NATO and Kosovo: Great Expectations, Great Failures?

Date of Graduation

Fall 2004


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

C. Walton


Soon after Operation Allied Force ended on 4 June 1999, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) proclaimed that it had scored a great victory. The assertedly consistent attitude of the Alliance towards its goals, its applied strategy, and its consensus among member states was emphasized. NATO had envisioned a near term politically and economically stable Kosovo region. The first war fought by NATO was a test case for its policy, its diplomacy, its military structures, and the capabilities of its members, as well as its political will to accomplish the stated goals. In addition, the war raised the question of the European role in NATO and in future conflicts. European shortcomings were outlined by the United States, while American 'dominance' furthered the European decision to pursue a defense organization within the European Union and independent from NATO. This thesis analyses the major historic and diplomatic events that led to NATO's engagement in Kosovo and the conduct of the war itself. Furthermore, it examines NATO's war aims in the context of the outcome of the Kosovo war. A critical analysis of NATO's alleged success in Kosovo and obvious frictions within the alliance will be incuded.


Kosovo, Serbs, Albanians, NATO, Operation Allied Force, lessons learned, trans-Atlantic link

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Boris Proepping