In a world characterized by shifts in global power, NATO’s partnerships–in Europe as well as elsewhere–are critical for the organization. Yet the question of how the Alliance’s global partners perceive NATO in the context of cooperative security, collective defence, and crisis management–including NATO’s goals, operational capacity, functional capability, and influence–remains impressionistic and under-addressed. This paper launches discussion about images and perceptions of NATO in the alliance’s five global partners in the Asia-Pacific (Australia, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea). It treats perceptions as key factors behind global expectations of NATO, and as a key cultural filter triggering a range of its partners’ reactions to NATO’s global initiatives. The paper sets out and explains the theoretical framework used for the Special Issue, Miskimmon et al.’s ‘strategic narrative’ theory, and explains how each of the articles respectively emphasize the formation, projection/communication and reception of NATO’s strategic narratives in the region. Contributions focus on external perceptions, images, and narratives of NATO after the end of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan, and post-Crimea, and are discussed in a post-US election context.
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