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The SUPPMIL project investigates the drivers of individual politicians and political parties’ support for United Nations and NATO military operations abroad.

Project description

Factors of support for UN and Nato military missions

National parties and individual parliamentarians often adopt different positions regarding the UN and NATO. The EU-funded SUPPMIL project will employ a multi-method approach to explain this, combining quantitative texts analysis and case studies investigation. The quantitative texts analysis covers 30 years of parliamentary debates in Canada, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States, and discussions at the UN Security Council and the North Atlantic Council. It aims to enrich the theoretical debate on the factors of support for military missions. The case studies on two UN missions, in DR Congo and Lebanon, and two NATO missions, in Afghanistan and Kosovo, will deliver new knowledge about states and parties’ rhetoric and behaviour.


Why do national political parties and individual members of parliament (MPs) adopt different attitudes towards UN and NATO operations? To tackle this question, the project adopts a multi-method approach and brings together quantitative text analysis and case-studies investigation. First, the quantitative text analysis addresses thirty years of parliamentary debates in Canada, Germany, Italy, UK, and US, and discussions in the UN Security Council (UNSC) and in the North Atlantic Council. Second, the project entails case studies on two UN missions, the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo, and the UN Interim Force in Lebanon and two NATO missions, Kosovo and Afghanistan. Results of the multi-method analysis enrich the theoretical debate about the factors that explain levels of support for military missions: the elaboration and the empirical testing of two unified theories for MPs and political parties’ positions on armed interventions abroad is a key innovative contribution. Second, the case-studies analysis provides novel insights about states and parties’ rhetoric and behaviour, contributing to relevant academic debates on international norms, rhetorical political analysis, and organised hypocrisy. The theoretical implications range from the political salience of different missions to the discrepancies of Foreign Policy positions over the domestic-international divide. In addition, the project provides significant methodological improvements. The combination of quantitative with qualitative text-analysis tools offers intriguing insights about the strengths and weaknesses of the two approaches and about the potential for their interaction. Finally, the project aims at refining the rigorousness of Bayesian process tracing, building systematic rules to assign different causal weights to different observations. In this context, the employment of MPs’ personal characteristics and institutional roles to establish such rules seems a promising path.


Net EU contribution
€ 271 732,80
Kirby Corner Road - University House
CV4 8UW Coventry
United Kingdom

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West Midlands (England) West Midlands Coventry
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 271 732,80

Partners (1)