ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS FORT LEAVENWORTH United States
Confrontation between nations and ideologies is not something new or surprising. One of the most noticeable and significant oppositions and separations in the world was between the Soviet Union and the West during the Cold War. When the war ended, the relations between Russia and the West passed through different stages, eventually reaching the level of strategic partnership. However, since 2007 the tension between the parties has increased and has reached a level comparable to the peak of the Cold War. One of the impediments has been the enlargement of NATO. This paper examines the possible connection between the commitments for no NATO enlargement made during negotiations on the German reunification and the current diplomatic and military friction between the U.S.NATO and Russia. It further discusses the understanding of commitment made by the West to the Soviet Union during the negotiations in 1989-1990. In addition, it discusses the Russian reaction to each tranche of NATO enlargement since 1990 and the efforts that the West has made to address the Russian security concerns. Finally, the paper investigates the Russian perception of threat, how it affects its attitude toward the West, and what role the commitments from 1989-1990 play in it.