NATO's Success in Kosovo

Yugoslav army vehicles block a road in the town of Kraljevo, some 180km from Belgrade, June 24, 1999. Reuters


NATO's Kosovo operation was a major challenge in the history of the Atlantic alliance. For the first time, a defensive alliance launched a military campaign to avoid a humanitarian tragedy outside its own borders. For the first time, an alliance of sovereign nations fought not to conquer or preserve territory but to protect the values on which the alliance was founded. And despite many challenges, NATO prevailed.

Throughout the 1990s NATO has been instrumental in managing Europe's security evolution -- a testament both to the vitality of the transatlantic link and to its ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Yet if there was any flaw in this emerging cooperative-security framework, it was the fact that parts of the Balkans remained outside NATO's borders. Having never been fully resolved over the course of this century, the Balkan question returned with a vengeance when the violent collapse of the

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