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Why Small States join Big Wars: The Case of Sweden in Afghanistan 2002-2014
Uppsala universitet.
Lunds universitet.
Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
2017 (English)In: International Relations, ISSN 0047-1178, E-ISSN 1741-2862, Vol. 31, no 2, p. 145-168Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The security behavior of small states has traditionally been explained by different takes of realism, liberalism, or constructivism - focusing on the behavior that aims toward safeguarding sovereignty or engaging in peace policies. The issue of why states with limited military capacities and little or no military alignments or engagements decide to participate in an international mission has received limited attention by previous research. In contrast, this article argues that a three-layered discursive model can make the choices of small states more precisely explained and thereby contribute to an increased understanding of small states' security behavior beyond threat balancing and interdependence. Analyzing a deviant case of a non-aligned small state, this article explains why Sweden became increasingly involved in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan. By focusing on the domestic political discourses regarding the Swedish involvement in this mission, it is suggested that a narrative shapes public perception of a particular policy and establishes interpretative dominance of how a particular event should be understood. This dominant domestic discourse makes a certain international behavior possible and even impossible to alter once established. In the Swedish case, it is demonstrated that this discourse assumed a catch-all' ambition, satisfying both domestic and international demands. In general terms, it should thus be emphasized that certain discourses and narratives are required in order to make it possible for a country to participate in a mission such as ISAF and prolong the mission for several years.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2017. Vol. 31, no 2, p. 145-168
Keywords [en]
Afghanistan, international interventions, International Security Assistance Force, small states, Sweden
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Research subject
Krigsvetenskap
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-7199DOI: 10.1177/0047117816651125ISI: 000403204300003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-7199DiVA, id: diva2:1172872
Available from: 2018-01-11 Created: 2018-01-11 Last updated: 2018-06-29Bibliographically approved

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Ångström, Jan

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf