Jackson School Journal
of International Studies

Posts Tagged ‘Libya’

Volume 2 Number 2 – Autumn 2011


Gabrielle Gurian

NATO in the Balkans and Libya

Lessons to be Learned and Applied


Though NATO’s response to the outbreak of violence in Libya was initially critiqued as slow and unorganized, the mission has been successful in providing humanitarian aid and supporting rebel forces. However, it has proven to be a great challenge to the Alliance. If we take a look back at NATO’s involvement in the Balkans it is clear that when dealing with foreign policy problems, history can be instructive, and an ugly operation is not necessarily a failed operation. The NATO operation in the Balkans began with operational incompetence and counterproductive consequences; however, it is now viewed as a noteworthy success. If NATO can effectively apply lessons learned in the Balkans to the Libyan conflict, it is possible that what appears now as a feckless NATO policy in Libya may be seen, in years to come, as a North African reprise of NATO’s first experience in “winning ugly” in the Balkans. (Editorial Note: Since this article was written in the midst of the Libyan crisis in Spring 2011, we asked Gurian to offer a postscript analysis as of Autumn 2011. This can be found at the end of the article.)