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Party politics at the water’s edge: contestation of military operations in Europe

  • Wolfgang Wagner (a1), Anna Herranz-Surrallés (a2), Juliet Kaarbo (a3) and Falk Ostermann (a4)
Abstract

This paper contributes to current debates on the politicization of international politics by examining party-political contestation of peace and security missions. It is guided by two inter-related questions, (a) to what extent deployment decisions are contested amongst political parties and (b) what drives such contestation. We examine data from a new data set on parliamentary votes on deployment decisions in France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom and from the Chapel Hill Expert Survey. Against conventional wisdom and in an effort to address the often-overlooked role of political parties, we find that military deployments have been systematically contested amongst political parties across Europe. Further, we find that contestation is driven by the left/right axis, as opposed to newer cleavages captured here by the so-called gal/tan axis. We also find evidence that patterns of contestation depend on parties’ positions in government or opposition, a factor we relate to bureaucratic and international pressures on the parties in office, and to political opportunities for opposition parties.

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*E-mail: w.m.wagner@vu.nl
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Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the workshop Legislatures and foreign affairs: political parties, committees, and individual MPs at the University of Tampere, 14 April 2016, at the Research on International Security and Conflict seminar at the University of Amsterdam on 20 April 2016, at the convention of the Central and Eastern European International Studies Association in Ljubljana on 24 June 2016, at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin on 28 July 2016 and at the workshop (Re-)Politicizations of Security. Concepts and Practices at the European Workshops in International Studies at Cardiff University, 7–10 June 2017.

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