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"Soft power" NATO as an instrument of resolving international conflicts
Material posted: Publication date: 22-01-2013

The end of the Cold war and the collapse of the bipolar world led to a radical change in the system of international relations. The possibility of world wars has decreased, but local conflicts have not been terminated.

During this period, a proliferation of peace operations without the participation of the United Nations. Such missions will almost always have the goal of not only ending the war, but also develop the country or coalition of countries carrying out the operation, in the zone of conflict to resolve political and economic problems. This is the way NATO has conducted operations in the Balkans and then in Afghanistan [7].

Strategic communication and public diplomacy is an integral part of policy planning and Executive activities of the Alliance. In this work an integral part of all public events, trips and meetings of the Secretary-General and top military and political figures in NATO Ministerial summits and negotiations of heads of state and government, regular and extraordinary press conferences and public speeches, articles and interviews in the press and in the Internet, military exercises, peacekeeping operations, and combat operations. The task of the bodies responsible for public diplomacy, is to convince public opinion of the countries-members of the Alliance that NATO is an effective, cohesive, and, most important, vital organization, without which the safety of not only the Euro-Atlantic region, but around the world, impossible.

It seems necessary to give an example of such a course.

Anti-war sentiment in the NATO countries in respect of the operation in Afghanistan has questioned the existence of this military bloc in the future, therefore, the information apparatus forces SSB was transferred to a mode of crisis response. The task before him was not only against propaganda of the Taliban inside Afghanistan, but also influencing the public in Europe and America, to convince the population of the member countries in the success of the operation and the existence of NATO is entirely responsible to their own interests in the field of security.

Work on Afghanistan has included a variety of activities, which consisted in organizing tours in Afghanistan for Western journalists, preparing your own information products under the auspices of ISAF, including, in dari and Pashto, the discussion of the activities of the organization "educational" courses for young people of Afghanistan work with Afghan journalists; not to mention the traditional means of war propaganda, such as distributing special Newspapers and leaflets. With the aim of strengthening the links between the professional communities of the West and of Afghanistan, security officers, managers, scientists went for training and professional development in Europe. Were constructed network structure aiming at communicating European and Afghan youth leaders – naturally, under the care and supervision of NATO experts.

Such activity of the Alliance takes place not only in Afghanistan but also in other regions. Work with the young generation of Europe, America and the countries-NATO partners around the world remains a priority of the Alliance. "Young network NATO" is a conglomerate of different structures is the most striking example of this policy.

It is obvious that the policy of "soft power" is aimed at encouraging individuals to adopt certain attitudes. So NATO officials are seeking to convince students, schoolchildren, and young deputies of the legislative Assembly that the Alliance is transparent, friendly, modern and successful organization. Management calls this "establishing strong and trusting relationship for the long term".

Public diplomacy for many years it was in the West the euphemism of propaganda, but even today, years after the collapse of communism, it is as relevant as ever, as proved its effectiveness [6].

Not superfluous to note that at the heart of peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities NATO is an Anglo-Saxon model of international conflict management. In NATO's peacekeeping operations clearly visible U.S. mission in planetary scale, supporting other countries and peoples are universal, in the opinion of the US leadership, values, ideology, political standards and the standards of Anglo-Saxon civilization. Exported values are not that other, as a product of Western liberal ideology ("democratic institutions" and "democratic values", "human rights", etc.). Such migration from one cultural environment to another, adherents of this model of conflict resolution see full violent restructuring of the political systems of other participants of international relations, and international conflicts is considered as a route of entry into the cultural environment of its members for the purpose of its further conversion in accordance with their own vision of the world. In pursuit of these goals are being developed and used in international conflicts: a flexible tactical schemes of external control, based on the application as the methods of force pressure ("peace enforcement", "humanitarian intervention", "fight international terrorism"), and other methods of influence (soft power, colour revolutions, "psychological warfare"). They believe that accelerated resolution of the conflict is possible only when the conflict will cease to be interesting from the point of view of using it to put pressure on rival parties and their allies in the international arena and, thus, will exhaust its possibilities in a global political struggle. So the Anglo-Saxons in its peacekeeping operations seek to embed conflict in a certain scheme of interaction with the participants and to use this diagram as management tool of their political behavior, including, including, and methods of coercion. Moreover, in the Anglo-Saxon model of international conflict management using direct armed forces is considered as service in relation to the technologies of information and psychological management of mass and individual consciousness of the population directly in the zones of international conflicts, and out of them [3].

Challenges "conflict management" in the concept of U.S. foreign policy is perceived as the responsibility of that state before all of the "free world" and world civilization, including, including, and threat of use of force against those who this opinion is not shared. Some of the provisions and guidelines of this concept, in principle, endorsed by the international community, among which the desire to use temporary stabilization of the world system after the end of global confrontation of the USSR and the USA for production and dissemination in the practice of international relations, new mechanisms of peaceful settlement and resolution of international conflicts. However, Washington's desire to dictate to the rest of the world and its conditions to build the whole system of peacekeeping, in accordance with their own civilizational model of international conflict management, raise serious objections from other participants in peacekeeping activities. Russia, France, China believes that the legal basis of this policy shall be the decision of the UN Security Council, which not only creates a circuit conflict management, but also determines the legitimacy of an arbitrator. Washington, by contrast, is dismissive of the UN, contributing to the interception of a number of its functions by other organizations, notably NATO. American policy, as opposed to Russia, put forward the idea of establishing new international organizations for political-ideological principle – on the basis of their compliance with future members of the democratic ideals [3].

This approach would not be constructive, as such a policy based on confrontation, can lead to re-escalation of the conflict.

It is also interesting opinion on the matter by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. He noted that the actions of international forces under the leadership of the Organization responsible for ensuring the stability of Kosovo and the Alliance's activities in Libya and Afghanistan are examples of how the Alliance adheres to its fundamental principles, by the force [5].

At the same time, obvious is the fact that the Libyan operation has confirmed the weakness of the "soft power", diplomatic staff of NATO. "Soft power" turned out to be inefficient, unable to provide non-military solution to the conflict in Western terms. According to the results of the NATO mission, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen acknowledged the "manifest failure of the support only on 'soft power'" and, according to German analysts, in fact, agreed with its "zero potential". Claiming that "no one is today calling for a return to gunboat diplomacy of the nineteenth century", in the governance structures of the Alliance are convinced that "in an unpredictable environment" the world can provide "hard power"[8]. The course of events in Libya, according to NATO estimates, confirmed the impossibility of resolving the conflict only on the basis of "military approach". Yet he remains an inevitable tool in the context of "a broad political engagement".

The main strategic conclusion leadership structures of the Alliance is that military power will continue to determine, as stated by NATO Secretary General, "the geopolitical map and in the XXI century". The security challenges of Europe, including conflicts in adjacent regions, such as in Libya, the risk of terror by "failed States" as a growing threat because the proliferation of WMD and liberamente will be to remain relevant [1, C. 18-19].

Thus, we can conclude that has the potential of "soft power" NATO failed to use it. Yet NATO remains a military organization, and in the near future it will not be an alternative to the UN in solving international conflicts. Alliance – the organization that protects the interests of members, but not parties to an international conflict. There is a view that in the Western understanding of soft power is the real iron fist -- in "feather" the mitten. A case in point Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, now Syria. Often the "soft power" NATO is used to implement the United States-its military power. Unfortunately, the "soft power" is used in the form of "color revolutions" in countries that should fall within the scope of its influence, mainly the United States[2]. It is obvious that soft power of the Alliance is not aimed at resolution of existing conflicts, and to address the problems of countries-members of the Alliance, and, above all, the USA.


⃰ International security assistance force (eng. InternationalSecurityAssistanceForce; ISAF) — led by NATO international military contingent operating in the territory of Afghanistan since 2001.



[1] E. R. Voronin Libyan operation of NATO: strategy, "hard" and "soft" power, the outcome //research papers of MGIMO (University). Issue 1(31). February 2012. M. – "MGIMO – Universitet". – 2012.

[2] Dimitri klenski: Compatriots: "soft force", "forced consensus", "self-reliance". Regnum Belarus (, 2012, June 30.Rasmussen outlined the main principles of NATO: To protect the need to use force. (, 2011, October 27.

[3] Karpovich O. G. Modern concepts of international conflict management in peacekeeping operations: Avtoref. dis. Dr. polit. Sciences. M., 2012.

[4] D. Pushkin, D. Cheremisova UN Peacekeeping at the turn of the century, or When the mission is feasible. "Reserve" 2010, №5(73). (Coffee hall

[5] Rasmussen outlined the main principles of NATO: To protect the need to use force. (, 2011, October 27.

[6] Dmitry Rogozin As NATO catch souls. Independent (, 2010, June 18.

[7] Khramchikhin A. Peacekeeping experience NATO, Russia and the EU. Newsland (

[8] A. Fogh Rasmussen NATO after Libya // Foreign Affairs. – 2011. – July/August.


Khokhlacheva Catherine G., graduate student of the Russian University of Peoples ' Friendship (RUDN)





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