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Why do states seek international organization approval for military intervention?

Final Report Summary - WHY_SEEK_IO_APPROVAL (Why do states seek international organization approval for military intervention?)

Why do powerful states frequently seek multilateral approval for their military interventions from the United Nations Security Council and regional bodies such as NATO or the African Union? The project has aimed to answer this question.

State-of-the-art research in political science and international relations generally explains states’ efforts to secure multilateral approval for their military interventions as the result of rational cost-benefit calculations having do to with burden sharing, domestic support, and signalling benign intentions internationally. My project has instead theorised that social-psychological and emotional factors related to international status-seeking are just as likely, and perhaps more likely, to motivate states’ efforts to secure multilateral approval. I have assessed the plausibility of this argument by investigating the progressive multilateralisation of French military intervention policy towards Africa since the early 1990s.

Project objectives have included: identification and assimilation of relevant scholarly literature; development of a theoretical framework; conducting interviews with current and former policymakers; writing research papers about French military intervention decision making and the politics of multilateral intervention; presenting research results at academic conferences; planning and implementation of academic workshops; publishing research results in peer-reviewed academic journals; working on a book manuscript; establishing connections with scholars working on similar questions in Europe and North America; and disseminating results through various presentations and outreach activities.

The award of a Career Integration Grant (CIG) has allowed me to make significant progress on all these objectives, allowing me to: assimilate a large amount of relevant scholarly literature; develop an original theoretical framework; conduct dozens of interviews with current and former high-ranking French policy officials; write several papers on French military intervention decision making and multilateral intervention; publish several articles in peer-reviewed journals; establish connections with other scholars working in the field, including through a workshop and a conference that I organised; make significant progress on my book manuscript; and disseminate results through various conference presentations and outreach activities beyond academia. Over the duration of the grant, I have also made important contributions to knowledge exchange through my research, teaching, student supervisions, and organisation of various research seminars.

The award of a CIG has provided a significant boost to my career and has facilitated my successful integration into the scientific community of the European Research Area. I began my career as a Lecturer (assistant professor) at the University of Cambridge in 2012 on a contract with a five-year probation period, and my contract has now become permanent.

The impact of this project has been scientific, social, and political in nature. This has been achieved primarily through various conference presentations, peer-reviewed academic publications, and outreach activities. The published results will allow scholars, policymakers, and interested citizens to better understand the benefits of securing multilateral approval for military interventions in terms of status enhancement, but also in terms of international legitimation more generally. In addition, my research offers useful insights about France’s pivotal role in current EU policy making towards sub-Saharan Africa. My articles related to this project also provide policy-relevant analyses of the benefits of multilaterally approved interventions for international society more generally.