The Unsettled Alliance: Risk, Fear and Solidarity in NATO


  • Gry Thomasen British American Security Information Council


NATO, NATO-Russia, North-Eastern flank, risk reduction, deterrence, post-Cold War


NATO never managed to settle how the Alliance should manage Russia post-Cold War. Consequently, the Alliance is still experiencing an internal dichotomy. This article explores the Alliance dynamics since the end of the Cold War and argues that the North-eastern flank countries’ perceptions of Russia and Russian intentionality appear to be based on fear which lead them to pursue an ever-strengthened forward defence. Moreover, this is seen by the flank to be at odds with their Western allies that are willing to pursue a more cooperative approach to Russia. Risk reduction policies therefore become a potential point of contention between the allies, however also a vehicle for the North-eastern flank to boost the forward defence in the region.

Author Biography

Gry Thomasen, British American Security Information Council

Dr Gry Thomasen is a Senior Policy Fellow at BASIC (British American Security Information Council) and Programme Manager of BASIC’s programme on risk reduction. Gry holds a PhD in Cold War history from the University of Copenhagen and was awarded a postdoc grant from the Carlsberg Foundation to undertake research into nuclear non-proliferation history at the Danish Institute for International Studies. She has previously been Visiting Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Cold War History Research Centre in Budapest and a Visiting Researcher at the Centre for Science and Security Studies, King’s College, London.
Dr Thomasen has published in the International History Review, with Central European University Press and is the co-editor of The Palgrave Handbook of Non-State Actors in East-West Relations (forthcoming).