NATO’s ‘Out of Area’ Operations: A Two-Track Approach. The Normative Side of a Military Alliance


Even though many would have bet on NATO’s demise after the Cold War and consider it now to be an archaic, antiquated alliance — as the reality that led to its formation no longer exists to justify its purpose — the need for collective defence in an increasingly complicated security environment stands as grounds for its ever-growing importance and its need to adapt to a spectrum of challenges that is becoming more diversified. NATO has long surpassed its military defensive role and has adapted to new challenges and new threats, while it has broadened its security agenda accordingly. The ‘out of area’ missions that dragged the Alliance out of its borders brought more meaning to the community of shared values, whilst allowing it to become both a security exporter, and a values and norms exporter. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan comprises NATO’s transformation and adaptation to the new security challenges and its diffusion of norms in the ‘near abroad’.