Understanding Nato's Sustainability: The Limits of Institutionalist Theory (Report) by Global Governance

Understanding Nato's Sustainability: The Limits of Institutionalist Theory (Report)

By Global Governance

  • Release Date: 2011-01-01
  • Category: Politics & Current Events

Brief Description

Our assumption in this article is that sustainable peace operations require the involvement of organizations and institutions that are themselves sustainable. We begin by presenting a set of propositions regarding the sustainability of international institutions in which the capacity for adaptation and incremental change are centrally important. We then examine these propositions in relation to NATO, paying particular attention to the ways in which the alliance has taken on both new roles and new members. A central concern of the article is the ways in which NATO member states' conceptions of identity and definitions of national interest affect the sustainability of the alliance, and limit the ability of alliance members to generate the longer-term commitment needed for peace support operations. KEYWORDS: NATO, institutions, institutional change, sustainability, Afghanistan. THE NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION'S (NATO) MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN continues to dominate the headlines in many of those states whose forces are deployed to it. The escalation in violence in that country and sharp increase in attacks on coalition forces--combined with continued challenges in reaching a stable political settlement--have provoked anguished debates both within individual governments and among alliance members about the prospects for NATO's first engagement in sustained ground military operations. Such debates have been marked not only by soul-searching concerning the future of allied deployments, but also by increasingly bitter exchanges between allies regarding what many perceive to be the iniquitous division of the burden being carried by some member states. Indeed, commentators have been moved to suggest that burden sharing is an area in which NATO has been "spectacularly unsuccessful." (1) In response, NATO heads of state and government have been quick to insist that they would "support each other in sharing the burden in Afghanistan." (2)

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