NATO engaged the debate on its new strategic concept at a moment when tensions between designs of security cooperation were reaching critical levels. NATO had with reluctance abandoned its old role as an alliance, and ambiguity prevailed in relation to the Alliance’s future mission. During 1997 and 1998, in the run-up to the April 1999 Washington summit celebrating NATO’s fiftieth anniversary, the Alliance operated on two levels. On the one hand, the vision of Europe unified was cultivated, and the summit could rightly be portrayed as the first enlargement summit of the post–Cold War era with Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic having entered the Alliance just days ahead of it. On the other hand, the allies subtly jockeyed to define the Alliance in such a way that venues for national influence would become broader. This was in some measure the old story— of the previous chapter—but now a breaking point was reached. Naturally, breaking points are hard to identify because breaks tend to occur as a consequence of structural pressures operating over time but it would at least seem accurate to say that the Kosovo war, March–June 1999, made several key governments realize that things could not stand as they were, that ambiguity had reached its limits.
KeywordsEuropean Union Security Council Crisis Management United Nations Security Council Collective Security
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