Compromise over consistency The Dutch strategic narrative surrounding the peacekeeping mission in Mali
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The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in somewhat of a revival of academic interest in the relationship between foreign policy and public support. The strategic narratives articulated by governments has been identified by a number of scholars as a determinative factor in shaping and maintaining popular support for international military missions. But this conclusion did come with an acknowledgement that governments in parliamentary democracies may be limited in forming and articulating strong strategic narratives. So far, no case study has been done to show how exactly governments in parliamentary democracies are limited. This paper will investigate how the Dutch government constructed their strategic narrative during the political decision making process on a military contribution to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, and how this narrative was received by Parliament. This will lead to the conclusion that the historical, societal and political context of the Netherlands made a strong strategic narrative not only infeasible, but counter-productive.