One measure cannot trump it all: lessons from NATO’s early burden-sharing debates

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This paper calls for a qualitative turn in discussing NATO burden-sharing. The paper takes issue with the numerical burden-sharing narrative in NATO and identifies its two main problems. Despite being simple, the 2% defence spending pledge lacks other basic attributes of any contributory system: fairness and effectiveness. Drawing from concepts of distributive justice, the paper analyses NATO’s first burden-sharing debates and demonstrates that due to their qualitatively different capabilities, the allies agreed on an egalitarian ability-to-pay distributive justice. Furthermore, it shows that the allies refrained from implementing fairness in terms of a one-size-fits-all formula, since this simple numerical approach could not produce fair and effective burden-sharing at the same time. Rather, they developed a dynamic framework for optimal sharing. These formative burden-sharing debates provide valuable lessons learned for the current build-up of NATO’s posture: less focused on formal sharing, more concerned with strategic outputs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Security
Volume26
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)552-574
ISSN0966-2839
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4. Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes

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title = "One measure cannot trump it all: lessons from NATO’s early burden-sharing debates",
abstract = "This paper calls for a qualitative turn in discussing NATO burden-sharing. The paper takes issue with the numerical burden-sharing narrative in NATO and identifies its two main problems. Despite being simple, the 2{\%} defence spending pledge lacks other basic attributes of any contributory system: fairness and effectiveness. Drawing from concepts of distributive justice, the paper analyses NATO’s first burden-sharing debates and demonstrates that due to their qualitatively different capabilities, the allies agreed on an egalitarian ability-to-pay distributive justice. Furthermore, it shows that the allies refrained from implementing fairness in terms of a one-size-fits-all formula, since this simple numerical approach could not produce fair and effective burden-sharing at the same time. Rather, they developed a dynamic framework for optimal sharing. These formative burden-sharing debates provide valuable lessons learned for the current build-up of NATO’s posture: less focused on formal sharing, more concerned with strategic outputs.",
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One measure cannot trump it all: lessons from NATO’s early burden-sharing debates. / Kunertova, Dominika.

In: European Security, Vol. 26, No. 4, 04.08.2017, p. 552-574.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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