Four motives contend for the title of main
determinant of international behavior: power,
security, economic gains, and ideals. These four can
best be tested by comparing five American military
commitments in Europe: World War I, World War II, the
establishment of NATO at the beginning of the Cold
War, the perpetuation of NATO after the end of the
Cold War, and the campaigns in the Bosnia & Kosovo.
The research finds that power was the predominant
factor. As American relative power grew, the United
States sought to increase control over European
affairs by expanding its political interests in the
continent. This, however, did not happen in a uniform
manner. States do not expand when their relative
national power increases, but rather when decision
makers perceive a relative increase in state power.
The theory most useful in explaining this is
neoclassical realism. This theoretical perspective,
extensive archival research on the beginning of the
Cold War, and scores of interviews with high ranking
officials in the 1990''s reveal an American Empire
frame of mind.