Interests, identity and nordicity explaining Norwegian mediation efforts.
Anna Louise Strachan.
Date of Issue2012
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
This study seeks to unpack the decision-making processes behind Norwegian mediation efforts by undertaking a multi-level analysis within the framework of the foreign policy analysis literature. A greater understanding of the motivations behind third party mediation efforts has the potential to pave the way for a deeper understanding of other aspects of such mediation efforts, most notably whether the motivations behind peace engagement have an impact on the success or failure of an intervention. Norway, as one of the world’s most prominent third party mediators is an excellent candidate for such an analysis. The arguments in this thesis are built around three inter-related hypotheses. It will be argued that the determining factors behind Norwegian mediation efforts are threefold. This study contends that Norway becomes involved in the domestic affairs of other countries in order to further its own interests, both in the material sense and in terms of influence. It will however be argued that Norway’s national identity and its domestic politics are the reasons behind its choice of peace diplomacy as a foreign policy strategy. Moreover, it will be argued that Norway’s broader Nordic identity or ‘Nordicity’ is responsible for the manner in which it pursues its mediation efforts. In this context, emphasis will be placed on Scandinavian ‘norm entrepreneurship.’ In terms of methodology, this study will involve an in-depth quantitative and qualitative analysis of the decision-making processes behind Norwegian interventions in intra-state conflicts. The case studies considered in this study will be the conflict between the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE), the conflict between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) and the conflict in southern Sudan between the Government of Sudan (GOS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). The conflicts in the Philippines and Sri Lanka are of particular interest as they rank among the ten conflicts to have received the least UN attention in the period 1996-2005. These conflicts did notresult in a single UN Security Council resolution in this period. Sudan is of interest as, despite ongoing tensions, it constitutes a successful intervention, South Sudan having gained independence in July 2011.