Karsten Voigt, Coordinator of German-American Cooperation at the Federal Foreign Office, Berlin, has very kindly provided Atlantic Community with a copy of his article "Ten Theses on NATO in a Changed World." You can download the full text of the article as a PDF here.
Mr. Voigt makes a number of compelling suggestions and recommendations in his article, a selection of which have been listed below:
- Establish a new strategic concept.
A common political vision of the future of NATO is required together with establishing its role in addressing global and regional challenges and risks. In order to develop such a concept, institutional, procedural and technical matters must be taken into consideration. The new Obama administration may provide an impetus for such a move.
- Europe needs to be the equal of the US within NATO.
The US remains relevant to European security and foreign policy, whereas Europe's relevance to the US is becoming increasingly selective. The European allies will only be able to influence the US when the US feels it is relevant to the solution of specific issues. The issue of Europe being able to influence the US is more pertinent than it was prior to the end of the Cold War.
- Better determine where and when NATO becomes involved.
While NATO's values are global, the political, economic and military means for defending our interests are limited. Careful consideration must be given to future commitments, and NATO should not be driven by the desire of the US to commit to a particular engagement on its say so.
- Emphasize NATO's solidarity.
The historic context and geostrategic situation of some NATO members are still different to those of "older" Allies. The "newer" Allies must be reminded that NATO is focused on increasing levels of stability and security and will not sacrifice their security interests as part of a bigger plan, such as to increase cooperation with Russia, but rather increase stability in wider regions.
- Improve cooperative relationship with Russia.
A partnership with Russia will not be easy and they will often disagree with NATO's opinions and vice versa, in part due to their different view of the world. If a successful partnership can be forged, progress could be made on nuclear disarmament and arms control. Furthermore, NATO could become more effective in their policy towards Iran and Afghanistan if Russia supported their efforts.
We would like to invite you, our members, to comment on these proposals on the future of NATO and share your own policy recommendations on how NATO can face up to the global challenges in the years to come. For example, what are the most pressing challenges going to be and what can NATO do to ensure it is in the best possible position to effectively address these issues?
Views can be submitted as Your Opinion pieces, which should be 500-700 words in length and contain a strong thesis - including policy recommendations and well supported arguments. Alternatively, please add your comments to this article in response to Mr. Voigt's suggestions.
Karsten Voigt has been Coordinator for German-American Cooperation in the German Foreign Office since 1999. He has worked in the German Parliament since 1976, most notably as foreign affairs spokesman for the governing SPD party. Mr. Voigt is a member of the Atlantic Initiative Advisory Board.
Related materials from the Atlantic Community:
- Olaf Theiler: Cohesion Vital for NATO's Future
- Fabian Martin Lieschke: How to Extend NATO's MAP to Ukraine and Georgia
- Ira Louis Straus: A Bulgarian Should Head NATO