The culture of national security in Slovakia, 1993 to 1998: The relationship among norms, identity and national security

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


International Studies

First Committee Member

Roger E. Kanet - Committee Chair


On 1 January 1993 the Republic of Slovakia became a sovereign state and the Slovak's finally achieved their independence. Slovakia desired to integrate into Euro-Atlantic institutions and declared its aspiration to join a collective defense organization, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). However, NATO did not extend an invitation to Slovakia in 1997 during the Alliance's first post-Cold War round of enlargement. In this study I explored the reasons that NATO did not invite Slovakia to join NATO along with the other new members. I employed a qualitative methodology, which included research trips to Slovakia, interviews with political actors and intellectuals, firsthand observations, historical analysis, content analysis of documents, results of opinion polls, and inference. First, I surveyed Slovakia's history. Second, I explored Slovakia's domestic environment, the identity of Slovaks, the background of the dominant political actor---Prime Minister Vladimir MeCiar, the concept of MeCiarism, and the people's struggle for democracy. Third, I reviewed NATO's history and investigated the culture of national security in Slovakia, its post-communist path, political events beyond 1998, and conducted a brief comparative analysis with other post-communist states. I concluded that Slovakia's historical experiences, such as repeated invasions, external domination, authoritarian rule and ongoing struggles to maintain a language and a separate identity shaped the behavior of Slovakia's people and political actors, its interests and policies and constructed the state's national identity. This identity influenced voters to support political actors who pursued increased autonomy and independence in the post-communist period. These political actors---primarily MeCiar and his key supporters---desired to maintain the state's absolute sovereignty thereby preserving their authoritarian control of the state. This authoritarian control between 1993 and 1998 resulted in Slovakia displaying an institutionalized pattern of domestic behavior that was deficient in democratic principles, human rights, and the rule of law and was inconsistent with international norms of behavior. Thus the overall culture of the domestic environment and of national security in Slovakia was such that Slovakia was not invited during NATO's first round of post-Cold War enlargement.


Political Science, General

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