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Title: NATO-Russia Relations Unleashed Cooperation Through Compartmentalization
Authors: Fleck, Jesse
Advisors: Beissinger, Mark
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2015
Abstract: This thesis answers the question: Why have NATO and Russia repeatedly resumed cooperation? This thesis answers this question through an in-depth analysis of the three episodes during which time NATO-Russia relations broke down. These three episodes are: the 1999 Kosovo Incident, the 2008 Russia-Georgia War and the 2014 ongoing Ukrainian Crisis. This thesis uses three international relations theories to attempt to explain the resumption of cooperation. The theories are: Neorealism, Constructivism and Liberalism. Within the theoretical framework of neorealism, this thesis creates a new concept called compartmentalization to use as a litmus test explanation for why NATO and Russia have repeatedly resumed cooperation. Compartmentalization is defined as occurring when two actors separate disagreed upon security threats from agreed upon security threats in order to cooperate on the agreed upon security threats. The thesis then tests the three theories on the two historical episodes of resumption of cooperation. In the final chapter, the thesis applies the theory that best describes the two historical cases to predict the future for NATO-Russia relations in the ongoing Ukraine crisis. This thesis has found that compartmentalization is a successful method of interpreting why NATO and Russia have repeatedly resumed cooperation. In both historical cases, NATO and Russia found it necessary to separate their bilateral conflicting security threats (NATO enlargement and Russian sphere of influence) from their shared security threats (terrorism and drug-trafficking) in order to cooperate on their acknowledged shared security threats. NATO and Russia decide to compartmentalize because these shared threats are non-traditional, they can occur at any time and at any location regardless of the NATO-Russia relationship. This thesis argues that compartmentalization will continue to appear in NATO-Russia relations in both the current Ukraine crisis and in the future because shared non-traditional threats will remain in the international system. Finally, this study on NATO-Russia relations has disclosed that relationships in the post-Cold War era are fundamentally different than in the former Cold War era. States/institutions do not have the leisure to hold a grudge against another recognized state/institution because non-traditional threats can harm both of them. Instead, states will now cooperate regardless of their bilateral relations in order to defeat a shared non-traditional threat. The caveat emptor of this new relationship dynamic, as seen in the NATO-Russia relationship, is that opposing states will still retain their bilateral threats, which may lead to future conflicts. Thus, the international system will have both non-traditional threats and traditional threats occurring simultaneously.
Extent: 125 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2017

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