Kimberly Marten headshot


On April 25, 2023, Kimberly Marten, professor of political science, participated in a Cato Institute event titled Evaluating NATO Enlargement: From Cold War Victory to the Russia‐Ukraine War. The event, which brought forth contemporary debates regarding the effects of NATO’s expansion from 16 to 31 (soon to be 32) nations over the past 30 years, relates to Marten’s chapter in the book Evaluating NATO Enlargement, which was published back in February.

The chapter Marten authored, “NATO Enlargement: Evaluating Its Consequences in Russia,” unpacks the claim that NATO’s post-Cold War enlargement threatened Russian security interests and caused a downturn in Russia’s relations with the West. Marten argues that NATO enlargement made the alliance weaker militarily, as it was harder to defend, especially until Finland joined. She argues that the downturn in Russia’s relationship with the West was caused by Russia’s reaction to its own declining influence in the world and, further, that NATO enlargement was likely not responsible for Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine in 2022. Ultimately, Marten contends that while Russia reacted negatively to NATO enlargement right from the start, the reaction was manipulated and magnified by both the nationalist opposition and Vladimir Putin’s regime to serve domestic political interests.