The Future of Transatlantic Relations: Perceptions, Policy and Practice

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Adler and Barnett outline three defining characteristics of security communities. First, such communities will have shared identities, values and meanings which are ascribable to events, institutions and actors. Third, states will exhibit reciprocity in relations and a certain degree of altruism, obligation and responsibility towards one another Adler and Barnett, Such communities can also provide a mechanism through which learning can occur Schimmelfennig, , which we have discussed above.

Moreover, latest constructivist scholarship has concentrated on the question of agency, which is an empirical point where both rationalist and interpretative research programs could meet and inform each other.

Russian views on the future of transatlantic relations

On the operational level and considering NATO as having agency allows us to, for example, study how the processes of defense planning or force generation impact national burden sharing practices. Here, future post-positivist BS studies could build on earlier constructivist scholarship studying international organizations. Barnett and Finnemore , for example, examine international organizations as Weberian bureaucracies that not only have a unique institutional culture; they also act independent of its member states and utilize their authority and knowledge to regulate and thus constitute a world.

In other words, international organizations create a political world they operate in. This is important, because, as Deni , a , b shows, some member states shoulder more than their share of the alliance burden when it comes to, for example, providing headquarters to gain political and military control over allied operations. Others, such as Tuschhoff , show that burden sharing contributions by member states can vary based on principles and practices that guide defense planning and force generation processes.

In contrast, Giegerich , focuses on national ambition as a variable of domestic politics. It would also strengthen the argument that BS interests do not exclusively emerge from the material reality. Second, studies focusing on state reputation might also be beneficial in this regard Schlag, , as well as those that show that the language of international rules must be clear and precise in order to increase their compliance and overall effectiveness Kratochwil, Rhodes, ; Finnemore, , and that give meaning to the particular BS situations.

The post-positivist theories discussed in section three suggest an inductive reasoning based on qualitative research methods that see the world from within BS Creswell, ; Denzin and Lincoln, , Denzin, ; Silverman and Marvasti, , and that promise to be more holistic Jackson, p.

AIES public debate on NATO and the Future of Transatlantic Relations with Sta

It thus suggests a very different research design than the commonly used deductive one. Below, we sketch out some particular methods that allow an operationalization of some of the ontological and epistemological propositions discussed above in a post-positivist research program e. Similarly to section 3, we offer some guideposts of how to move the BS research program into a post-positivist direction, without making claims to comprehensiveness.

The first method that comes to mind are case studies. A qualitative BS research program could clearly use some more comparative, heuristic case studies, especially from less well-studied cases, for example, states in from central, eastern, and southern Europe e.

The Future of Transatlantic Relations: Perceptions, Policy and Practice

In that sense and contrary to especially statistical BS studies , they do not omit all contextual factors; indeed, inductive case studies are particularly well-known in fostering new hypothesis and addressing causal complexity where statistical methods and formal models are weak Ibid. Moreover, as alluded to above, one might consider these types of cases longitudinally.

However, in order to strengthen the generalizability of the findings it is also important to go beyond the alliance context as sources of potential future case studies. The different UN operations in various parts of the world come to mind. Semi-structured or even unstructured interviews with subject matter experts e. One way to reduce the latter likelihood is to triangulate the interviews with other primary sources.

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As Milliken reminds us, a discourse analysis is a system of signification that deconstructs social realities, representations of the world, social subjects and social relations, suggesting that there is a dialect between BS meaning, reality, and social practices. Discourses can thus be seen as an inescapable medium through which we make sense and reproduce BS reality.

It is a form of social practice that both constitutes the social BS world and is constituted by other social practices. It also produces the subjects and objects it makes intelligible, and exclude others as irrelevant. To be sure, discourse analysis is not new to studying NATO. Kitchen , for example, has shown using a discourse analysis how institutional change is possible through changing discourses at the level of political elites as well as how these elites have nourished certain transatlantic norms over time and how they were engaged in processes of social learning.

In our context here, however, such a discourse analytical perspective is absent. Thus, there is analytical room for a qualitative discourse analysis on BS that could, for example, help defining a the situation BS decision makers are situated in and within a larger political and public sphere authorized to speak and to act on BS; b the audiences for these authorized actors; c the common sense binding speakers and audiences.

A qualitative discourse analysis is also able to reveal the representations that they draw upon and how they are formed by the representations articulated by a larger number of individuals, institutions, and media outlets Hansen and Waever, ; Larsen, More concretely, top politicians in the respective NATO member states rarely have detailed knowledge of BS and, therefore, rely upon their advisors, media coverage, and, in some cases, background literature to establish a representational framing of BS.

US and EU Differences in the Use of Military Force

One may assume that it is extremely unlikely and politically unsavvy for them to articulate a BS policy without showing concern for the representations found within the wider public sphere as they attempt to present their BS policies as legitimate to the electorate Fairclough, : p. In other words, understanding official BS discourse opens up an analytical perspective examining a how BS representations articulated by oppositional political forces, the media, academe, and popular culture reinforce or contest each other c.

This promises to produce additional, deeper analytical insights, as well as fruitful, new explanations of BS behaviors. The aim of this article was to start a conversation on how to move the BS research program forward theoretically and methodologically, and thereby to increase the explanatory value of BS studies moving forward. We suggested that the literature should consider more the intersubjective social structures and representations of BS agents and their value-rational motivations for sharing NATO burdens.

We, therefore, suggested that the NATO BS research programs should include these intersubjective social aspects in its analyses, also in comparative case studies. The benefit of such an inductive approach is that it moves beyond considering BS as a static outcome; indeed, it gives BS agency and the tools to analyze those processes. Moreover, it would help to produce different causal explanations and understandings of state motivations for or against sharing NATO burdens, for example, understandings of how states interpret NATO burdens in their domestic polities, how these burdens are constructed, and what meanings states assign to it and in what particular institutional context Geertz, : p.

Having said that and to be sure, if we agree in general to include these post-positivist perspectives in the BS research program, we have just started the conversation because above all BS is a political issue rather than a military one.


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Here territorial access, overflight rights, base access, fatality rates, political risks from participating in non-Article five missions have been considered as variables. When spending more on the military, less money is available for other government programs and projects e. The geographical dispersion of peace operations beyond NATO territory has imposed additional burdens in terms of tactics, equipment, force capability and sustainability, and intelligence capabilities. A similar statement was made in Trump, The point here is to simply illustrate some rather prominent contestations on NATO BS rather than offering a comprehensive overview thereof, longitudinal or otherwise.

For earlier debates see New York Times, Space allocations would not allow for reviewing such an extensive body of literature; it has also been accomplished elsewhere Zyla, , chapter 2 ; parts of this are also drawn from Zyla, It is thus hardly surprising that until this day middle or small powers do not feature prominently as units of BS analysis, which explains past case selections e. Preferences are assumed to be constant. They may not be directly observable but can be investigated empirically.

This is a long debated issue in IR de Mesquita et al. This is not the place that allows an extensive discussion of these outcomes. For a greater discussion see Oye, ; Snidal, The constructivist literature in the field of international relations is immense. As a result, we cannot account for every aspect of that literature. Finnemore and Sikking : pp. Int Organ 46 1 — Adler E, Barnett M Security communities. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Adler E Constructivism and international relations. Handbook of International Relations.

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