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  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: March 2012

Chapter 9 - NATO and Russia: Progress or Process?

from PART 2 - Europe looking East

Summary

Introduction

As its title implies, this book is concerned with the nature of Russia's relationship with Europe. In that context, the NATO-Russia dimension poses a specific consideration in that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is much larger than European NATO. Consequently, there is a temptation to disaggregate NATO in order to focus upon its ‘European-ness’ in terms of its interaction with Moscow. The temptation should be resisted, however. It may in theory be possible to disaggregate NATO by separating out its North American and European components, but no meaningful discussion of Europe's security relationship with Russia is possible if it fails to acknowledge the primacy of the US in guiding, if not determining, the existence and persistence of NATO. One may write of the Alliance without specific reference to, say, the views of some of its smaller European members: indeed, in a sense, one may even discuss historical NATO views or positions without reference to France, given its history of autonomy from the military structures. However, any understanding of post-Cold War NATO, including the relationship with the Russian Federation, must contend with the views of Washington and the consequences thereof for its European allies, as will be discussed below. To that extent, nothing much has altered since the Cold War and the US remains, as Richard Holbrooke described it a decade ago, a European power. NATO-Russia interaction as examined here will reflect that fact.

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