Date of Award

Winter 2-23-2018

Degree Type

Honors Thesis


International Studies

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Brian Dowd-Uribe


Montenegro’s 2017 accession to NATO signaled an increased geopolitical interest in the Balkan region. Since then, governments and news sites have discussed the question of what is next for NATO in the Balkans. Similarly, a number of high-level US officials have recently travelled to the region in order to promote Western integration and NATO membership. Their discourses to encourage NATO expansion problematically coincide with discourses that “other” the region through pejorative representations. This paper interrogates this paradox by examining discourses on NATO expansion to Serbia, Macedonia, and Bosnia from the perspective of the US, the alliance’s largest funder. It does so by analyzing the discourse of the US government-funded news site, Voice of America. It then assesses whether domestic political elite actors adopt the negative balkanist discourses of the US. By exploring the connection between current political discourses on the Balkans and representations identified by previous scholarship, I find that American media as well as Balkan politicians counter intuitively manipulate negative representations of the Balkans and historical narratives as a geopolitical discursive device for encouraging NATO expansion.