AuthorKelly, Serena


Author: Joe Burton

Published by: State University of New York Press, Albany,

2018, 269pp, US$90 (hb), $25.95 (pb).

Those interested in international relations will be well aware that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) was established in 1949 to guard against the growing threat of the Soviet Union. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, which prompted Francis Fukuyama's claim of the 'end of history' and the ascendency of Western liberal democracies, the utility of NATO was called into question. Yet, as Burton successfully argues throughout this book, NATO has managed to endure, adapt and even metamorphose in the 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. After a brief context-setting introduction, the structure of this book follows largely an historical timeline--beginning with the end of the Cold War and ending with NATO's role in, and reaction on, Libya, Ukraine and threats from ISIS.

Chapter one examines NATO's Cold War foundations and institutional change which was deemed necessary in light of the new global situation (including the rise of intrastate conflict) and debate over the enlargement of the alliance. The latter issue has been the subject of much debate. Realists view NATO's eastern enlargement as provoking NATO's old foe, Russia, whereas supporters of enlargement noted the importance of NATO's enlargement for creating stability in enlargement countries--presenting an opportunity for new members to be socialised with the West and helping their transition towards becoming westernised liberal democracies. Enlargement was even framed in this context as a security benefit for Russia.

Burton's second chapter analyses lessons for NATO through its actions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. Burton argues that NATO action in these conflicts emerged from weaknesses in the United Nations and also the European Union. In Bosnia, Russian co-operation was important for adding to NATO's legitimacy. Motivation for Kosovo was a mixture of self-interest and morals. Burton argues that Serbia's and Kosovo's current movement towards the West (Serbia is an EU candidate and Kosovo a potential EU candidate) is an important indicator of the success of the missions.

Chapters three and four address '9/11 and the Transatlantic rift' and 'NATO's war on terror in Afghanistan'. The former chapter provides an overview of what is probably NATO's more pressing internal conflict since the end of the Cold...

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