HOW THE WEST WON: Post-Cold War negotiations on NATO enlargement in the 1990-2000s

Boris Kyrychenko

Citation: Boris Kyrychenko, ​HOW THE WEST WON: Post-Cold War Negotiations on NATO enlargement in the 1990-20002,​ Global Affairs Review, No. 1, Vol. 1, Fall/Winter 2020.

doi: 10.51330/gar.0020114

ISSN: 2660-6968

date: December 15, 2020


With the disappearance of the Soviet Union, in 1991, the American-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) became the triumphant military alliance in Europe. Following prolonged deliberations, NATO eventually conducted a systematic enlargement of the alliance into Central and Eastern Europe. This expansion of the alliance was fiercely contested, and according to many critics was based upon a ‘broken promise’ of no-NATO expansion east of a newly-reunified Germany, an assurance given during the negotiations on German reunification by the leaders of the Western alliance. This paper will explore the enlargement of NATO in the 1990s, whether or not it was indeed based on a broken promise of non-expansionism, how this enlargement was accomplished, and how it has affected the subsequent geopolitics of Europe. In doing so, this paper shall argue that a multitude of false assurances on NATO expansion were given to Soviet officials during the negotiations on German reunification.