NATO expansion has brought neither peace nor democracy to post-Cold War Europe, says Notre Dame expert Michael Desch

Author: University of Notre Dame

Michael C. Desch, Packey J. Dee Professor of International Relations at the University of Notre Dame and Brian and Jeannelle Brady Family Director of the Notre Dame International Security Center, offers the following comments on the current Russia/Ukraine tensions.

"In 1995 I was in a meeting with Russia President Boris Yeltsin’s Foreign Minister Andrew Kozyrev. He was warning the delegation of Americans I was with, which included some former US Government officials, that if the US was committed to democracy in Russia, the last thing we should do is expand NATO into the former Soviet space. We didn’t listen and in 1999 admitted the first three new members: Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. The next year, Vladimir Putin came to power. Fast forward to today, with 9 more new NATO members and Russia is rattling the sword and demanding that NATO not admit Ukraine. Subsequent American administrations have argued that NATO expansion would bring peace and democracy to post-Cold War Europe; it has brought neither."


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Originally published by University of Notre Dame at on January 12, 2022.