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Fighting the War at Home: Strategic Narratives, Elite Responsiveness, and the Dutch Mission in Afghanistan
Foreign Policy Analysis (2016)
  • George Dimitriu
  • Beatrice de Graaf
Abstract
This paper analyzes the Dutch deployment in Uruzgan between 2006 and 2010 with an eye to the challenge of garnering public support for protracted military missions abroad. The hypothesis is that public support can be shaped and sustained by strategic narratives regarding the use of force. Ringsmose and Børgesen's model on strategic narratives is discussed and tested, and expanded in two ways. First, by including the role of “counternarratives,” that is, of narratives presented by factions that oppose deployment decisions. Our data suggest that narrative dominance (the combination of narratives and counternarratives) accounts for the waxing and waning of public support for a given mission. Second, the nexus between negative narrative dominance and the ensuing drop of public consent will be teased out. Using the notion of “elite responsiveness,” we demonstrate when and how weak strategic narratives trigger a political fallout.
Keywords
  • strategic narratives,
  • COIN,
  • counterinsurgency,
  • Afghanistan,
  • Netherlands,
  • counternarratives,
  • public opinion,
  • military,
  • war
Publication Date
Winter January 1, 2016
Citation Information
George Dimitriu and Beatrice de Graaf. "Fighting the War at Home: Strategic Narratives, Elite Responsiveness, and the Dutch Mission in Afghanistan" Foreign Policy Analysis Vol. 12 Iss. 1 (2016) p. 2 - 23
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/george_dimitriu/13/