cold war. (Reiter, 2001:42)
Critics of NATO enlargement argued that this would not benefit the functioning of NATO as there are large number of costs and risks involved. In fact, it was thought by some scholars that enlargement would lead to alienation of Russia, which is the only great power in the region of Eastern Europe. (Reiter, 2001).
It is also suggested that there was no need for USA to create more enemies such as Russia by alienating Russia by welcoming the various members of the earlier communist block. It is argued by some scholars that this would lead to alliance between Russia and China against USA. (Gaddis, 1998)
It has been argued by Dannreuther (1999-2000) that even after the cold war, Russia remained an important security force in Eastern Europe. Hence, it is not advisable to accept the countries of Balkan region as the members of NATO as this would lead to enmity between NATO and Russia.
It is suggested that alienation of Russia would threaten the earlier disarmament treaties signed between USA and the earlier Soviet Union and this would endanger peace process and does not help in the conflict resolution as Russia is an influential force in Eastern Europe. The intervention of NATO in Serbia was criticized by both elite and general population of Russia which led to growth of threat perception among the Russians regarding the west. (Dannreuther, 1999-2000)
The process of enlargement would increase the cost of managing the affairs of NATO and this also would increase the financial and security burden on NATO. Moreover, the Russians have never exhibited any aggressive attitude towards the other countries of Eastern Europe. In the absence of Russian threat there is no justification for the enlargement of NATO. (Reiter, 2001)
Due to above reasons some scholars consider that NATO committed a blunder by attacking the insurgents in Serbia. It is suggested that NATO did not comprehend the feelings of the people of Serbia. This war has been compared with the Vietnam War waged by USA. (Layne, 1999)
It is also suggested that NATO in the modern world of terrorist attacks, has become irrelevant as it does not play any more significant role in the post cold war era. (Gordon, 2000-2002) In spite of this argument one cannot miss the point that the main aim of enlargement was the establishment of peace and security in the world in general and in Europe in particular. In fact, Woodliffe (1998) presented rather positive effect of the enlargement policy of NATO.
Millen (2002) also supported the policy of enlargement which has been considered as the symbol of a dynamic security organization. In fact, Millen suggested that Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia should be offered membership of NATO to bring peace and stability in these countries.
During the post cold war period, NATO played an important role in the conflict resolution particularly in the region of Balkans. However, NATO also committed few blunders such as alienation of Russia, and the use of force to bring peace and stability in the Eastern Europe. However, one can state that NATO succeeded in its mission of establishing peace and stability in Eastern Europe.
NATO emerged as a result of the cold war relations between the two major Blocks of the world after the end of the Second World War. The major initial goal of forming NATO was to stop the spread of influence of the communist ideology in the various regions of Europe. In fact, attempt was made to include more European countries within the organization of NATO. This led to its expansion as few other European countries like Turkey, Greece, West Germany and Spain joined NATO during the cold war period itself.
However, during the cold war period, NATO mostly catered to the needs and aspirations of the countries of the Western Europe. Nevertheless, during late 1980s there was the end of the cold war. Now, few people expected the decent death of NATO as it was thought that there is no future role of NATO in the absence bipolar world where there was the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of many other nations in Eastern Europe. However, it was realized by the scholars that NATO could play an important role in the countries of Eastern Europe particularly in the Balkans.
During the cold war period and post cold war period NATO pursued various strategies to bring about conflict resolution. During the cold war period, importance was given to collection of large number of all kinds of weapons including nuclear arsenal, as it was thought that this would act of deterrence leading to establishment of world peace. However, even during the cold war period, NATO showed its interest in disarmament although there was arms race between the two Blocks. After the end of cold war, NATO played an important role in the conflict resolution in the Balkans. Now NATO used both aggression and peaceful methods to achieve this conflict resolution. Another strategy pursued by NATO was its expansion by the inclusion of large number countries which belonged to Eastern Europe. Now, NATO catered to the needs of the people of the whole of Europe. NATO perceived its role not only in Europe but also outside Europe.
Some scholars have supported the enlargement strategy of NATO and they believe that this would lead to emergence of peace, security and order in the world. However, some other scholars vehemently argued that this enlargement would lead to alienation of Russia and this would increase the enmity between NATO countries and Russia. Some scholars have suggested that NATO forces have committed anti humanitarian crimes when they attacked the people of Serbia as there was the death of few civilians in the war between NATO forces and the insurgents. It is also suggested that the Balkan venture of NATO was a great blunder and it has been compared with the Vietnam War.
However, if NATO did not use the military force, it was very difficult to control the insurgents in the Eastern Europe. However, for the time being one can discern that NATO has succeeded in solving the crisis in the Balkans which can be considered as an important achievement of NATO. Various treaties have been signed between the ethnic groups and countries of the Balkan region which has led to finding