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War with the Terrorists, or Rebuilding a Nation in Need?: Dutch Public Opinion on Afghanistan: the Theory of the Principal Policy Objective Revisited
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government. Försvarshögskolan.
2016 (English)In: Res Militaris, E-ISSN 2265-6294, Vol. 6, no 3Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article points to the need for a more complex understanding of the public's perception of the Principal Policy Objective (PPO) when it comes to citizens' attitudes toward foreign military interventions. In contrast to previous research, where one PPO has been linked to support either by experimental standards or survey practicality, this article uses a survey and a method which allow the analysis to account for conflicting PPOs and leaves the interpretation of the PPO to the individual respondent, increasing the validity of the results. This is done using a dataset based on a monthly survey, conducted during the Dutch military involvement in the Afghan province of Uruzgan (2006-2010), in which questions on support and perceptions of two PPO are separated in the questionnaire permitting a separation of two different PPO measurements on each value of public support. In the Dutch case two PPOs stand out as dominating the public discourse : War on Terror and the Reconstruction of Afghanistan. Both are included in the survey. Based on an OLS regression analysis, this article draws the conclusion that there is a significant relationship between each of the PPOs separately and public support, even when controlled for each other. Previous research has pointed to a dominating PPO that guides attitude behaviour ; however, this article finds instead that several PPOs could be driving support simultaneously and that each has a significant relationship to public support independent of one another. This article offers some possible theoretical insights as to how but additional research is necessary to further investigate how several perceptions of PPO relate to each other during the formation of attitudes amongst the citizenry.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 6, no 3
Keyword [en]
Use of military force ; Principal Policy Objective ; public opinion ; survey ; Netherlands ; Afghanistan ; Uruzgan ; ISAF.
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-311146OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-311146DiVA: diva2:1058839
Available from: 2016-12-21 Created: 2016-12-21 Last updated: 2017-01-03Bibliographically approved

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