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Perspectives on European Politics and Society


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Me Tarzan You Jane: The EU and NATO and the Reversal of Roles
Trine Flockhart
a a

Danish Institute for International Studies, Copenhagen, Denmark

Available online: 27 Sep 2011

To cite this article: Trine Flockhart (2011): Me Tarzan You Jane: The EU and NATO and the Reversal of Roles, Perspectives on European Politics and Society, 12:3, 263-282 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15705854.2011.596306

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Perspectives on European Politics and Society Vol. 12, No. 3, 263282, September 2011

Me Tarzan You Jane: The EU and NATO and the Reversal of Roles
TRINE FLOCKHART
Danish Institute for International Studies, Copenhagen, Denmark

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ABSTRACT This article questions assumptions characterizing NATO as focused on hard security and the EU as focused on soft security. By asking how identities and narratives have been constructed in both organizations, subtle dierences are brought to light, indicating that changes have taken place in the self-conception and narrative of the two organizations resulting in dierent conceptions of role and identity. It is suggested that identity and narrative constructions are inuenced by practical action and that the EU under ESDP has experienced positive action, leaving it in a stronger position than NATO on questions of hard security. The analysis utilizes recent empirical evidence in which the EU and NATO are often compared in terms of partnerships and operations. The article shows that in the rst decade of the twenty-rst century, the EU has been constructing a Tarzan narrative, whereas NATOs negative experience in Afghanistan has driven the organization towards a narrative of avoiding failure, emphasizing a Jane narrative about partnerships. The pattern may however now be in the process of changing, as evidenced by NATOs robust intervention in Libya, and the EUs preoccupation with establishing the new External Action Service and with the Euro-crisis. KEY WORDS: European Union, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, European security

Multilateral Interventionism The EU is often described as an economic giant or as a normative (Manners, 2002) or ethical (Aggestam, 2008) power, whereas NATO is seen as a defence alliance or military power, suggesting that the EU has a soft and feminine Jane role whereas NATO has a hard and masculine Tarzan role. Although this role division between the two European organizations may at rst sight seem compelling, and certainly in line with Robert Kagans characterization as Europe being from Venus and America from Mars (Kagan, 2003), in reality both organizations have always been engaged simultaneously in soft norm promotion and have shared a concern for hard security issues, suggesting that the reality of role division between NATO and EU has not tted comfortably within the Tarzan and Jane role division or indeed, over a longer time span, with the Mars and Venus distinction. Paradoxically, at times
Correspondence Address: Trine Flockhart. Senior Researcher, Danish Institute for International Studies, Strandgade, 56, 1401, Copenhagen, Denmark. Email: t@diis.dk ISSN 1570-5854 Print/1568-0258 Online 2011 Taylor & Francis http://www.tandfonline.com http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15705854.2011.596306

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NATO, the presumed Tarzan organization, has itself emphasized female attributes such as norms, values and partnerships, whilst male attributes such as military missions have been emphasized in the role conception of the EU under the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). In this article I question longstanding assumptions that characterize NATO as a traditional defence alliance and the EU as only a wanna be security actor. I open up a conceptual study of the two organizations by investigating the many similar and closely related processes of identity and narrative construction taking place within the two organizations and their subtly shifting emphasis, which I argue are deeply inuenced by the two organizations dierent practical experiences. I suggest that identity and narrative constructions may be either reinforced or undermined by the experience of practical action. Changes in action patterns especially from successful reinforcing action to unsuccessful undermining action are likely to result in abrupt changes in narrative and identity constructions, which in the case of the two organizations are manifested as shifting emphases between the Tarzan and Jane role. The analysis utilizes both historical and contemporary evidence of such action in the two organizations, drawing in particular on recent empirical evidence from the two organizations enlargements and partnership programmes and on action through the engagement by both organizations in a growing number of operations.1 The article is divided into four main sections starting with a brief review of identity and narrative theory and their connection with action.2 Following this, the article will focus on NATOs and the EUs identity and narrative constructions in a historical perspective in which the connections between constructions of self, other and signicant we, and the formulation of narratives, are traced in three dierent periods dened by critical moments in the two organizations history.3 The investigation reveals that narratives and identity constructions have been continuously shifting from the very start of the two organizations. The analysis is divided into the period before 1989, the period between 1989 and 1999, and nally the period between 1999 and 2009.4 Each section will focus on how narratives and identity constructions in combination with dierent action patterns have dened the two organizations dierently despite their similar structural conditions and similar inuence from the external environment. Narrative, Identity and Action In order to understand why subtle changes in NATOs and the EUs role conceptions have taken place (Harnisch et al., 2011), and why two organizations within a similar structural environment choose dierent options which over time will lead them on widely diverging paths, it is necessary to consider the identity and narrative construction processes of each organization. For analytical purposes it is assumed that NATO and the EU are endowed with agency and that they have identities which change through re-construction and re-constitution as a result of a variety of relational processes.5 This opens up analytical space at the agent level, in particular for the use of Social Identity Theory (SIT) (Billig & Tajfel, 1973; Hogg & Abrams, 1988; Hogg et al., 1995; Tajfel & Turner, 1985) and its agent-level assumption about esteem maximization and continuous self- and other categorization processes (Flockhart, 2006). SIT has proven useful through extensive controlled empirical

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testing (Tajfel, 1978), suggesting that individuals always engage in self- and other categorization processes between dierent social groupings with the aim of maximizing self-esteem. Although the so-called self-esteem hypothesis has only been tested in small groupings of individuals (Rubin & Hewstone, 1998), interviews conducted in NATO and the EU suggest that esteem maximization does take place and that it is of central importance for the selection of material for the construction of positive narratives.6 SIT assumes that self-esteem cannot be maintained in isolation, but is derived from, and maintained through, social relationships in hierarchically organized social groups (Turner, 1987, p. 1) that have clear denitions of other and signicant we (Flockhart, 2006, p. 94). Social constructivist thinking has tended to focus mostly on the other (Neumann, 1999), although arguably, if esteem maximization is the driving force for agents, a focus on the signicant we would be more appropriate. In order to enhance and maintain self-esteem, all social groups need to have stories or narratives about themselves which cast the social group in an attractive light and which ensure a degree of internal stability and biographical continuity (Maines et al., 1983, p. 167, 363; Williams & Neumann, 2000). Narratives are reexively created and do not constitute a complete catalogue of historical events, but form a series of sequential happenings and developments carefully selected from a much larger catalogue of past events (Ezzy, 1998). A narrative is therefore a construction, containing a selective historical memory coupled with a highly reective and agent-specic interpretation of history, events and past action. Strong narratives are seen as an account of reality, which contributes towards stabilizing the identity established through sociological processes of identity construction. Narratives and identities are continuously reinterpreted and realigned against each other in a process of shuttling back and forth between ongoing narrative and identity construction processes (Ciuta, 2002, p. 38) in an attempt to achieve alignment at a level that produces the most positive story and the highest level of self-esteem possible. However, if a positive narrative cannot be established, or if competing or diverging narratives co-exist, then the likely result is to undermine and weaken self-esteem and to give rise to an identity crisis and the deployment of a crisis narrative (Hay, 1999). The assumption put forward here is that identity and narrative construction processes have to be reinforced through routine (non-reexive) practices and through successful (reexive/intentional) action, which may strengthen and maintain both a positive and meaning-giving narrative and positive self-esteem.7 In contrast, negative or unsuccessful action is likely to have an undermining eect on both identity and narrative constructions by reducing the level of self-esteem and by preventing the formulation of a positive narrative. This may in the rst instance lead to a reduced level of action and subsequently to alternative action patterns that can better facilitate a positive narrative and a high level of self-esteem.8 It is this reaction to undermining practical action which explains the oscillating nature of narrative and identity in both organizations. NATO and the EU during the Cold War Two Ships in the Same Pond NATO and the EU9 share a common heritage as products of the postwar order and the transatlantic bargain (Ikenberry, 2011). This might lead us to expect a great

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deal of similarity and cooperation between the two organizations. Yet, as most NATO and EU observers are aware and notwithstanding the diculties in the EU NATO relationship associated with Turkish, Greek and Cypriot disagreements, the two organizations are characterized by considerable dierences and have followed almost completely separate paths throughout their history. The dierences between them are perhaps not so surprising given that the institutional order from which NATO and the EU originate can be conceptualized as an expression of two parallel strategies for postwar order the strategy of containment and the strategy of institution building leading to a liberal order (Ikenberry, 2001). NATO has from the very beginning largely been located within the containment order framework, whilst the EU has been located within the institutional order framework. As a result, the two organizations have had very little interaction and have been characterized by very dierent identity and narrative construction processes (Fierke & Wiener, 2001) and very dierent patterns of action. NATO and the EU have had subtly dierent conceptions of signicant we and other because although both postwar strategies hailed from the United States, each strategy was based on a dierent other and a dierent signicant we. The strategy of containment conceptualized the other as a material other (in the shape of the Soviet Union and the very concrete threat of nuclear war), whilst the signicant we was conceptualized as the free world (albeit that the free world was a suciently loose conguration to allow for the inclusion of not particularly liberal states such as Portugal, Turkey and Greece). The strategy of liberal order, on the other hand, was based on an ideational other, conceptualized as Europes own warring past (Wver, 1998) and the rather vague threat of the danger of a return to Great Power rivalry in Europe. In the liberal order strategy the signicant we was conceptualized as a community of states based on liberal ideas and liberal institutions in which conict would be resolved peacefully and where liberal ideals such as cooperation, rule of law and free trade were highlighted (Wver, 2002). Over time, the signicant we of the liberal order strategy became conceptualized as a security community (Deutsch, 1957; Adler & Barnett, 1998), and the liberal ideals became increasingly dominant and specied. With dierent conceptualizations of other and signicant we, the conception of self in the two organizations has also diered considerably. Throughout the history of both organizations, the construction of the self has taken place through internal socialization processes and in negotiations between the Member States (Diez, 2005). Although both the process and the dominant actors have been dierent in the two organizations, they have in common that the most powerful members have had the most inuence albeit in dierent ways. In the case of NATO, the role of the United States as primus inter pares allowed the United States to become NATOs agenda setter and internal socialization agent, though within the constraints of NATOs consensus-based decision-making procedures. The EU in contrast does not have a primus inter pares although some voices are more audible than others.10 As a result, the construction of the self has taken place through more equal negotiations and hard bargaining, including political pressure and at times the disruption of normal internal procedures.11 In addition, the construction of the self has been much more ambiguous than in NATO, because dierent conceptions of the European nalite have been in play causing fundamental disagreement among the Member States

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about which direction the EU should be taking; this is a disagreement that arguably has never been resolved. During the cold war the self-conception of NATO was primarily based on the concrete and menacing Soviet other and the perception of an overwhelming Soviet threat (Sjursen, 2004). As a result, NATOs role at this time became very clearly that of a defence alliance with the very specic task of ensuring that the containment strategy worked and that nuclear war was avoided. Virtually all action in NATO was focused on deterring the Soviet threat and ensuring alliance cohesion and the credibility of the nuclear guarantee. However, in reality NATO has always been about more than simply containing the Soviet threat. This is clear from Article Two of the North Atlantic Treaty which species that the alliance will contribute toward peaceful and friendly international relations by strengthening their free institutions and by bringing about a better understanding of the principles upon which these institutions are founded (NATO, 1949, art. 2). In eect, Article Two expresses a commitment to the institutional order strategy, although the dual commitment contained in the North Atlantic Treaty played almost no role in NATOs action until the formulation of the Harmel Report in 1967 (NATO, 1967). As a result, during the cold war, the containment strategy formed the basis for the most dominant role conception, and the raison detre of the Alliance, forging NATOs cold war selfconception in the Tarzan role of a defence alliance. If NATO was seen primarily as a Tarzan facing the Soviet nuclear threat, the European Union was primarily viewed as a Jane organization, as it was increasingly seen as an economic or civilian project (Duchene, 1973). The perception was underlined by the rapid economic integration of the late 1950s and 1960s, which increased self-esteem and created high expectations for further European economic integration. At the same time, expectations for integration in defence and foreign policy were consistently downgraded following the rejection by the French National Assembly of the European Defence Community in 1954 along with the generally poor record of the integration process in foreign policy and defence throughout the cold war (Gortemaker, 2009). The result has been a continuous crisis narrative about the EU as a defence actor and its extremely low self-esteem in matters of defence and foreign policy, as well as an inability (until 2003 with the adoption of the European Security Strategy) to state precisely what the EUs foreign and security policy identity is (Mayer & Palmowski, 2004). Yet, just as NATO always included a commitment to the liberal institutional strategy, the rst priority of the integration project was to ensure a peaceful Europe. The fact that the European integration project was originally conceived as a project for peace and as part of the liberal institutional strategy was, however, not widely appreciated. It is striking that, although both NATO and the EU included treaty-based provisions for roles that would be in line with the two strategies of the post-1945 order, neither organization pursued this option during the cold war. Instead they concentrated on action which supported their identity constructed from the two separate postwar strategies. In the case of NATO, action was almost solely focused on reinforcing the Tarzan narrative of a cohesive defensive alliance based on shared values, standing rm in the face of an overwhelming Soviet threat. In the case of the EU, action was almost solely concerned with reinforcing the narrative of the EU as a dynamic economic community pursuing common policies in soft Jane areas such as

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trade, commerce and agriculture. The issues of defence and foreign policy were carefully avoided, as previous action in these policy areas had been unsuccessful and had jeopardized the original EU narrative as a project designed to make war not merely unthinkable but materially impossible. With the end of the cold war, however, the primary focus on economic integration in the EU and the exclusive focus on the Soviet Union in NATO could no longer be maintained. Security and foreign policy abruptly came back into the European integration process and the institutional strategy was brought onto the NATO agenda. 19891999: A Golden Age for NATO and a Decade of Challenges for the EU

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As the cold war was drawing to an end, the EU was in the midst of preparing its most ambitious integration project since the signing of the Rome Treaty: the intergovernmental conference on Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). The EU had experienced rapid integration since the mid-1980s and had a positive narrative about ever-closer union. As the cold war drew to a close, the architects of EMU were determined that the end of the cold war was not going to derail the integration process, although the necessity of reopening the thorny issue of security, foreign policy and defence was acknowledged (Nugent, 1992). In addition, because it was expected that the EU would be the most obvious organization to deal with new relationships and emerging issues in Central and Eastern Europe, a second intergovernmental conference on political union was hastily added in June 1990. This resulted in the commitment in the Maastricht Treaty to political union, including the establishment of a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and moves towards a common defence policy. The situation for NATO following the end of the cold war was almost the exact opposite. The disappearance of the Soviet threat launched NATO into a deep crisis of identity and a realization that a new role had to be found if the Alliance was to stay in business (Shea, 2010). Perhaps the threat to NATOs continued existence concentrated the mind, because NATO moved swiftly towards establishing a new conception of self, other and signicant we. This was supported by a new narrative of stretching out the hand of friendship (NATO, 1990) to former enemies in the East and by establishing the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) in 1991. At the same time, a new strategic concept was formulated which dened the emerging threat as political instability and ethnic unrest (NATO, 1991). This turned out to be a very precise prediction and one which prepared NATO for a growing role in the Balkan conicts of the 1990s. The expectation that the end of the cold war could spell the end of NATO but be good for the EU was therefore not vindicated. In fact, the reverse appeared to be the case, as the Balkans crises turned out to be on the whole good for NATO (Shea, 2010) and little short of disastrous for the EU. In addition, the growing pressures for enlargement of both organizations was seen in the EU as an irksome diversion from the real project at hand the further deepening of integration. NATO, in contrast, after some initial concerns, fully embraced the enlargement process and its growing partnership programmes as an important part of its new identity.

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When the violent break-up of Yugoslavia brought practical security issues into the European backyard, NATO had not yet made provision for out of area action and was therefore constitutionally constrained from involvement in the Balkan conicts. The EU, on the other hand, was not bound by such area restrictions, and sorting out the Balkans was (naively) seen as a suitable task for the EUs new Common Foreign and Security Policy. This is the hour of Europe, declared Jacques Poos, the foreign minister of Luxembourg, when Yugoslavia stood at the abyss in 1991, thereby making the Yugoslavian tragedy a litmus test for the EUs ability to evolve. Sadly, the immature institutional structures of the CFSP and the rather feeble diplomatic action by Brussels were woefully inadequate for solving Europes most urgent crisis and failed dismally in preventing the death of around a quarter of a million people. Admittedly, it could be said that the Bosnian conict occurred before the necessary institutional structures and policies were in place (Jopp & Diedrichs, 2009), but the same excuse could not be used as the next Balkan tragedy loomed in Kosovo six years later. Despite the EU having had six years to implement its stated intention of developing a European Security and Defence Policy, its development had barely moved onto the drawing board since the intention was formulated in the Maastricht Treaty. As a result, on the eve of the Kosovo conict the EU had no operational ESDP and was utterly unable to play a role. The EUs inability to prevent the unfolding human tragedy was an indictment on the organizations performance as a security actor (Lucarelli, 2000), and turned the decade of the 1990s into one where the EU fell short in the operations it either undertook or was expected to undertake but did not. This left the organization with an almost collapsed narrative and a severely damaged self-conception as a legitimate and ecient defence and security actor. In stark contrast, the Balkans conicts were on the whole positive for NATO and were essential for the construction of a new narrative for the organization and its on-going identity construction processes for the post-cold war era. The problem for NATO in both Bosnia and Kosovo was not military capability, but rather the politically tricky issue of going out of area. When the Yugoslavian wars started in February 1992, NATO action was conned to a symbolic and political role, but this gradually became more action oriented as the Alliance became engaged in rst a monitoring role, then enforcement action, and nally in 1995 in the large-scale action of Operation Joint Endeavour in which the NATO Implementation Force (IFOR) was authorized to impose the military aspects of the Dayton Peace agreement. This major step was followed in 1996 with Operation Joint Guard (Stabilization Force SFOR) with a UN mandate to maintain the peace in Bosnia. NATOs role in Bosnia provided the Alliance with the rst out of area experience and was eectively also the rst time NATO was engaged in sustained action of an operational nature (Flockhart & Kristensen, 2008). Notwithstanding the tragedy of the situation, the experience therefore was positive for NATO and contributed signicantly to boosting NATOs self-esteem by not only having proved that NATO could agree to go out of area rather than out of business but that NATOs military pressure in the lead-up to the Dayton Peace agreement had

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contributed to the negotiated end to hostilities. By the mid-1990s NATO had turned the tide from being an organization whose days might have been numbered, to being regarded as the most dynamic and successful of the competing European security organizations. When the tragedy in Kosovo started to unfold in 1999, NATO agreed to engage in the action to stop ethnic cleansing. However, despite the signicance of the decision and the overall success of the mission, the experience this time was not completely positive as the implementation of Operation Allied Force gave rise to considerable transatlantic disagreement and mutual recriminations. The trouble started when the Clinton Administration categorically ruled out the option of committing troops on the ground in Kosovo, which faced the Europeans with the unwelcome fait accompli that the intervention would be executed from safe air distance alone (Reichard, 2006, p. 55). The experience led to a rift in the Alliance, where the Europeans saw their preference for committing troops on the ground to drive out the Serbs from Kosovo overruled, and where the Americans were irritated by the slow pace of decisions and the perceived technological weaknesses in the conduct of the air campaign. Ironically, therefore, despite the success of having taken the decision to go out of area, and despite having achieved the strategic objective of ending ethnic cleansing and removing Serbian forces from Kosovo, NATO nevertheless emerged with a damaged self-perception of its ability to perform in pursuit of its long-established values applying agreed procedures. The experience of action in NATOs operations during the 1990s was therefore a mixed one, containing both positive and negative elements. However, as the negative aspects of the Kosovo conict were mainly internal and related to specic operational issues, NATO was still able to construct a public narrative that emphasized the success of the mission, the importance of the decision to go out of area, and the overall importance of NATO as a security actor able to deal with new and emerging security issues. Operationally, therefore, NATO at the end of the 1990s was in a far stronger position than the EU and had established a strong narrative and a positive self-perception. Indeed NATO was perceived to live up to its traditional Tarzan role. Towards New Relationships Action through Enlargement and Partnership Programmes If the 1990s were years of human tragedy in the former Yugoslavia, it was also a decade of new friendships and the (re-)establishment of relationships between former foes. Both organizations entered into increasingly structured processes for managing their new relationships in Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Maghreb, and both organizations acknowledged early on, if somewhat reluctantly, that existing institutional relationships had to be expanded to include all of Europe and its immediate neighbours. Yet the problem for both organizations was that they were faced with the task of dening their new relationships in the absence of a distinct and material other and with no logical or material borders for dening the self. Precisely what constituted Europe was by no means clear. Ideas and values relating to freedom, democracy, a market economy and the rule of law were now shared by those who were not part of the two organizations, hence making it dicult

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to delimit the self based purely on values such as support for liberal democracy. Therefore, as demands for membership and association with both organizations increased, the EU and NATO had to consider much more carefully their membership criteria, and had to be much more precise in dening their own role. Increasingly, therefore, the denition of the self had to include more detail than vague references to liberal values and democratic ideals. Prospective members had to do more than simply conrm rhetorically their support for liberal values. The process led to a gigantic project of state socialization in which NATO and the EU both took on a more Jane-oriented role by becoming promoters of norms and values. Both organizations undertook practical action by establishing institutional structures for socialization purposes (Linden, 2002) such as the North Atlantic Cooperation Council later replaced by the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), Partnership for Peace (PfP) and the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD). A similar process took place in the EU where PHARE (Poland and Hungary Assistance for Restructuring Economies) and TACIS (Technical Assistance for the CIS) were established in 1991. There followed partnership agreements and preaccession strategies in which applicant states drew up individual plans for fullling membership criteria. In similar vein to NATOs MD scheme, the EU also established the Barcelona Process in 1995. By the middle of the 1990s therefore both organizations had established a highly institutionalized and comprehensive environment for socialization (Schimmelfennig et al., 2006, p. 31) and were therefore both set to develop Jane roles. Although both organizations seemed to take their new role as socialization agents seriously and although both were deeply engaged in the action associated with partnerships and preparation for enlargement, their experiences diered. In general, NATO increasingly dened itself in terms of its relationships and came to see its enlargement process and partnership structures as a major success. They were a critical ingredient in its own identity, hence adding a Jane role to the already established Tarzan role. The EU, on the other hand, remained sceptical about enlargement, and some Member States expressed on occasion views that framed the process as a source of institutional weakening and a major problem for ecient decision-making (Wessels & Traguth, 2009, p. 82). Curiously, despite the major eort involved in the cumbersome and extensive EU enlargement and partnership processes, they have not inuenced EU identity construction processes or its narrative to the same extent as in NATO. The EUs process seemed to be driven by a sense of unavoidable duty rather than genuine enthusiasm.12 Broadly speaking, the establishment of a large number of partnerships and the rst wave of NATOs enlargement in 1999 had a reinforcing eect on its narrative and identity.13 In the EU, in contrast, enlargement never achieved such unambiguous status as it continued to be seen by some Member States as deecting from the established narrative of the EU on ever-closer Union and carrying the risk of slowing down the integration process. The debate during the 1990s between widening and deepening is indicative of the concerns present in the EU; perhaps widening would be at the cost of deepening (Nugent, 1992). As a result, although enlargement was achieved, the process did not give rise to a positive narrative in the EU. Once again, therefore, the two Brussels-based organizations can be seen to have reacted dierently to the similar structural changes and to have had very dierent action patterns.

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1999 and Beyond Busy Times and Changing Fortunes The period since 1999 is a curious example of how quickly and fundamentally the processes of narrative and identity construction can change under conditions of rapid change and action. Since 1999 NATO and the EU have both been busier than ever as both have been involved in extensive action through the growing number and scope of operations and through their continued enlargement and partnership processes. Yet where NATO largely fared well in the 1990s and the EUs identity as a defence and security actor all but collapsed, the EU has performed something of a phoenix act by emerging from the ashes of Kosovo to establish a fully operational ESDP in 2003.14 The Union achieved what few thought possible a relatively positive narrative on defence and security and a new-found condence in itself as a security actor. However, in precisely the same timeframe, NATO appeared to be edging towards self-destruction as the transatlantic crisis during the rst term of the George W. Bush Presidency seemed almost to bring the Alliance to its knees in an onslaught of multiple and deep crises (Cox, 2005; Pond, 2004). Yet although the EUs progress in establishing the ESDP/CSDP seems impressive, in reality, action in the EU since 1999 has been characterized by big words and small deeds, whereas NATOs action in the same period has been the reverse: big deeds and small words. The eect on the two organizations has been a positive narrative and positive self-perception in the EU and the opposite in NATO even though this situation might be misleading. Big and Small Deeds Action through Operations The Kosovo conict clearly served as a wake-up call for the EU and led to the dynamic development of the ESDP, initiated at the St Malo meeting between Tony Blair and Jacques Chirac in December 1998 (Jopp & Diedrichs, 2009, p. 102). Change was made possible because the British position shifted, facilitating an agreement on a declaration stating that the EU should acquire the capacity for autonomous action, backed up by credible military forces, the means to decide to use them, and a readiness to do so, in order to respond to international crises (Britain, 1998). At the European Council meeting in Cologne in June 1999 (whilst the Kosovo crisis was at its peak), the EU restated the goal enunciated at St Malo. In this way, a new process of rapid and wide-ranging institutional development and military and civilian capacity-building was set in motion. A parallel conceptual process was started in the spring of 2003 (whilst the Iraq crisis was at its peak), which led to the signing later the same year of the European Security Strategy, A Secure Europe in a Better World (Council of the European Union, 2003). As a result, the EU has had the conceptual framework and strategic document as well as the institutional structures for undertaking action in military and civilian operations since 2003, thereby completely altering the prole of the EU in a positive direction and towards the coveted Tarzan role. Since the ESDP was declared operational in 2003, the EU has undertaken no fewer than 25 ESDP operations, of which seven have been military including the rst naval venture (the anti-piracy patrols in the Indian Ocean). Such a large number of operations in such a short timeframe certainly constitutes a considerable and

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unlikely achievement (Ojanen, 2006) for those who over the years have been sceptical that integration in the eld of defence was feasible or even possible (Haas, 1975; Homann, 1966). Although most of the operations have been relatively small and limited in scope and duration, undoubtedly a fundamental change has taken place both in terms of the EUs self-perception and in expectations from outside the Union (Korski, 2010). This has been proudly embraced by the EU and well mediated through the ESDP website.15 Indeed, the EU under High Representative Solana missed no opportunity to draw attention to the number, geographical spread and variety of the operations undertaken under ESDP auspices. Overall this has contributed to an EU narrative presenting the EU as an energetic and dynamic organization. The narrative emphasizes the EU as security actor with a distinctive appeal based on its high level of political legitimacy, economic strength and unique mix of available means across military, civilian and economic spheres (despite the fact that the EU still does not live up to many of its own expectations and still has considerable capability shortfalls) (Giegerich, 2008, p. 24). Apart from emphasizing the large number of operations and their wide geographical spread, the EU has also managed to construct a narrative of success from relatively modest achievements. The reality behind the impressive number of operations is that about a third of them had fewer than 50 personnel and another third fewer than 500 (DIIS, 2008). The biggest venture so far has been the Althea operation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which started out with 7000 under the Berlin Plus agreement using NATO assets, but which was subsequently reduced to around 2000 (DIIS, 2008). What in ESDP count as large and demanding operations such as the military presence in Chad (3700) or the two military operations undertaken in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (Artemis in 2003 with 1500 and EUFOR RD Congo in 2006 with around 2000) are relatively small operations in the broader scheme of multilateral interventions(Asseburg & Kempin, 2009). This is clear from comparisons with the operations undertaken by NATO in Kosovo (around 17,500) and Afghanistan (around 150,000). The intention here is not in any way to undervalue the very important work undertaken by the EU under the auspices of the ESDP. Even small operations can be politically very signicant and can make a dierence locally, and they undoubtedly constitute a major success for the development of the ESDP and for the EU as a security actor. What is interesting, however, is that in comparison to NATO, the EU seems able to get more credit for less, and in some cases even to claim success where success is far from evident. For example, few would characterize the construction of a state like Bosnia-Herzegovina as a success, or the continuing desperate situation in DRC as much improved. Yet the EU has been able to construct a narrative of positive achievement for its operations, and to claim to have made a dierence. Because the EU claims success in its specic mission objectives, and not in solving the overall problem (in for example DRC) it has been able to construct a strong narrative and an identity as an increasingly important security actor. Even in those operations where a claim of success is simply not possible (such as the police mission in Afghanistan EUPOL) or where the Member States have been unable to reach agreement on action (such as deployment of battle groups to the eastern part of DRC), responsibility for these failures is somehow not seen as lying with the EU as an institution. In all likelihood an unsatisfactory outcome for the Afghanistan mission will be construed as NATOs

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responsibility, and responsibility for the continued violence in DRC is likely to be placed squarely with the UN. In other words, it seems that the many problems encountered do not stick to the EU. In contrast to the dynamic and positive developments in the EU, NATO experienced possibly its worst crisis in the build-up to the Iraq War in 2003. In fact, it seems fair to say that NATO has been in a state of continuous crisis throughout most of the rst decade of the millennium, as the lingering questions about practical cooperation in Kosovo led to a growing transatlantic disquiet and lack of condence in the ability of the Alliance to perform the kind of practical tasks it had dened as its primary military role. This is an experience that has continued in Afghanistan, where intra-alliance cooperation has turned out to be more challenging than anticipated and where the foundational principle of shared values and equality of risk has not been translated into a willingness amongst the allies to share equally the burdens at the practical level. Although the crisis in NATO no longer is of the proportions of the rst half of the decade, especially after the adoption of its new strategic concept in November 2010, its failure to demonstrate concrete achievements and progress in Afghanistan, and the continuously high level of casualties, constitutes negative action and this undermines NATOs ability to maintain a positive narrative and an acceptable level of self-esteem. Therefore, where the EU appears to have been blessed with a non-stick Teon eect in the narrative constructed about its ESDP operations, NATO seems to be hampered with a mud sticks, Velcro eect. In comparison to the EU, NATO has not been very good at playing the numbers game in emphasizing every single operational endeavour ever undertaken, despite the fact that NATO has also been more busy than ever and has been engaged in several smaller operations (such as delivering aid in the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan and in connection with Hurricane Katrina, support to the African Union in Darfur, ghting terrorism in the Mediterranean, and ghting piracy in the Gulf of Aden). Instead, NATO has concentrated on its two most major operations the ISAF operation in Afghanistan and the KFOR operation in Kosovo and then, since March 2011, in Libya under Operation Unied Protector. All are substantial and challenging military undertakings whose size and scope should validate NATOs identity. However, the reality is that it is dicult to focus on positive achievements precisely because the challenges are substantial, the capability shortfalls are considerable and the timeframe is long-term with a more demanding and ambitious end-state than is the case in the more focused and time-limited ESDP operations. The problem for NATO is that long-term and complex action is bound to give rise to disagreements and raise operational problems which are likely to hamper the construction of a strong narrative and to have a negative impact on the selfperception of an alliance that started out framing Afghanistan as its practical litmus test. Constructing a narrative of success is always dicult in a hostile operational environment where victory is elusive and problems and casualties are constantly mounting. In the case of NATOs ISAF operation in Afghanistan, the possibility of constructing a positive narrative is further hampered by the perception that the allies do not share risks and burdens equally (Williams, 2009). To be fair, NATO does point to the successes in Afghanistan, but the high number of fatalities makes it

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impossible for successes such as improving womens health and increasing the number of girls attending school to contribute to a narrative of success. Instead, NATO is stuck with actions that have an undermining eect on its self-perception, and which make it impossible to construct and maintain a positive narrative. Paradoxically, therefore, in the period between 1999 and 2009, the EU seems to have taken on a Tarzan role, whilst NATO is having diculty in living up to such a role despite its major operations. Enlargement Fatigue and the New Role of Partnerships Action through Enlargement and Partnerships The decade between 1999 and 2009 has not only been one of actual operations, but has also embraced enlargement and the development of dierent forms of partnerships in both organizations. NATO started out in April 1999 with a rather conservative round of enlargements, admitting only Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. However, these tentative beginnings were soon followed with an explosion of further enlargement as both organizations undertook a big bang expansion in 2004. At this time the EU admitted ten new members and NATO seven. In 2007 the EU added Romania and Bulgaria, and NATO accepted Albania and Croatia as new members in 2009. Both organizations still have a few ocial candidates (for the EU: Croatia, Iceland, Macedonia and Turkey; and for NATO: Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Georgia).16 However, it seems fair to say that despite the successful enlargements so far, both organizations are currently suering from enlargement fatigue and that they both recognize that all remaining prospective candidates would enter the two organizations carrying considerable baggage that is likely to make their integration into either organization challenging.17 Further enlargement of either organization, with the partial exception of the Western Balkans (Tassinari, 2010, p. 288) and possibly Iceland, is therefore not likely in the foreseeable future. Instead both organizations have engaged in a signicant rethinking of the role of dierent forms of partnerships. The main dierence from the previous period is that where partnerships during the 1990s were seen as an integral part of the enlargement process and as a necessary rst step towards membership, the status of partner has now been separated from questions of membership in both organizations. Although both organizations thus have followed similar paths since 1999, there are nevertheless subtle dierences between their partnership programmes. The EU approach to enlargement was always pragmatic in response to a political situation that made enlargement at some stage unavoidable. However, despite this somewhat reluctant approach to enlargement, the EU has realized the potential for inuence through various forms of socialization. At the same time, the increase in illegal migration, drug tracking and other forms of organized crime has underlined the importance of improved legal and governmental structures in the neighbourhood countries of the EU. Therefore, although the EU at times seems reluctant to engage ` with further questions about enlargement especially vis-a-vis the troubled membership application from Turkey, it has adopted a much more positive attitude to developing partnerships with countries on a case-by-case basis (Tassinari, 2010, p. 293). Even before the big bang enlargement in 2004, the EU was working on how to develop the existing Barcelona process into a more all-encompassing European

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Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) (EU, 2006). In a communication from the Commission in 2003, it was argued that the EU should aim to develop a zone of prosperity and a friendly neighbourhood a ring of friends with which the EU could enjoy close, peaceful and cooperative relations, and partnership countries in return would benet from closer economic integration with the EU (EU, 2003, p. 4). The ENP was adopted in 2005 and provides the main policy instrument for bilateral relations between the EU and partner countries. The policy has subsequently been rened by developing geographically specic partnership forums such as the Eastern Partnership, the Union for the Mediterranean and the Black Sea Synergy, each of which concentrate on problems and issues specic to their regions (Tassinari, 2010). In contrast to the geographical approach to partnership developed by the EU, NATO has followed a much more pragmatic and ad hoc approach to partnerships, based on the concerns and interpretations of the day and the constellation of the international security environment of the time. Perhaps because of the crisis in the transatlantic relationship caused by the Iraq War which coincided with the 2004 enlargements, NATO did not revise its Partnership for Peace programme in the same way that the EU did its structures. Although it is doubtful that a neat x between the underlying logic of security concerns and the institutional set-up of NATOs partnerships will ever be achieved, the current partnership structure in NATO is rather messy and in need of up-dating. This was recognized in the recently adopted Strategic Concept (NATO, 2010). For example, Belarus and Sweden are both partner countries despite their obvious dierences. At the same time Egypt, Jordan and Morocco, so-called Dialogue Countries, 18 have contributed to NATO operations, taking their relationship well beyond just dialogue. Finally, countries such as Australia participate in NATO operations along similar lines to Sweden, but neither country has an institutional forum in which to meet and they have no inuence on decision-making in relation to the very demanding NATO operations to which they contribute. NATOs pragmatic approach to partnerships has been inuenced by an understanding that core NATO countries (those with full membership) have to operate in an environment where networks and partnerships with other actors in the international system is a necessary policy instrument for both operational reasons (being able to respond to a multitude of threats) and for preventive reasons (developing positive relationships and/or contributing to regional stability and internal stability within weak state structures) (Flockhart & Kristensen, 2008). Within this strategy it is possible analytically and even polemically to distinguish between relationships with countries that can/may become like us, cannot/will not become like us and are like us, but have no interest in membership. Yet, as indicated, this distinction is not currently reected in NATOs institutional structure for partnerships. The current rather ambitious but nevertheless pragmatic goal for the Alliance seems to be to develop partnerships in new ways, emphasizing what the Secretary General has called global connectivity. The aim is for the Alliance to become the hub for a network of security partnerships with a wide range of international actors such as emerging powers, other international organizations and NGOs (Rasmussen, 2010). Enlargement and the development of relationships with non-member countries represent signicant areas of practical action in both organizations and have had a

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signicant impact on their narrative and identity construction processes. Overall these have represented positive action in both organizations, contributing towards maintaining or increasing self-esteem and a positive narrative. Yet curiously, although the EU process towards establishing the ENP has been the most goaloriented and, arguably, the most logical process, it seems that partnerships have played a bigger role in the NATO narrative than in the EU narrative. It must be acknowledged, however, that both organizations seem to suer from a general enlargement fatigue and both have tended to shy away from some of the more uncomfortable enlargement questions. Also, many NATO partner countries whether European based or partners across the globe such as Australia, have contributed positively to the Alliances on-going mission in Afghanistan, which has made it imperative for NATO to reiterate the positive contributions to its operations. Furthermore, several ocials have acknowledged that in the midst of continuing failure to live up to expectations in Afghanistan, NATOs partnerships represent a welcome positive story that the Alliance has been quick to exploit. It seems therefore logical that the EU has tended not to emphasize its important work on the ENP but to concentrate on its operations, whereas NATO has tended to emphasize its many partnerships and the positive contribution made by a variety of partners to NATOs military operations. As a result, NATO can be said to have followed a more feminine Jane strategy by working on, and valuing, its relationships. The EU in contrast has concentrated mainly on the more masculine Tarzan role by emphasizing its many operations. Provided that NATO can claim some success in Afghanistan (and in Libya), however, and provided that the EU begins to look more positively on its partnerships through the ENP, both organizations have the potential to become what Parag Khanna (2004) has termed a metrosexual power. According to Khanna, metrosexual men are muscular but suave, condent yet image-conscious, assertive yet clearly in touch with their feminine sides (Khanna, 2004, p. 66). Although the logic of this article might be that NATO needs to become more manly by developing its Tarzan role, it may actually be that NATO needs to become more like the EU by working on its style and presentation whilst holding on to its masculine role as a security actor, whilst the EU needs to get more in touch with its feminine side by appreciating and working harder on its relationships. NATO and EU Towards Metrosexual Power? Historians know that it is not what happened that is important, but only what is remembered. The same is true for the construction of the narratives about practical action on the part of NATO and the EU. By comparing the two organizations on a number of practical actions they have undertaken since 1999, it appears that the EU has been far more successful than NATO in establishing a positive narrative about its practical achievements in civilian and military operations. This is despite the fact that NATO made a good start in the 1990s and that NATOs actions are far more demanding in terms of size, scope and complexity. Even so, it appears that the EU (at least until recently) has been very skilled in constructing a narrative of success and dynamism, whereas NATOs narrative in the rst decade of the twenty-rst century has been dominated by crisis. Although a closer analysis reveals that this is

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not necessarily a true picture, the impression in the two organizations external environment is nevertheless inuenced by constructed narratives, as is the behaviour and self-conception of the organizations themselves. This article started out with the observation that NATO and the EU have both always been engaged in a combination of practical security activities and norm socialization activities. Moreover, both organizations have been through a constant development of their role conception and shifting perceptions of the other and the signicant we. Given that both organizations have been inuenced by the same structural conditions and that both have shared the same overall liberal value set (and a growing overlap in membership), it is not surprising that many of the processes of development have followed similar patterns. However, a closer analysis reveals that there are also less obvious, but nevertheless signicant dierences between the two. NATO has traditionally been conceptualized as primarily a military actor or Tarzan and the EU as primarily a soft and normative power or Jane. Yet evidently this distinction is no longer clear cut. It seems that NATO during most of the rst decade of the twenty-rst century has emphasized a Jane role conception as facilitator and norm promoter of shared values to partners and prospective members. The EU on the other hand has increasingly nurtured a Tarzan role which emphasizes a practical security role dealing with a number of threats identied in its security strategy. In some ways, therefore, it can be said that the two security organizations have swapped roles. The situation described in the two organizations is not static however, but seems to be extremely sensitive to changes in the outcomes of practical action. It appears that change in the narrative and self-perception of the two organizations is once again afoot, where the EU since the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty, its change of High Representative from Javier Solana to Catherine Ashton, and the frustratingly slow process of getting the European External Action Service up and running has had a dampening eect on the EUs self-esteem and ability to maintain a positive narrative. Certainly no new operations have been undertaken, despite the many opportunities for doing so in the Middle East and elsewhere. At the same time NATO seems to have moved on to a more positive narrative and self-perception since the adoption of its Lisbon document the new Strategic Concept. This is highly demanding on practical action, in relation to both operations and partnerships, which will certainly test NATO over the coming years. In fact, the challenge came quickly as the situation in Libya deteriorated rapidly, leading to the (eventual) agreement for NATO to be the lead organization for enforcing UN Security Council resolution 1973. It remains to be seen if Libya will be a Balkan experience or an Afghanistan experience for NATO. But given the high prole and the high stakes involved, it is certain that it will constitute either positive reinforcing action or negative undermining action. Either way, the outcome is likely to have profound eects on NATOs future narrative and identity constructions. Both organizations have entered into a new stage as both Lisbon documents NATOs new Strategic Concept and the EU Lisbon Treaty are bound to usher in another wave of action, identity construction and narrative construction. As such change is once again imminent in both organizations. The analysis here, however, has shown that both would do well to choose their action carefully and to aim for the via media of metrosexual power.

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3 4

10 11

12 13

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Although gendered role perceptions of the two organizations are deployed by referring to Tarzan and Jane, these labels are employed only as a heuristic shorthand to describe the diverging emphases of the two organizations, and should not be considered an actual gendered analysis of NATO and the EU. The focus in this article is on action conceptualized in a Haas-inspired way as functional activities. Although there clearly is a close connection with practice in a Bordieuian sense, the intention here is to focus on cooperation and action which is the result of conscious political decisions rather than on the eect of largely pre-intentional social practices. This argument is developed further in Flockhart (2011b). 2001 is normally regarded as the critical juncture in the international system. However, although the attacks on Washington and New York were shocking and certainly have had an important eect on both organizations, in terms of European (NATO and EU) self-conceptions and practical experience, the conict in Kosovo was a perhaps a more critical juncture. The main analysis here ends in 2009 as the initial rejection of Lisbon Treaty and the subsequent diculties in getting the European External Action Service up and running and the change in the leadership of both organizations, and the adoption of NATOs new strategic concept all are developments which are likely to have signicant eects, but which are not clear yet. The endowment of agency to collective entities such as states or international organizations is of course contested. See for example the forum in Review of International Studies (Wendt, 2004; Wight, 2004). This impression is based on interviews conducted by the author in NATO and EU during 2008 and 2009. Although the evidence from these conversations cannot be seen as scientic proof, all agreed that considerations of esteem and how to construct positive stories are always important consideration in decision-making. This argument is developed further in Flockhart (2011a), Giddens (1991), Kinnvall (2006), and Mitzen (2006), and is itself seen as a precondition for the ability of agents to undertaken intentional action. A more in-depth presentation of the relationship between narrative, identity and action/practice can be found in Flockhart (2011a). The term EU is used as a synonym for the whole postwar European integration process regardless that in institutional terms and in terms of Treaty base, several major changes have taken place since the process started with the establishment of the ECSC. For bargaining processes in EU decision-making see Moravcsik (1998) and Putnam (1988). An illustration of such willingness to obstruct the whole integration process is for example the empty chair crisis during the 1960s. This is a view that has been expressed in several conversations with EU ocials. The EU also enlarged in 1995 to include Sweden, Finland and Austria. Although the enlargement clearly contributed to the diculties associated with decision-making, the inclusion of Sweden, Finland and Austria was uncomplicated in all other respects and cannot therefore be seen as part of the socialization process. The Lisbon Treaty entered into force on 1 January 2009, after which the ESDP changed its name to Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). For the graphic illustration of all ESDP/CSDP operations see for example http://www.consilium. europa.eu/showpage.aspx?id268&langEN. Georgia has not signed a Membership Action Plan and, following the issues in the wake of the August 2008 RussianGeorgian war, the prospect of Georgian NATO membership has somewhat declined. This view is not stated ocially but is a very clear message conveyed by ocials in less formal settings. For a more in-depth outline of NATOs dierent relationships see Flockhart and Kristensen (2008).

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