The rationale of small and medium-sized states for involvement in PSO : the case of Italy and Portugal
Title: The rationale of small and medium-sized states for involvement in PSO : the case of Italy and Portugal
Author: PINTO ARENA, Maria Do Céu
Series/Number: EUI RSCAS; 2017/15
Why do states commit to deploying troops in peacekeeping missions? What factors shape policymakers’ choice to get involved in such missions? What accounts for a state’s earmarking military forces to PSO (Peace Support Operations), a notoriously risky and costly activity? Do states contribute personnel out of a desire to support the cosmopolitan values embodied in PSO, or out of self-interested behaviour? Are there different reasons accounting for the involvement of small and medium powers? Are those decisions based on normative, rule-based motivations, or rather on instrumental calculations of national interest? During the Cold War period, Portugal was absent from UN (United Nations) peacekeeping operations (PKO), while Italy had a discreet involvement in some UN operations and in multinational coalitions of different shapes. However, since the end of the Cold War, both countries have reviewed their peacekeeping policy, and have shown a stronger commitment to UN operations and, increasingly, to NATO and to European Union (EU) Peace Support Operations. The end of the Cold War opened up new policy options for decision-makers in Lisbon and Rome, who were determined to be more active in that area. They purposefully developed a reputation as security providers, building, along the process, a distinct external- and self-identity, as natural “peace-makers”. In the act, they upgraded their rank and, thus, their influence. This paper argues that the rationale for pursuing PSO is not much different in the case of a small state like Portugal, as compared to a medium-state like Italy. Furthermore, Italy and Portugal may make instrumental use of PSOs to gain international visibility, but they have internalised the cosmopolitan rules that prevail in multilateral settings, acting - as regards PSO - primarily out of normative concerns.
Subject: Peace Support Operations; Peacekeeping; Italy; Portugal; Small states
Type of Access: openAccess