|dc.description.abstract||The security dilemma is known to be one of the most important concepts in the field of International Relations and is often used to describe the causes of conflict in the international system. Insecurity concerning the motives of the other states creates incentives for each state to build up its own defense. As a consequence, this security dilemma can lead to a negative spiral of arms race and war, which none of the states actually prefer or benefit from.
One of the other important concepts of International Relations is the deterrence model. The model is often described as an alternative explanation of the security dilemma-model, in which the causes of conflict and arms race is said to be actions put forward to deter an aggressive state.
In the last couple of years, Russia has proved to the world that it is as a strong military capable state, which NATO and the U.S. are bound to take into account. After the military actions in Georgia in 2008, Russia made once again use of its military capacity against Ukraine. In March 2014, in a relative bloodless invasion, Russia took control over Crimea and, after a referendum, the area was included in the Russian Federation. The European states, NATO and the U.S. were shocked by the Russian military actions and by the short amount of time Russia used to mobilize and take control over the situation. The following period was characterized by a civil war in southeastern Ukraine, military buildup on both sides of the conflict, sanctions against Russia and an extensive diplomatic effort in the west to organize a response against what they consider to be Russian aggression.
My research question is: are NATO/the West and Russia caught in a security dilemma? Can the security dilemma explain the relationship between Russia and NATO in 2014 and 2015, or is deterrence theory and balance of power better suited to explain why Russia and the West acts as they do? Through an empirical study of the actions initiated by Russia, NATO and the West in 2014 and 2015, I seek to uncover which of these two models that best describes the relationship.
My findings show that there are elements of both sets of mechanisms in the period: Russia seems to be more motivated by an urge to change status quo than by fear, while NATO and the West seems to be primarily motivated by what they perceive as Russian aggression, which they ultimately want to deter. The data clearly shows that: 1) the states’ actions follow as a reaction to each other, indicating a tit-for-tat pattern. 2) NATO primarily uses economic or
diplomatic instruments, while Russia rely more heavily on military instruments. 3) NATO changed its strategy to a more military approach in 2015. 4) There is a difference in the weight given to and the effectiveness of NATO deterrence strategies between NATO member states and non-member states. And 5) the parties involved try to escape the security dilemma through the introduction of “rules of the game” in 2015.||nb_NO