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Towards a 'post-American' alliance? NATO burden-sharing after Libya

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Abstract

NATO's recent operation in Libya has been described by some commentators as reflecting a new burden-sharing model, with the US playing a more supportive role and European allies stepping up to provide the bulk of the air strikes. The US administration of President Barack Obama seemed to share this view and has made clear that post-Libya it continues to expect its allies to assume greater responsibility within the alliance. Moreover, unlike previously, changes within the US and the international system are likely to make America less willing and able to provide for the same degree of leadership in NATO that the alliance has been used to. However, this article finds that Operation Unified Protector in Libya has only limited utility as a benchmark for a sustainable burden-sharing model for the alliance. As a result, an ever more fragmented NATO is still in search for a new transatlantic consensus on how to distribute the burdens more equally among its members. While no new generic model is easily available, a move towards a ' post-American' alliance may provide the basis for a more equitable burden-sharing arrangement, one in which European allies assume a greater leadership role and are prepared to invest more in niche military capabilities.

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... The humanitarian intervention in Libya in 2011 was not Europe's finest hour. Apart from the lack of adequate military capabilities and the reliance on the United States for precision-guided missiles, aerial refuelling capabilities as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (Gates 2011; Barry 2011; Hallams and Schreer 2012; Daalder and Stavridis 2012), Europe also lacked internal political consensus (cf. Hill 1993; Toje 2008). ...
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Chapter
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Thesis
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Chapter
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Commenting on NATO’s 2011 intervention on behalf of Libyan rebels fighting to overthrow the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, a Swiss newspaper of international reputation asserted that the Atlantic Alliance was applying ‘the art of the possible’.1 The author declined to add that NATO’s action came at the end of more than a decade of attempting the near-impossible missions of regime change and nation-building in Afghanistan. What was deemed possible in March 2011 involved a considerable retreat from the ambitions of 2001. The alliance’s transformation — its most fundamental paradigm shift — has been under way for the two decades since the end of the Cold War and was not initiated but rather accelerated by its response to the events of 11 September 2001 (9/11). The transformation is as much the accidental product as it is the deliberate work of 22 years; NATO has attempted since 1989 to anticipate future challenges, and in its strategic concepts has articulated those challenges in a coherent fashion, but it has been conditioned by events as thoroughly as it has foreseen and shaped them. As it winds down its mission in Afghanistan, the alliance is at a watershed. It is not about to dissolve or disintegrate. As a coalition of states bound by shared political values, whose members continue to find it useful militarily and diplomatically, it endures.2
Chapter
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Chapter
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Chapter
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Chapter
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Chapter
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Chapter
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Chapter
This chapter examines the relations between Libya and countries in the Euro-Atlantic communities from the ousting of Muhammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011 to the present day. As this chapter shows, NATO operation Unified Protector was successful on military grounds. However, ensuing attempts to stabilise the country failed to produce significant results. The lack of meaningful EU support during the formal transition process and the interference of external actors complicated an already fragile transition. Taking stock of these lessons, Overcoming these obstacles requires involving militias in the peace process, redistributing oil revenues more equitably within Libyan society, and ensuring more effective cooperation between NATO and the EU, and among individual NATO and EU members.
Article
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Following the end of NATO ‘Operation Unified Protector’ in Libya there has been an intense debate in the international community with respect to the impact of the military engagement on both the emerging ‘responsibility to protect’ (R2P) norm as well as on the international community's commitment to enforce it. The study examines the impact of the international military intervention in Libya on this debate by looking at whether Operation Unified Protector contributed to strengthening or weakening the development of R2P. To do so, it first examines whether the authorization to use force in Libya was indeed grounded on R2P, as well as whether it was perceived as such by the international community. Secondly, the research examines whether the intervening parties' actual use of force was consistent with R2P. Finally, the research provides an assessment of the current state of R2P post-Libya.
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