The American Push for NATO Enlargement 1989-1999

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When the Cold War drew to its conclusion, the Warsaw Treaty Organization and the Soviet Union were crumbling. This left many Eastern European countries in a state of uncertainty. NATO was a possible solution to solve their security issues. A small collective within the American government saw this as an opportunity to enlarge NATO. This made the United States the primary initiators of the NATO enlargement policy. Although there were many actors, both within and outside of the United States, who were not enthusiastic about the pace at which NATO enlargement occurred, it was pushed through. This thesis analyzes how and why the United States pushed for NATO enlargement in the period from 1989 to 1999, when George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were in office. The role of securitization and the construction of security will be central in determining the political argumentation behind enlargement. The road to NATO enlargement which added the Visegrád countries in 1999 was hard fought and many hurdles had to be cleared by the Bush and Clinton administration to ensure its completion.
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