As NATO has moved from being a primarily military alliance to seeking more political roles, it has become pertinent to consider its impact on democratisation.
At first glance, it might seem incongruent even to deliberate on the democracy promotion relevance of an essentially military organisation. But, NATO’s successive enlargements have often hinged on the fulfilment of democratic preconditions in aspirant members, while technical assistance provided under the Partnership for Peace (PfP) and other programmes has increasingly focused on the reform of civilmilitary relations.
Assessment is consequently warranted of whether NATO has come to play any positive role in encouraging democratisation across different regions, or whether its impact on political liberalisation has been either marginal or even negative.
This paper argues that support for democracy has increasingly infused NATO policies, but that the organisation’s role in democracy promotion is circumscribed by strategic considerations; most often an indirect side effect of other aims; and most relevant to the niche area of defence reform.
With the support of: