Collision Course: NATO, Russia, and Kosovo

Collision Course: NATO, Russia, and Kosovo

by John Norris, Strobe Talbott
     
 

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If Europe, Russia, and international bodies such as the U.N. and NATO end up playing a more prominent role in Iraq's immediate future, all parties, including the United States, would do well to revisit the lessons learned during the U.S.-led war in Kosovo in 1999. As a confrontation over Kosovo's final push for independence looms, this book offers seminal insight

Overview

If Europe, Russia, and international bodies such as the U.N. and NATO end up playing a more prominent role in Iraq's immediate future, all parties, including the United States, would do well to revisit the lessons learned during the U.S.-led war in Kosovo in 1999. As a confrontation over Kosovo's final push for independence looms, this book offers seminal insight into the negotiations that took place between the United States and Russia in an effort to set the terms for ending the conflict. This study in brinksmanship and deception is an essential background for anyone trying to understand Russia's uneasy relations with the West.

America's relationship with Russia has become increasingly important as Washington has engaged Moscow as a critical, but often prickly, ally in the war on terror. From smoky late-night sessions at dachas outside of Moscow to meetings in the White House Situation Room, Norris captures the feel of a war that repeatedly threatened to spin out of control. He offers a vivid portrait of some of the larger-than-life characters involved in the conflict, including U.S. president Bill Clinton, General Wesley Clark, Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, and Russian president Boris Yeltsin. New information includes backstage efforts to open a direct negotiating channel between Milosevic and Washington at the height of the conflict. The book reaches a dramatic crescendo against the backdrop of the war's final days, when Russia unleashed a secret plan to push its forces into Kosovo, ahead of NATO peacekeepers.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Norris, now with the International Crisis Group, was Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott's communications director during the Clinton Administration. His book recounts the immediate genesis and outcome of the 1999 Kosovo crisis. The author has the advantage of an insider's experience….Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and practitioners." - Choice

"Collision Course: NATO, Russia, and Kosovo tells the story of the real diplomacy behind the Kosova crisis….[n]o one has told this important story in more detail or uncovered so many points at which things went disastrously wrong." - Times Literary Supplement (London)

"As communications director for U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, the lead American negotiator during the war, John Norris had a ringside seat for the diplomacy that ultimately produced a settlement. The story is a dramatic one, and Norris tells it well, drawing the reader into the web of relationships within and between the countries involved….Norris is particularly good at conveying just how grueling diplomacy can be. The number of flights that Talbott and his team took to Europe and Moscow, resulting in a marathon series of exhausting negotiations, is extraordinary….[e]ven readers familiar with the general contours of the Kosovo war will learn a great deal from an extraordinary tale-one that is told extraordinarily well." - Political Science Quarterly

"[N]o one has pulled the war's tale together quite as Norris has—teaching even those who had central roles, such as the Finnish president, Martti Ahtisaari, things they id not know. Becuase NATO allies also often did not agree, and even the U.S. commander in Europe fought with the U.S. secretary of defense, it makes for a saga as tempestuous as it was crucial." - Foreign Affairs

"[E]xamines the multilateral diplomacy surrounding the Kosovo war. Author John Norris was communications director for U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, the lead diplomat for the United States on the crisis, and his book provides a highly readable, blow-by-blow history of the diplomacy that sought to resolve the conflict. As presented by Norriss book, the Kosovo conflict suggests that aggressive multilateral diplomacy, coupled with the use of limited force, can perhaps solve such disputes, or at least prevent the worst outcomes for them." - The Washington Diplomat

"[A]n important and exciting story told with verve and a lot of detail by the author….The debate will continue, and this interesting, well-researched book is a valuable addition to it." - International Affairs

"Norris judges the diplomacy as largely successful, but offers cautionary notes about the fragility of alliances with Europe and the challenges of engaging Russia." - Reference & Research Book News

Foreign Affairs
It was a decisive moment for the NATO alliance, a make-or-break point in the quest to control genocide in the Balkans, and the low point in post-Cold War relations between Russia and the United States. The 1999 Kosovo war, coming on the eve of a U.S. presidential race and amid an impeachment campaign against the Russian president, came closer to producing an absolute rupture in U.S.-Russian relations, including a near military confrontation, than any event in the last decade and a half. Although already the subject of a dozen books and memoirs, no one has pulled the war's tale together quite as Norris has — teaching even those who had central roles, such as the Finnish president, Martti Ahtisaari, things they did not know. Because NATO allies also often did not agree, and even the U.S. commander in Europe fought with the U.S. secretary of defense, it makes for a saga as tempestuous as it was crucial.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780275987534
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date:
04/30/2005
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
362
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.81(d)

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What People are saying about this

Richard Holbrooke
"The definitive book on one of the most important American military actions since the end of the Cold War. Norris has told the story with a cinematic eye for the details of a roller coaster, high-stakes, ride— climaxed by the astonishing confrontation that almost led to fighting between NATO and the Russians."
Martti Ahtisaari
"John Norris has succeeded in capturing the hectic space and special atmosphere of Kosovo negotiations in a remarkable manner. His book contains much new material even to the participant in the negotiation process."
Michael McFaul
"John Norris has written a masterful account of a poorly understood yet critical piece of diplomacy between Americans, Europeans, and Russians conducted during the Kosovo war. Norris takes advantage of his keen analytical skills, his superb ability to tell a story, and his firsthand experiences in this historical drama to retrace the ebb and flow of disaster narrowly averted in U.S.-Russian relations. For anyone interested in how diplomacy is really practiced, this is a must read."

Meet the Author

JOHN NORRIS is the senior political adviser with the United Nations Mission in Nepal. He also served as the Washington Chief of Staff for the International Crisis Group while conducting a wide range of field work in Asia, Africa, and the Balkans.

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