Over the past two decades, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has enlarged several times to include a number of new countries. The first two case studies that are analyzed within this paper include key countries that were added in the 1999 and 2004 rounds of NATO enlargement: Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. The third case study takes a closer look at two countries, Ukraine and Georgia, that sought to become members of NATO but were denied Membership Action Plans (MAPs) because of Russian discontent and military intervention. It is questionable if Russia will use military force to disrupt the territorial sovereignty of future prospective NATO candidate countries. This paper aims to identify the trend between countries seeking NATO membership and Russian intervention within these countries. Poland joined NATO in 1999, and much to Moscow’s dislike, NATO’s borders expanded farther into Eastern Europe. The Baltic States, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania, joined NATO in 2004, pushing the NATO border right against Russia’s northwestern front. This gave western alliances the ability to host military operations through NATO on the Russian border. It is apparent that Moscow has done everything in its power to prevent more countries that share a border with Russia from joining NATO. Only three months after the Bucharest Summit in 2008, Russia invaded two territories in Georgia. After the pro-Russian president in Ukraine was ousted in 2014, Russia invaded Eastern Ukraine and annexed the Crimean Peninsula. In order to be offered a MAP, the candidate country must have complete sovereignty over its territory. By invading key points within both Georgia and Ukraine, Russia was delaying their ability to become members of the security alliance. It is apparent that there is a connection between increased NATO collaboration with countries that border Russia, and military action taken upon those countries by Russia.
Dr. Houman Sadri
Dr. Vladimir Solonari
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Sciences
International and Global Studies
Orlando (Main) Campus
Radcliffe, Christopher M., "NATO Enlargement: Poland, The Baltics, Ukraine and Georgia" (2018). Honors in the Major Theses. 400.