Forsvarsstudier no. 4/1999
Title: Keeping Nato out of trouble. Nato's non-policy on out-of-area issues during the Cold War.
Author: Frode Liland
In its 50th anniversary year, Nato was heavily engaged in so-called out-of-area issues. The organization found it self with peace-keeping forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina and involved in its first war, in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This was indeed a dramatic change from the Cold War period, during which Nato also faced difficult out-of-area issues and experienced bitter internal struggles as a result, but refused to get involved. Indeed, Nato remained quite faithful to a non-policy on out-of-area issues.
The present study investigates the out-of-area issues Nato had to face during the Cold War, primarily in connection with colonial disputes and American engagement in the Third World. It describes the preferred non-policy and argues that this stemmed from diverging interests, perceptions of threat and ideology among the Nato members. Given these differences, Nato members accepted a non-policy in order to avoid undermining Nato cohesion regarding Nato’s primary concern: the defense of the North Atlantic area from Soviet aggression.
Cand. Philol. Frode Liland is a historian from the University of Oslo. While conducting the present study he was a research associate at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies. He is currently a research associate at the University of Oslo, taking part in a project on the history of Norwegian foreign aid.