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American war, European struggle? Analyzing the influence of domestic politics on the ISAF contributions of EU Member States. College of Europe EU Diplomacy Paper 2011/03, March 2011

Van Liebergen, Bart. (2011) American war, European struggle? Analyzing the influence of domestic politics on the ISAF contributions of EU Member States. College of Europe EU Diplomacy Paper 2011/03, March 2011. [Working Paper]

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    Abstract

    Member states of the European Union (EU) have contributed a substantial share to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). However, the operation’s performance is likely to be constrained by the diverse approaches of the European contributors. This paper examines why and how the Afghan operations of different EU member states have differed from each other by looking at the respective motivations of their governments to participate in the ISAF mission. To that end, it analyzes the policies of France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. It is argued that domestic politics, that is the interaction between public opinion, domestic institutions and the framing of the mission by political elites, as well as broader considerations of foreign policy play an important role in shaping a country’s ISAF policy. By systematically looking at these factors, the paper concludes that European political elites have often endorsed ISAF participation not so much because they believe a secure Afghanistan serves their national security interest, but merely because participation itself serves larger foreign policy interests such as upholding transatlantic relations or European security politics. Yet governments have generally not been good at convincing their electorates of the necessity of ISAF participation. The resulting dwindling public support has often led to ISAF contributions that are risk-minimizing, inflexible, under resourced, or even a ‘showcase mission’.

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    Item Type: Working Paper
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Afghanistan.
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > foreign/security policy 1993--(includes CFSP/CESDP/ESS)
    EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-US
    Other international institutions > NATO
    Countries > France
    Countries > Germany
    Countries > Netherlands
    Countries > U.K.
    EU policies and themes > External relations > conflict resolution/crisis management
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > College of Europe (Brugge) > EU Diplomacy Paper
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 30 May 2011 20:48
    Number of Pages: 36
    Last Modified: 30 May 2011 20:48
    URI: http://aei.pitt.edu/id/eprint/32008

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