The objective of this article is to test the free-riding hypothesis submitted by collective action theorists, and to ask the following research questions: What slice of the military burden did middle powers share in NATO’s first out-of-area operations in the Balkans between 1995 and2001? And what, if anything, can we infer from this? We concentrate on NATO’s Implementation Force (IFOR), Stabilization Force (SFOR) and Kosovo Force (KFOR) operations and show that based on a so-called relative force share index middle powers shouldered a disproportionately high relative share in those peace operations. From this finding we draw a number of inferences for burden sharing studies and show avenues of future research.
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For a definition of middle powers see (Chapnick, 2005).
The middle power concept has gone through distinct cycles of popularity (c.f. Ravenhill, 1998) and refers to a group of states that rank below the great powers in terms of their material capabilities and ability to project power internationally. They have an impact either in specific regions or issue areas, as well as the ‘tendency to pursue multilateral solutions to international problems’, ‘to embrace compromise positions in international disputes’, and ‘to embrace notions of ‘good international citizenship’ to guide diplomacy’ through international institutions (Keohane, 1969, p. 298; Holbraad, 1984; Cooper et al, 1993, p. 19).
‘The Alliance’s New Strategic Concept’, 7–8 November 1991, http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_23847.htm.
I thank Todd Sandler for encouraging me to make this point stronger.
To be clear, this article does not contribute to the literature on international political economy as it does not employ economic theories of burden sharing, and thus does not speak the language of economists. For a discussion of economic theories applied to NATO burden sharing see (Sandler and Hartley, 1999).
The primary data of NATO’s defense spending is published in various reports and press releases, for example, by the Defense Planning Committee. A full list of the available data could be found here: http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_49198.htm, accessed 8 April 2010.
Olson calls this the ‘privileged group’. For a recent application of Olson see (Ringsmose, 2010).
Here the burden sharing literature intersects with that on international regimes, which for purposes of space cannot be discussed here further. See (Zyla, 2015) for an introduction.
To be sure, I am not suggesting that collective action theorists have not used relative indicators. They have by calculating defense spending as a share of GDP.
The peace agreement was formally signed during an official ceremony in Paris on 14 December 1995.
The list of non-NATO countries participating in the IFOR mission include states from the NATO’s Partnership for Peace program: Albania, Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Sweden and the Ukraine. Of particular note is that IFOR ground troops were augmented by a 2200-strong Russian contingent serving under a NATO command. IFOR AFSOUTH Fact Sheet, 1 March 1996.
While Sandler and Hartley (2001) point out that a joint products model exists when defense provision gives rise of multiple outputs, Boyer goes further and emphasizes that trading of these private benefits is possible.
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Zyla, B. Who is keeping the peace and who is free-riding? NATO middle powers and Burden Sharing, 1995–2001. Int Polit 53, 303–323 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1057/ip.2016.2
- burden sharing
- transatlantic relations
- middle powers