HIS42850 NATO: Bosnia to Afghanistan

Academic Year 2022/2023

At the end of the Cold War the purpose of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military alliance was unclear. It had been designed for major inter-state conflict, principally with the Soviet Union. US Senator Richard Lugar urged NATO to become more expeditionary and to conduct peace enforcement or stabilisation operations outside Europe – to go “out of area or out of business”. During the subsequent three decades NATO went to war four times, in the Balkans in response to conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo, in Afghanistan and in Libya. The first three operations involved the sustained use of ground forces. This module traces NATO’s involvement in intra-state conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan, from war-fighting to stabilisation to security sector reform. It especially focuses on NATO militaries’ relationships with local political power-brokers, including paramilitaries and militia in the aftermath of initial combat operations. The module draws on literatures on stabilisation, civil wars, insurgencies and paramilitarism, analysing NATO’s successes, failures, and questionable legacies.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1) Understand the history of NATO’s post-Cold War operations, including successes and failures;
2) Comprehend key theories on stabilisation, civil wars and paramilitarism;
3) Analyse and interpret relevant primary sources.

Indicative Module Content:

This module will address the following topics: 1) The history of NATO in the post-Cold War era; 2) theories and practice in stabilisation and peace enforcement; 3) theories and experiences of paramilitarism during civil wars / peace support operations.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module is taught through weekly seminars, for which students prepare in advance by reading key texts. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Project: Research paper, approx. 5,000 words, see handbook for more details. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Assignment: See handbook for more details. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Participation in seminar discussions. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.