In this paper, I investigate the implications of 9/11 for the fomration of NATO's identity. The fact that, in 2006, the Secretary General of NATO condemned the terrorist attacks in India, whereas NATO had not issued a similar press release in 1995 following the Oklahoma bombings (the biggest terrorist attack on US soil until 9/11), implies that something indeed has changed. The different reactions clearly demonstrate that the perception of NATO officials changed in the years between the two events.
The central question of this
paper therefore is: Did the September 11 terrorist attacks lead to a change in NATO's identity?
I argue that 9/11 significantly influenced NATO's identity by creating a new enemy image. In broader terms, this research offers a case study of identity change in an international organization.
To answer the question, a specific research framework is developed. The basic premise is that of the theory of constructivism - social and material worlds are distinct, but interrelated dimensions of human life. I use the methodology that is developed by Ted Hopf. He advocates the interpretive approach - induction and phenomenology - as a tool for acquiring knowledge.
I adjust his state-orientation (that he applied to investigating the role of identity rin Russian foreign policy) to focus on international organizations. Thus, using induction and phenomenology, I analyze the discourse of NATO officials in order to reconstruct the identity of the organization.
After completing the research, I produce two identity maps: the first one for the period prior to 9/11, and the second one for the period that followed it. I do not focus only on finding traces of words like "terrorism" in the discourse of NATO officials, but rather I attempt to reconstruct the whole identity, as it is captured in the discourse.
Dzintars Kalnins studies at the University of Bremen / Jacobs University of Bremen.
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