Author Biography

Nikoloz G. Esitashvili holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in International Relations from Florida International University. He holds a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and European Studies from American University in Bulgaria. His fields of research are security studies, international political economy, and political psychology. He regularly publishes in international journals. He was a Visiting Professor in International Relations at FIU, Miami in 2016-2018. He is currently a Chief Specialist of the Scientific-Research Center at David Aghmashenebeli National Defense Academy as well as an Assistant Professor in international relations at New Vision University in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.

Félix E. Martín is an Associate Professor of International Relations at Florida International University. He holds an M.Phil. and a Ph.D. from Columbia University and an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Chicago. His research areas are international relations theory, security and peace studies, and international political economy. He authored Militarist Peace in South America: Conditions for War and Peace (2006), co-authored Russia and Latin America: From Nation-State to Society of States (2013), and co-edited Latin America’s Quest for Globalization: The Role of Spanish Firms (2005). He is currently working on three book projects under contract. One is a co-edited volume on strategic culture and Latin America’s policy continuities; another is a co-authored book on his coined concept of dis-development in Latin America, and the third is the Routledge Handbook of International Political Economy of Latin America. He has been a Fulbright Scholar in Spain and a Visiting Scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies of Columbia University.



Subject Area Keywords

International relations, International security, Military affairs, National security, Security studies


NATO endured the end of the Cold War in 1991, its members deepened their commitment to the alliance, and it expanded considerably. Its survival fundamentally challenges the logic of realism, prompting two essential questions. First, is it possible to salvage realist alliance theory in the face of its apparent failure to explain NATO's continuing operation? This article contends that realism is repairable and salvageable in this context. Second, if realism is still a viable argument about NATO's endurance, how can it explain it? This article adds a complementary and still-missing explanation to realism based on economic incentives and gains. It argues that economic considerations such as the high cost and complexity to research, design, develop, and produce cost-efficiently modern, sophisticated, and technically complex weapon systems represented a substantial financial undertaking for NATO's great power members. The unparalleled economic burden prompted allies to pull resources together instead of seeking security unilaterally or through other alignment alternatives. The economic imperative of the modern defense industry is an essential and overlooked variable among realist and non-realist perspectives. Economic incentives affected in unprecedented ways the strategic calculus of NATO's great powers and, thus, causes their increased commitment to the alliance, its endurance, and expansion.