Research proposal of NATO


1. Research Topic

How can the existence of NATO be justified now that the Cold War has ended and the Soviet Union has fallen?

2. Research Objective.

This research will investigate the future role of NATO and challenges in the absence of her traditional adversary, Warsaw Pact, particularly the way NATO deal with non-state actors and non-traditional security issues.

3. Research Questions.

The objective of this study addresses the following questions:

  • What are the original purposes of NATO?
  • How has North Atlantic Treaty been implemented so far?
  • What are the common potential threats to NATO after the end of Cold War?
  • Does NATO put non-state actors and non-traditional security issues as one of its priorities?
  • If yes, how does NATO deal with non-state actors and non-traditional security issues? If not, why?
  • What will NATO be in the future?

4. Research Situation.

As an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty, NATO was established on April 4th 1949 which played a tremendous role in stabilizing the global political strategy. After succeeding in balancing and deterring the formidable Soviet Union's (and her allies) military power during the Cold War as well as stopping Soviet aggressiveness in expanding communism in Europe continent, the existence of NATO has been debated by many scholars since the end of the 20th century. It existed since the collapse of the Soviet Union which was followed by the disestablishment of Warsaw Pact and the end of Cold War. The first NATO Secretary General, Lord Ismay, stated that the organization's goal was "to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down"[1] which means, by now, NATO's original goals have been achieved. Scholars said the absence of Soviet military power as the main raison d'tre erased the need for NATO. Thus, many Europeans and Americans are asking for the future of NATO. For some, NATO already has been destroyed; it's only chance for it to be rebuilt[2]. Although, it was doubted by many people, in fact NATO has survived and still exist today. The need to hedge against an uncertain future becomes one of the reasons of NATO existence[3].

Many scholars, such as Stanley Sloan and Peter van Ham, in their book "What future for NATO" suggested that NATO should redefine and reform itself by addressing the current situation such as non-traditional security issues, deployment beyond Europe Continent, Peace Keeping and Peace Support Operations as well as NATO enlargement.

Nowadays, scholars and politicians believe that the foreseeable future of inter-state war will remain slim, by reason of that center of gravity of security have been shift to non state actors and non traditional security issues such as the proliferation of Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) and Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN), terrorism, trafficking of human beings, illicit drugs, Small Arms and Light Weapon (SALW) as well as the abuse of human rights. Moreover, border disputes, conflict between ethnicities and religious rivalries, as result of the dissolution of states, particularly former Yugoslavia and Soviet Union can lead to local as well as regional instability. Such conflicts could affect the security of NATO by spilling over into neighbouring countries, including Western Europe countries, or in other ways, and could also affect the security of other states[4].

5. Literature Review.

Realists stated that egoism and power politics are primary to human nature and states like human beings had an innate desire to dominate others, which led them to fight wars[5]. It is even thought that the main need for a balance disappeared but NATO will keep on maintaining, increasing and demonstrating its power. However, some scholars believe that realism is obsolete[6]. They argue that realism concepts of anarchy, self-help and power balancing have been displaced by changing conditions. Realism had little to explain about a non-state actor; the serious weakness of realism in this context is that a non-state actor cannot be assumed to be attempting to balance a state[7].

Liberalism, with its various arguments about common interest international institutions, trade, and democracy, gets closer to the mark in that it takes non-state entities into account, but since terrorist groups (mostly) do not belong to institutions, trade with the target government and the like, the strong points of liberalism do not apply so much to the terrorism problem and they failed to convince such matter[8].

One of relatively new in the field of International Relation thought, constructivism, which is developed in opposition to realism by rejecting any autonomous role for structures of power, such as anarchy, in world affairs. Instead constructivists view international relations as growing from processes of identity and interest formation, the two most important factors in shaping the world order and the current condition of anarchy[9]. In the words of Alexander Wendt, "if today we find ourselves in a self-help world, this is due to process, not structure...Structure has no existence or causal powers apart from process...Anarchy is what states make of it"[10]. Constructivism gains theoretical leverage on the problem by addressing issues of identity and shared meaning that can unite a terrorist group and differentiate them from their out-group[11].

This study will evaluate the key factors of NATO's persistence, the common potential threats to NATO after the end of Cold War. By focusing exclusively on how NATO deals with non state actors and non traditional security issues, it wills analysis the future roles of NATO, with reference to Wendt's essay, "Anarchy is what States make of it: the social construction of power politics". In examining the research question, the notion of sovereignty, soft power approach and collective identity will be elaborated.

6. Research Methodology.

This research focuses on analyzing the future role of NATO and consequences related to the current global situation as well as the way NATO dealing with non state actors and non traditional security issues. For this reason, this research will use qualitative approach which will be the methodology of this study. Other methods such as data analysis, comparative studies, case studies and historical background will be used in this research.

First, speeches of NATO leaders and opinion/research of prominent scholars will be examined. Such data we can predict the future direction of NATO, NATO's stance for certain issues, and the new threats facing NATO. Second, official texts and document such as "Alliances Strategic Concept-NATO Post Cold War", results of meetings and reports particularly after the Cold War will be analyzed. Third, case studies focusing on significant events occurring after the Cold War will be examined, such case studies are important, especially NATO deployment in Bosnia Herzegovina and Afghanistan. This will led to an analysis of the operation in Bosnia Herzegovina as representative of NATO's deployment in Europe soil while Afghanistan was beyond.

This research will also include analysis of correspondences via e-mail addressed to the administrator of NATO's in order to trace the actual progress about the development of NATO's new Strategic Concept.

7. Research Plan.

  • Prepared research proposal by 20 September 2009
  • Complete literature review by 14 October 2009
  • Complete online work by 14 January 2010
  • Complete analysis by 26 February 2010
  • Complete first draft by 31 March 2010
  • Give presentation by 16 April 2010
  • Complete final report by 1 June 2010

8. Expected Findings.

During the data collection and analyzing process, it is expected that significant and important evidence in the documents will be examined and compiled. Many ideas and concepts expressed by NATO leaders and officials concerning with the future of NATO and the crucial role in contributing to security and stability in NATO's territories and beyond will be analyzed. From these statements, we can examine NATO's prospect, challenges faced by current NATO and the solutions that will be taken. Besides, by following the establishment of the NATO's New Strategic Concept, which is still on going process, it is possible to predict NATO's future. This analysis examines the following areas; implementation of the principles; collective defense, the peaceful resolution of disputes and NATO's defensive nature[12]. Furthermore, data that related to non state actors and non traditional security issues, regarding the soft power and hard core approach; support and criticism on such policy will be obtained. Finally, from the case studies on the deployment in Bosnia Herzegovina and Afghanistan, we can draw conclusion on the significant role of NATO operations in Europe soil and beyond. It is hoped that by analyzing aforementioned data and comparing NATO to other security organizations, valuable points can be gained to draw the future role of NATO.

9. Expected Conclusion.

This research will show that after the Cold War, despite Warsaw Pact as the NATO's traditional threat disestablished in 1991, the political situation of Europe and Russia have changed, it was too early to judge that the existence of NATO is meaningless. Currently NATO has other roles within Europe continent and beyond. Furthermore, non traditional security issues such as terrorism, Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) and Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN), disaster relief and other security threats (e.g. human trafficking, illicit of arms and drugs) as well as non state actors become new considerations for NATO. Such security issues need to be examined comprehensively otherwise they will cause new problems.

[1] David Reynolds, The origins of the Cold War in Europe. International perspectives, 1994. P.13

[2] Ronald Asmus, in: IHT, Sept. 2, 2003; FA

[3], NATO in the 21st century, March 2001

[4], strategic concept.

[5] Alexander Wendt, Anarchy is what states make of it: the social construction of power politics. P393

[6] Legro, Jeffrey W. and Moravcsik, Andrew, "Is Anybody Still a Realist?" International Security, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Fall 1999), pp. 5-55

[7] Cranmer, Skyler J., Terrorism Second Pass, 2005, p.2

[8] Cranmer, Skyler J., opcit

[9] Gelot, Ludwig, Religion Confronts Westphalian International Relations Theory, 2006, p.15

[10] Wendt, A., 'Anarchy is what States make of it: the social construction of power politics,' in International Organisation, Vol. 46, Iss.2 (1992). pp.394-395.

[11] Cranmer, Skyler J., opcit

[12], strategic concept.

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