Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
NATO in Afghanistan

NATO in Afghanistan: Fighting Together, Fighting Alone

David P. Auerswald
Stephen M. Saideman
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 264
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt4cgbc2
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    NATO in Afghanistan
    Book Description:

    Modern warfare is almost always multilateral to one degree or another, requiring countries to cooperate as allies or coalition partners. Yet as the war in Afghanistan has made abundantly clear, multilateral cooperation is neither straightforward nor guaranteed. Countries differ significantly in what they are willing to do and how and where they are willing to do it. Some refuse to participate in dangerous or offensive missions. Others change tactical objectives with each new commander. Some countries defer to their commanders while others hold them to strict account.

    NATO in Afghanistanexplores how government structures and party politics in NATO countries shape how battles are waged in the field. Drawing on more than 250 interviews with senior officials from around the world, David Auerswald and Stephen Saideman find that domestic constraints in presidential and single-party parliamentary systems--in countries such as the United States and Britain respectively--differ from those in countries with coalition governments, such as Germany and the Netherlands. As a result, different countries craft different guidelines for their forces overseas, most notably in the form of military caveats, the often-controversial limits placed on deployed troops.

    Providing critical insights into the realities of alliance and coalition warfare,NATO in Afghanistanalso looks at non-NATO partners such as Australia, and assesses NATO's performance in the 2011 Libyan campaign to show how these domestic political dynamics are by no means unique to Afghanistan.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4867-6
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  6. 1 NATO at War: In Afghanistan and at Home?
    (pp. 1-30)

    In the spring of 2006 a riot took place in Meymana, a city in Faryab Province of northwestern Afghanistan, because of a misunderstanding as to what a non-governmental organization was doing in the region. The Norwegian provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in the area came under attack and called for help from nearby NATO forces. This was the first time that NATO forces were really tested since they had begun to take responsibility for security in Afghanistan beyond Kabul. The test did not go well. The Norwegians were outgunned, and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) command could not send nearby...

  7. 2 NATO and the Primacy of National Decisions in Multilateral Interventions
    (pp. 31-62)

    In the early years of the twenty-first century, pundits were suggesting that NATO was becoming the world’s primary means by which order would be kept (Daalder and Goldgeier 2006). Now global NATO seems unrealistic given the alliance’s un-even performance in Afghanistan and, more recently, Libya. These interventions made obvious what was always true—that participation in any NATO out-of-area military operation is not required and does not guarantee maximum effort by each member of the alliance.¹ Countries that participate are volunteers, varying in how willing they are to do what alliance commanders ask. We saw this in the alliance’s two...

  8. 3 Explaining National Behavior in Multilateral Interventions
    (pp. 63-84)

    In chapter 2 we pointed to the important role of national decisions in International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations because national positions trump those of the NATO alliance as a whole when the two conflict. This is not necessarily because of realist concerns regarding national power. Instead, national policies trump multilateralism when the two are in conflict because of the specific procedures and the escape clauses that hold even in the most formal and interoperable of alliances.

    Chapter 2’s discussion did not address how and why individual NATO members make the choices they do. To explain those choices, we need...

  9. 4 Presidents in Charge: The United States, France, and Poland
    (pp. 85-114)

    In chapter 3 we argued that presidential systems should exhibit specific patterns of behavior when it comes to their deployed military agents. The president is the principal in the principal-agent relationship because the president usually serves as the commander-in-chief of the military in presidential systems. In the parlance of chapter 2, presidential systems most closely resemble the single-principal model when we look inside the state. Presidents can delegate their authority over military decisions to a subordinate unless such delegation is specifically prohibited by statute or constitution. Civilian defense ministers, military chiefs of defense, or even regional commanders could serve in...

  10. 5 Single-Party Parliamentary Governments: The British and Canadians
    (pp. 115-140)

    We argued in chapter 3 that prime ministers in countries led by single-party governments should behave much like their presidential counterparts when establishing principal-agent contracts during military operations abroad. The prime minister or his designee (usually the defense minister or the chief of defense) is the principal in the principal-agent relationship, as there is no other entity within the government that has direct authority over the military. In the parlance of chapter 2, these systems most closely resemble the single-principal model.

    As we argued in chapter 3 and demonstrated for presidential systems in chapter 4, we expect single principals to...

  11. 6 Coalition Governments in Combat
    (pp. 141-176)

    Coalition governments face far greater challenges when their countries are at war than do presidents or prime ministers supported by a single party in government. Keeping two or more political parties together in a coalition is no easy task under ordinary circumstances, but to do so while the country is facing casualties and an uncertain military mission is far more difficult. While one can make a variety of comparisons among NATO allies, the distinction between coalition government and other types of governments is far more important for conflict behavior than are distinctions between English speaking and non-English speaking countries or...

  12. 7 Does Membership Matter? Examining the Outsiders: Australia and New Zealand
    (pp. 177-194)

    Thus far we have only considered countries that are members of NATO. In this chapter we develop the implications of the alliance discussion in chapter 2 for nonmembers. We hope to discern whether and how NATO membership makes a difference. How do these outsiders manage their militaries when those militaries are in a command structure run by an organization to which they do not belong? Does alliance membership matter that much, or do the domestic dynamics of these partner states matter more than the international institution’s imperatives? To preview our answer, we find that domestic institutions and individual inclinations matter...

  13. 8 Extending the Argument: Libya and Operation United Protector
    (pp. 195-216)

    Up to this point we have focused on the issues associated with NATO coordination during International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations in Afghanistan. To assess the generalizability of our arguments, we extend our analysis to the 2011 intervention in Libya. In brief, the Libyan conflict was sparked by protests against the regime of Muammar al-Gaddafi in mid-February 2011, with the heart of the protest movement centered on the northeastern city of Benghazi. Rebels and government forces engaged in a series of often one-sided battles, with government troops engaged in alleged atrocities against the civilian population in areas sympathetic to the...

  14. 9 Implications for Policy and Theory
    (pp. 217-236)

    We began this book by arguing that war is an inherently dangerous endeavor for countries, for soldiers, and for politicians. Fighting as part of a coalition or alliance may be seen as a way to reduce risks by sharing responsibilities, but as we have demonstrated throughout this study, multilateral warfare is quite risky indeed. Countries may join military coalitions or an alliance effort because they share common interests, but shared interests do not always equate to agreement as to the best ways to pursue those interests. Too often, individual countries engage in efforts that either distract from or undermine the...

  15. References
    (pp. 237-250)
  16. Index
    (pp. 251-260)