My latest paper has been published by Contemporary Security Policy. You can access it online here and in pdf. I reproduce the abstract below.
Most research on strategic narratives has explored their creation, and their interaction with other elements of national power in the conduct of foreign policy. Yet, the issue of how the targeted political communities receive those strategic narratives, and thus how those narratives are likely to have a political impact, is understudied. This article argues that in order to understand the ways strategic narrative are received within a political community, political myths must be taken into account. It introduces a typology of political myths based on their degree of universality and their degree of coherence with other myths, and shows how those factors influence the reception of strategic narratives. These mechanisms are illustrated through a study of the reception of the Russian strategic narrative in France. This approach offers opportunities to assess the differentiated impact strategic narratives have on political communities.
Sten Rynning and I co-authored the chapter on alliances in the newly published Oxford Handbook of International Security.
My new book has been published by Georgetown University Press. You can access it here.
I just published an article on NATO in Afghanistan in the journal Cooperation and Conflict. The article is available online and in PDF. I reproduce the abstract below:
This article investigates the NATO campaign in Afghanistan through a practice-based approach. The structural distribution of power within NATO, which is obviously in favor of the US, does not automatically lead to Washington’s desired outcomes, and US delegates must competently perform a certain number of practices for their power advantage to take its full effect. The article also illustrates how looking at practices helps to explain policy decisions, such as NATO’s decision to engage in Afghanistan, the establishment of an International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) strategy and the wording of policy papers. By studying a case of military diplomacy, the article contributes to the emerging scholarship aimed at bridging the gap between diplomatic studies and practice-based approaches to International Relations.
I published with my colleague Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen a piece in The International Spectator comparing the French and Danish think-tanks. The article is available here and can be downloaded here. I reproduce the abstract below.
Even though France is an active player on the world stage, its foreign and security think tank milieu is smaller than that of similar powers, most notably the United Kingdom. Comparing French think tanks with those in Denmark illustrates how French institutional structures constrain think tank activities. France’s political tradition of centralisation, its non-academic civil service education, and separation of academia and administration create an environment in which think tanks are underfunded and walk a fine line between an over-controlling administration and a suspicious academia. Some French think tanks perform well in spite of these structures, which indicates that they could flourish and compete at the highest international level if given better structural conditions.
I published a book chapter co-authored with Theo Farrell on the evolution of the character of internal armed conflicts, and the consequences for people fleeing mass violences (refugees and internally displaced people).
The chapter is the analytical foundation for discussions on the legal instruments of civilian protection, and potential rooms for improvement and updates.
The project was supported by the UNHCR.
I published two articles in the Journal of Strategic Studies on France’s defence policy. They are part of a special issue on France in the transatlantic security order I guest-edited, and which includes articles from Alice Pannier (US-UK-France relations), Stephanie Hofmann (French party politics and policies towards NATO), Olivier Chopin (intelligence reform), and Élie Tenenbaum (irregular warfare).
Below are the abstracts and the links to the two articles, available in open access thanks to the SDU library.
“The Reluctant Atlanticist: France’s Security and Defence Policy in a Transatlantic Context” (link) (pdf)
This article introduces the key tenets of French foreign and security policy during the Cold War, and illustrates the deep challenges to the French consensus raised by the emergence of a unipolar system. There is a growing gap between the rhetoric of French security policy, emphasizing ‘autonomy’ and ‘sovereignty’ out of habit from the Cold War, and the actual security practices showing a gradual embedding within the transatlantic security structures. In the absence of a new transpartisan grand narrative relevant for the contemporary international system, such embedding is easily portrayed in France as a ‘treason’ from a romanticized Gaullist foreign policy.
“French Military Adaptation in the Afghan War: Looking Inward or Outward?” (link) (pdf)
For some, a specific feature of the French armed forces’ adaptation process would be the capacity to look inward instead of outward in order to identify relevant solutions to tactical/doctrinal problems. This article questions such a narrative, and argues that the French armed forces are as quick as any to borrow from other countries’ experiences. In order to do so, this article introduces the concept of ‘selective emulation’, and compares the French and German military adaptation processes in Afghanistan. The article argues that there is indeed something distinctive about French military adaptation, but it is not what the fiercest defenders of the French ‘exceptionalism’ usually account for.