Title

NATO and Counterinsurgency: Strategic Liability or Tactical Asset?

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2008

Publication Title

Contemporary Security Policy

Volume Number

28

Issue Number

1

DOI

10.1080/13523260701240625

Abstract

This article examines NATO as a tool for counter-insurgency (COIN) operations. The authors show how its multinational character, reliance on consensus, and limited resources make NATO an unlikely contributor to effective COIN. Its role in the 1995 intervention in Bosnia-Herzegovina is used to show that, in a suitably permissive environment, NATO can help to alleviate the conditions that can lead to insurgency movements. However, NATO's role in Afghanistan shows that the organization has serious limitations in the more challenging circumstances that tend to characterize contemporary COIN. It engaged there in such a way that it was difficult for it to play an effective tactical role, and its strategic liabilities were increasingly exposed. The article puts forward ways in which NATO might be reformed to take a more positive role in COIN and concludes that if it cannot make such a transition, its decline as a relevant tool for international security management will accelerate.

ISSN

1352-3260

First Page

163

Last Page

181

Link Out URL

https://doi.org/10.1080/13523260701240625

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