Enabling NATO Enlargement: Changing Constructions of the Baltic States


Maria Mälksoo


University of Cambridge



Abstract. The current paper is a critical constructivist account of the changing Western perceptions of the Baltic states in the context of the debate over NATO enlargement. The article shows how the initial perception of the Baltic states as falling within the former Soviet Union’s sphere of legitimate interest, and therefore outside the area of potential NATO enlargement, changed in response to an American-led reconstruction of NATO’s role from that of a defensive alliance to the framework of a democratic security community.