Date of Award

Spring 2001

Document Type



Political Science & International Relations

First Advisor

Erik Pratt

Second Advisor

Phil Wittman

Third Advisor

Robert Swartout


NATO’s intervention in Kosovo can be viewed as an example o f this “temptation to engage.” That is to say, NATO’s rationale for intervening in Kosovo is rooted in the tenets o f democratic peace theory. In this example, the Western powers viewed the FRY as an illiberal state and were therefore inclined to act with hostility toward Yugoslavia in an attempt to liberate the Kosovars from the oppressive regime. In an effort to understand democratic peace theory I will explore its origin in Immanuel Kant’s essay on “Perpetual Peace.” Secondly, I explain how democratic peace theory has been incorporated into American foreign policy. I will explore how the tenets o f democratic peace gave rise to a policy of enlargement and engagement in the Clinton administration. Finally, I will discuss how this foreign policy directed NATO’s intervention in the FRY. By understanding the ideas behind NATO’s rationale for intervention in Kosovo, I hope to understand the true nature o f its intervention. This, I hope, will give insight into the changing rules o f war and whether interventions for humanitarian purposes will be likely in the post-Cold War era. Also by understanding the criteria that determined the grounds for intervention in Kosovo, I hope to answer why the U.S. and NATO chose to intervene in Kosovo and not in countries such as Sierra Leone or East Timor.