Home / Articles / The Lessons of Kosovo: Boon or Bust for Transatlantic Security?
The NATO intervention in Kosovo in spring 1999 was a watershed event for transatlantic relations. On the one hand, it was NATO’s first military intervention, and its success reconfirmed a half-century of U.S.–Western European cooperation and community-building in their security relations. On the other hand, Operation Allied Force and the operations preceding and following it deepened fissures in the transatlantic relationship that had begun to emerge with the end of the Cold War. The retreat of Soviet power, the unification of Germany, and NATO and the EU’s enlargement processes each in turn contributed to the transformation of Western security relations. If the Gulf War reflected the last military intervention led by the U.S. as a Cold War power, Allied Force offered the first glimpse of the contest over Western interventionism emerging in the early moments of the post–Cold War order. NATO’s intervention into Kosovo quickened the pace of change in transatlantic relations and fueled the European challenge to the mantel of Western political leadership worn by the U.S. throughout the Cold War and into the early post–Cold War period. Thus, Allied Force represents an important transition point in the shift from one international order to the next, one still murky in its outline.