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NATO and the Ukraine crisis: Collective securitisation

  • James Sperling (a1) and Mark Webber (a2)
Abstract
Abstract

In securitisation theory (ST) little attention has been paid to how actors undertake securitisation collectively. The empirical focus of that theory has also, paradoxically, neglected the military-strategic sector and with it regional security organisations like NATO. Such an oversight is worth correcting for three reasons. First, NATO is constantly engaged in securitisation across a range of issues, a process that reflects an underappreciated recursive interaction between the Alliance and its member states. Second, the Ukraine crisis has resulted in Russia being explicitly identified as a source of threat and so has triggered a successful collective (re)securitisation by the Alliance. Third, a framework that demonstrates NATO’s standing as a securitising actor has potential relevance to other regional security organisations. This article discusses and amends ST in service of an approach that permits securitisation by actors other than the state, in this case NATO. A model of collective securitisation is presented and then applied empirically to the post-Cold War desecuritisation of Russia and its subsequent resecuritisation following the annexation of Crimea. The implications of resecuritisation for the emergence of a self-reinforcing security dilemma in NATO-Russia relations are also considered.

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Corresponding author
*Correspondence to: Professor Mark Webber, School of Government and Society, Muirhead Tower, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, United Kingdom. Author’s email: m.a.webber.1@bham.ac.uk
References
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70 Yost David, NATO’s Balancing Act (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2014), pp. 223225 .

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75 The significance of the NRF lay in its potential as a ‘driving engine of NATO’s military transformation’. Formed in 2002, it was not until 2009 that discussion began on reorienting it toward tasks of collective defence. See Yost, NATO’s Balancing Act, pp. 82–4.

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78 Mention of Russia was thus omitted from certain key documents. See ‘Summit Declaration on Defence Capabilities: Toward NATO Forces 2020’ (20 May 2012), available at: {www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_87594.htm?mode =pressrelease}.

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82 The relevant resolutions are: 1990 (2014), 2034 (2015), and 2063 (2015).

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119 Merkel cited in Traynor Ian, ‘European leaders fear growth of Russian influence’, The Guardian (18 November 2014).

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122 ‘Remarks at the Munich Policy Conference Discussion Panel’ (8 February 2015), available at: {www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2015/02/237298.htm}.

123 Cited in France 24 (8 March 2014), available at: {www.france24.com/en/20140308-pictures-paris-ukrain-turn-out-vitaly-klitschko-visit}.

124 ‘Statement by NATO Foreign Ministers’ (1 April 2014), available at: {http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_108501.htm}.

125 NATO Fact Sheet, ‘NATO’s Readiness Action Plan’ (October 2015), available at: {www.nato.int/nato_static_fl2014/assets/pdf/pdf_2015_10/20151007_1510-factsheet_rap_en.pdf}.

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129 Louise Brooke-Holland, ‘NATO’s Military Response to Russia’, House of Commons Library, Briefing Paper, No. 07276 (February 2016), available at: {http://researchbriefings. parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7276}.

130 Stoltenberg cited in ‘NATO Boosts its Defence and Deterrence Posture’ (10 February 2016), available at: {www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_127834.htm}.

131 ‘Warsaw Summit Communiqué’ (8–9 July 2016), para. 40.

132 Jospeh A. Day (general rapporteur), ‘New Defence Imperatives: the Implementation of Wales Pledges and Prospects for Warsaw’, NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Defence and Security Committee (25 April 2016), pp. 5–6.

133 ‘Statement by NATO Defence Ministers’ (25 June 2015), para. 8, available at:{www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_121133.htm?selectedLocale=en}.

134 Cited in Cooper Helen and Kanter James, ‘NATO adds to defences with an eye on Moscow’, International New York Times (9 October 2015).

135 Cited in Beale Jonathan, ‘NATO war games keep Syria and Russia in mind’, BBC News (23 October 2015), available at: {www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34603504}.

136 Press conference (2 December 2015), available at: {www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/opinions_125571.htm?selectedLocale=en}.

137 ‘Statement of General Philip Breedlove, Commander US Forces Europe’, Senate Committee on Armed Services (1 March 2016), available at: {http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/ media/doc/Breedlove_03-01-16.pdf}, pp. 4, 10, 23; Stenographic Transcript before the Senate Committee on Armed Services (1 March 2016), available at: {http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/16-20_03-01-16.pdf}, p. 11.

138 Larsen Jeffrey A., ‘Time to Face Reality: Priorities for NATO’s 2016 Warsaw Summit’, Research Paper (NATO Defence College, Rome), No. 125 (January 2016), p. 4 .

139 Speech in Prague (6 June 2016), available at: {www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/ opinions_131609.htm?selectedLocale=en}.

140 Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, speech to the Munich Security Conference (13 February 2016), available at: {www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/opinions_128047.htm}.

141 Cited in Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (4 May 2016), available at: {www.rferl.org/ articleprintview/27715802.html}.

142 Buzan, Wæver, and de Wilde, Security: A New Framework for Analysis, pp. 203–27.

143 Wendt Alexander, ‘On constitution and causation in International Relations’, Review of International Studies, 24:5 (1998), pp. 101118 .

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146 Krastev Ivan, ‘What Central Europe thinks of Russia’, International New York Times (28 April 2015).

147 Steinhauer Jennifer and Herszenhorn David M., Obama ‘Defying, many in congress press to arm Ukraine’, International New York Times (13–14 June 2015).

148 Buzan Barry and Hansen Lene, The Evolution of International Security Studies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), pp. 216217 .

149 Floyd Rita, ‘Can securitization theory be used in normative analysis? Towards just securitization theory’, Security Dialogue, 42:4–5 (2011), pp. 427439 .

150 Allison Graham and Simes Dmitri K., ‘Russia and America: Stumbling to war’, The National Interest (May–June 2015).

151 Ivo Daalder cited in Dyer Greg, ‘New NATO stance raises stakes on Eastern frontier’, Financial Times (27 June 2015).

152 Hyde-Price Adrian, ‘The “sleep-walking giant” awakes: Resetting German foreign and security policy’, European Security, 24:4 (2015), pp. 607611 .

153 Stoltenberg, speech to the Munich Security Conference (13 February 2016).

154 Baker Peter, ‘Obama increases Ukraine aid, without weapons’, International New York Times (12 March 2015).

155 Simon Luis, ‘Understanding US retrenchment in Europe’, Survival, 57:2 (2015), p. 167 .

156 Marrone Allesandro, De France Olivier, and Daniele Fattibene (eds), Defence Budgets and Cooperation in Europe Developments, Trends and Drivers (Istituto Affari Internazionali, 2016), p. 3 .

157 Ibid., p. 3.

158 Deni John, ‘The Flawed US Approach to European Reassurance’, Carnegie Europe (27 May 2016), available at: {http://carnegieeurope.eu/strategiceurope/?fa=63675}.

159 Booth Ken and Wheeler Nicholas J., The Security Dilemma: Fear, Cooperation and Trust in World Politics (Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), pp. 165170 .

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