New contribution to the International Relations debate on the role of NATO

Dr Alexandra Gheciu`s new book on NATO in the `New Europe`: The Politics of International Socialization after the Cold War has recently been released by Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2005).

This book contributes to the debates in International Relations on the question of the post-Cold War role of NATO by arguing that, contrary to conventional assumptions about the role of international security organizations, NATO has been systematically involved in the process of building liberal democracy in the former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. At the heart of this process lie a series of socialisation practices aimed at leading decision-makers and other actors from the former communist states to adopt a particular set of liberal democratic norms. In carrying out those practices, NATO came to perform functions that are usually attributed to sovereign authorities. On the basis of several case studies, the book demonstrates that, contrary to the conventional wisdom on this issue, NATO has affected not only the strategies but also the definitions of identity and interest held by Central and East European actors. In a broader perspective, it shows that the pursuit of Euro-Atlantic security in the post-Cold War period involves a significant blurring of the traditional distinction between domestic and international politics, as international actors have become systematically involved in processes of defining security, identifying threats and formulating the norms underlying national security institutions?that is, processes traditionally regarded as belonging solely in the domestic realm.

Alexandra Gheciu was appointed to the position of Research Associate in International Relations with the Oxford Leverhulme Programme on the Changing Character of War in September 2004. Located within the Department of Politics and International Relations, the Programme is as interdisciplinary collaboration to bring together academics and practitioners to engage with issues related to the changing character of war. Within the framework of the CCW Programme, Alexandra is currently exploring the meaning of the `war on terrorism` and its broader impact on the security architecture of the Euro-Atlantic world in a new book manuscript entitled: International Security Institutions and the Politics of Fighting Terrorism. She is also working with Dr Jennifer Welsh (University Lecturer in International Relations) on a project on the evolution of norms concerning the international responsibility to rebuild failed states, particularly states emerging from war. A joint paper on this topic was presented at the ECPR Convention in Budapest, September 9, 2005.

Other recent publications include:

  • Security Institutions as Agents of Socialization? an article in a special issue of International Organisation (October 2005)
  • International Norms, Power, and the Politics of International Administration, in Geopolitics vol.10 (1), 2005;
  • Civilizing the Balkans, Protecting Europe in a book edited by Jef Huysmas, The Politics of Protection (forthcoming, December 2005, Routledge).

Further information about the Oxford Leverhulme Programme on the Changing Character of War can be found on their website at: