NO COUNTRY AN ISLAND: ICELAND'S CONTRIBUTIONS TO NATO SINCE 1949
Morgan, John R., III
Yost, David S.
Mabry, Tristan J.
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The United States and its Allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) shifted their collective focus away from the North Atlantic in the early 1990s because Russia was no longer a dominant threat to Western security as it had been during the Cold War. After two decades of fighting in the Middle East (since the 1990–1991 Gulf War), in 2011, the United States announced a “pivot to the Asia-Pacific region.” Since 2014, however, a resurgent Russia has caused the Alliance to once again turn its attention to the North Atlantic. This thesis assesses Iceland’s role in NATO during the Cold War and beyond. It relies on historical information to develop analyses on alliance management and the power of small states. The thesis then turns to contemporary events and sources to explain NATO’s heightened state of alarm in the face of an increasingly aggressive and opportunistic Kremlin. Western air and naval forces have witnessed a marked increase in confrontational incidents with Russian military forces, and East-West tension has increased. In this context of NATO’s “pivot back to the North Atlantic,” Iceland’s geostrategic value to the Alliance has again come to the fore.
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