After the collapse of the Soviet Union, which was the main enemy uniting NATO, the alliance focused on transforming and adapting to the new challenges of the new world .One of the essential points became the different vision of security and defense systems between the USA and the European NATO members. Shifting the USA interests from Europe to Asia, unwillingness of European allies to invest money in new operations and distinguishing the visions of conflict resolution have caused the policy makers from both sides to rethink the values of the alliance.
There is no homogenous "European identity" and the most recent operation in Libya provides the best example of that. While Germany abstained from voting on the UN Security Resolution on Libya, France supported military action strongly opposing NATO commands, and the UK advocated a NATO command against the Qaddafi regime. Similarly, attempts by EU NATO members to establish their own security policy, in the European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI), faced the unwillingness of members to invest money on security issues, and the opposition of the USA.
The confidence-building in the transatlantic region should consist of versatile work, and multilateral strategies which include cooperation not only in security but also economic and diplomatic issues and the recommendations below should be taken into consideration.
Firstly, the allies should set the goals that they are going to achieve in next five years at the upcoming Chicago Summit. Should the NATO be more involved in world security or should it be focused on defense of member-states? The allies should not only find, but also set common points on the foreign relations politics particularly with non-NATO members. The discussion and creation of short term mutual goals will help the allies to promote a compatible foreign policy. Although there are lots of differences among member-states, they all are bound to the same values of democracy, a common heritage, individual liberty and the rule of law.
Second, the allies should create a special commission within NATO Defense and Security Economics section on economical revival and financial security. The allies should also set a common strategy on the NATO budget expenses.
The special commission should implement two main tasks:
- To seek a way to revitalize the economy by mutual efforts
- To examine the defense budget of each state member and how much money they are going to allocate to the NATO programs.
The economic crisis has hit both the USA and Europe. Thus, the main aim should be to find the solution from the crisis, to define the budget of alliance, and somehow to share the contribution of the allies. The commission should define how much money each member-state is should allocate for its security system and alliance. Reinforcement of financial security, collaboration of the USA and Europe on the current economic crisis, and, as a consequence, forming common strategy on economic revival will help to increase rapprochement between member-states.
Thirdly, the Public Diplomacy Division should work out more strategical approach to public diplomacy targeted the public of the member-states. Although it made a huge contribution on public diplomacy and in particular with NATO's partner countries, the department should organize more projects among member-state countries. New projects on focusing on transatlantic common values should unite the European and American points of view on necessity of the alliance.
It's important not to forget that the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization is an alliance of sovereign states based on cooperation. Thus, "we" and "they" differences are never going to be eliminated completely; however, deep collaboration can build "a sense of trust and overcome mistrust" among member states, as the USA State Secretary Hillary Clinton said.
Nargiz Guliyeva is a Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Eurasia and Central Asia fellow in BA International Studies program in Graceland University