Conflict Resolution and NATO

Abstract

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.

Chapter I

Introduction

Background

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.

Chapter II

Literature Survey

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.

Chapter III

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.

Chapter IV

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 t