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Reponse to critics ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Stephanie C. Hofmann European Security in NATO’s Shadow: Party Ideologies and Institution Building, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 19.99 (paperback) £ 69.99 (Hardcover), ISBN: 9781107029095 International Politics Reviews (2016) 4, 2–4. doi:10.1057/ipr.2016.3 Stephanie C. Hofmann Department of Political Science/International Relation. E-mail: [email protected]
It is a pleasure to react to a careful reading of my research and analysis that went into European Security in NATO’s Shadow: Party Ideologies and Institution Building. In the book, I demonstrate that political ideological congruence across major political parties in Europe help explain the timing, creation and design of the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) – now known as the Common Security and Defense Policy. I very much thank Jim Sperling and Mark Webber for their insightful comments to help me clarify some aspects. I will address their reading of my book along (i) the characterization of ideological spaces and whether ESDP developed in an evolutionary way, (ii) the role of multilateralism and NATO, (iii) alternative explanations and (iv) the theoretical and empirical reach of the argument.
Ideological Spaces and Evolutionary Institutionalization The argument of European Security in NATO’s Shadow rests on the degree of congruence between different political parties in their interpretations of the values of sovereignty, political community and multilateralism. Ideological congruence between parties in power can lead to the creation of new institutions – irrespective of whether they are functional if viewed from a material angle. I operationalized the different value interpretations not dichotomously but according to types, and inductively looked for the interpretation of the broad values political community, sovereignty and multilateralism. I hope that the careful
tracing, with the help of different data sources (interviews, party manifestoes, parliamentary debates, coalition treaties, government declarations and party convention speeches), sufﬁciently demonstrates the variation that exists across political parties when they interpret values. I thank Sperling for the opportunity to clarify that the graphs in the book, as well as the three-dimensional space, are a stylized representation of my argument. The ideological spaces that inform party and national preferences are stable over time. However, political parties rotated in and out of power, and with this, the success rate of attempts to create a European security institution varied from failure to robust institutionalization. The three cases I looked at are, in chronological order, (i) the Maastricht Treaty, where a symbolic institution was created, (ii) the Amsterdam Treaty, where the creation of a robust European security institution failed and (iii) the Cologne Summit/Nice Treaty, where EU member states created ESDP. This chronological order alone suggests that an evolutionary logic has not much leverage. A further examination of governmental preferences across France, the United Kingdom and Germany reveals that preferences did not adapt to institutional constraints but remained stable across political parties in power. Some of the comments also revert to external events that moved the institutional development along. While the (violent) disintegration of the USSR and Yugoslavia certainly played a role in proposing a European security institution inside the EU and autonomous of NATO, these events were understood
differently across political parties in Europe and led to different preferences with regard to the creation of a European security institution.
The Role of Multilateralism and NATO Some comments refer to an understanding of NATO and the EU as monoliths. As I try to point out in European Security in NATO’s Shadow these two organizations can rarely be understood as such based on their member states varied ideological compositions that inform their understanding of the material world around them. The consecutive British governments are a case in point. The Conservatives interpret and rank the values of political community (Europe-as-a-geographic-space), sovereignty (intergovernmental), and multilateralism (means-toanother-end) such that multilateralism is a derivative of sovereignty leading the Conservatives to favor NATO over the EU. Labor, on the other hand, has linked multilateralism differently to sovereignty and hence pushes for a more inclusive global governance structure that includes NATO in its security policy but not exclusively so. Other comments presuppose knowledge of current actions and events to explain the creation of ESDP. This anachronism is problematic. I tried to write the book from the perspective of the political leaders and bureaucratic at the time, not letting the present judge the past. When ESDP was created, the United States was either indifferent or openly hostile to ESDP as Webber points out. Albright warned the EU member states not to engage in duplication, discrimination and de-coupling. Burden-sharing in ﬁnancial terms much more than in political terms was US policy during the Amsterdam negotiations (where the attempt to include security issues to the EU failed) or later on during the second Bush administration. And while ESDP was never supposed to be identical to NATO, its initial set up heavily imitated NATO’s mandate in international crisis management. This duplication of task was of concern to many US administrations, as well as the British Conservatives for that matter. The civilian aspects of ESDP were only developed later. The civilian aspect did not explain ESDP’s creation in 1998/1999.
Alternative Explanations: Domestic Versus International? Some comments point to the choice of alternative explanations and, hence, also implicitly to the plausibility of the argument. In the book, I address the main IR explanations addressing the creation of ESDP based in the rationale of realism and rational choice institutionalism. My own argument is not only based on state-level or international-level insights but instead also addresses domestic factors – for which I do not provide alternative explanations. While my
argument presents domestic level factors in the ﬁrst step of the causal logic (party ideologies), in a second step it then moves to the international level where it points to the degree of ideological congruence as the main explanatory factor of institutional creation and design. I agree that systemically testing domestic factors could have strengthened the argument. In the book, I nonetheless address some domestic factors: national security culture and vested material interests. Given that I demonstrate that there is sub-national variance in the necessity, utility and/or desire for an additional security organization that organizes European crisis management capabilities and action; I think that I have implicitly also shown that more aggregate variables such as (national) security cultures miss important variance in explaining national preferences. When it comes to vested material interest, it is questionable that the arms industry would push for a European market when it also has the transatlantic, bilateral and multilateral initiatives available that can very well exist independent of a formal institutional structure. I also very much appreciate the insight that existing explanations rooted in realist or rational choice institutionalist thinking make ‘empirically dubious claims’. However, this does not make them scapegoats, as they are prominent alternatives in the literature on ESDP (especially realist arguments). Derived from realist and rational choice institutionalist thinking, ESDP is understood either as a competitor or a supplement to NATO. These alternative explanations provide a good frame to show that ESDP is strictly speaking neither one nor the other but can alternatively be understood as a political project that unites different national governments. As a result, it can at times be understood as competitor by some while as a supplement or complement to NATO by others.
Applicability of the Argument: Creation Yes, but What about Cooperation? Sperling and Webber are left wondering how this affects multilateral cooperation and not just institutional creation. While the scope of the book is to explain the initial decision to either create or not create a new institution, I think that the argument that rests on ideologies can also explain to some degree institutional development and cooperation, though in conjunction with other factors. For example, respective French governments have inﬂuenced NATO’s institutional development. On the basis of their value interpretations, consecutive French Governments encouraged, delayed or halted NATO transformation at speciﬁc junctures that are characterized by particular political parties in power. The RPR/UMP sees IOs as useful tools to increase its range of action. As long as French sovereignty is safeguarded, the RPR/UMP prefers to engage fully in multilateral endeavors – including VOLUME 4 MAY 2016 3
NATO. Thus, it was RPR or UMP governments that supported NATO reforms and pushed for France’s full reintegration into NATO. In contrast, the French Socialists focus on European security projects that could potentially challenge NATO as the primary security organization in Europe and tried to block NATO transformation whenever they were in power. As a result, we observe that NATO summits sometimes produce only informal agreements and cannot launch institutional innovations. The
Conservative government under Cameron has signiﬁcantly reduced ESDP’s activities. And in the most recent demonstration of valuing the EU over NATO, Hollande invoked the EU’s mutual defense clause (Article 42.7) instead of NATO’s (Article 5) after the terrorist attacks of 13 November 2015. These anecdotes illustrate that ideological compositions and degree of congruence across parties in government still affect not only institutional creation.