Europe Moves Eastward: NATO’s Peaceful Advance

Issue Date January 2004
Volume 15
Issue 1
Page Numbers 63-76
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Scholars, policy-makers, and pundits have long debated the impact of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on East European democratization. This article argues that NATO has been an essential instrument of democratic transition and consolidation because it has a) guaranteed security, a fundamental precondition of democratization; b) exerted a positive general influence on political processes; and c) urged and helped shape specific policies in the military-security domain. After explaining the East European states’ interest in gaining full membership in the Alliance, the article analyzes the debates preceding the 1997 and 2002 enlargement decisions and the ways in which 9/11 has changed NATO’s expansion.

About the Author

Zoltan Barany is Frank C. Erwin Jr. Centennial Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of Armies of Arabia: Military Politics and Effectiveness in the Gulf (2021). His 2007 book Democratic Breakdown and the Decline of the Russian Military was republished in paperback by Princeton University Press in 2023.

View all work by Zoltan Barany