Atlantic-community.org invites participants in the "Your Ideas Your NATO" competition to formulate those foreign policy ideas which NATO needs in order to thrive in a new age. The issues involved in such a discussion are complex, so here we have covered the main arguments in each category and provided sources for further reading. Of course, these sources are only a beginning; many more sources are available. Follow us on Twitter for regular updates on other resources related to NATO and the competition.
Values and Community
The end of the Cold War left NATO struggling to find its purpose. Does the Alliance represent an actual bond between members or merely a defensive military organization? This question speaks directly to the values and community of the Alliance.
A true community identified as NATO, and sharing the same values, could set a strategic agenda and evolve as needed. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has stressed the ability to adapt in a changing world
Either NATO becomes a community of 'we' or is a distant organization composed of the 'other'. The question is how exactly to build such a community with shared values. Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger notes in a recent Transatlantic Academy paper that NATO faces domestic and international obstacles such as budgetary constraints and an emerging China. The question is how to revive and strengthen commitment to the Alliance in a new era.
For further reading on Values and Community see:
- Robert Haddick, This Week at War: What is NATO Good For? Foreign Policy (3 February 2012)
- Chicago Summit agenda and impact of the US shift towards Asia
- Atlantic-community.org, US and Europe: A Widening Atlantic? (29 September 2011)
- Jamie Shea, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, and Josef Janning, Director of Studies at the European Policy Centre, discuss a changing transatlantic alliance
- Munich Security Conference 2012, Statements: 'Building a Euro-Atlantic Security Community' (3 February 2012)
- Statements from German Minister of Foreign Affairs Guido Westerwelle, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on the state of transatlantic relations
Partnerships after the Arab Spring
The Arab Spring brought with it fundamental political change in the Middle East. The question is how NATO should address these changes and support the long-term transition in the region. NATO already has political dialogues with the region through the Mediterranean Dialogue (with Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia) and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates).
According to Karl-Heinz Kamp, Research Director of the NATO Defense College, these partnerships in the past have been predicated on realpolitik. In a briefing paper for NATO Watch, Martin Smith and Ian Davis have pointed out that NATO's partnerships in the region have lacked transparency and not focused on the interests of NATO partners. In this same vein, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has emphasized the need to elevate NATO's partnerships in the region in order to discuss common security concerns and develop mutual trust, while also emphasizing fundamental values such as democracy and human rights.
For further reading on Partnerships after the Arab Spring see:
- Heidi Reisinger, Rearranging Family Life and a Large Circle of Friends: Reforming NATO's Partnership Programmes NATO Defense College (January 2012)
- Overall look at NATO's partnerships and its recent reform of partnership policy
- Isabelle Francois, NATO Partnerships and the Arab Spring: Achievements and Perspectives for the 2012 Chicago Summit Institute for National Strategic Studies (December 2011)
- Highlights the "streamlining" of NATO partnerships in early 2011 and the challenges in further developing NATO partnerships
- Isabelle Francois, NATO and the Arab Spring Institute for National Strategic Studies (October 2011)
- Discusses the meaning of Libya for the Alliance and how NATO should prepare strategy on Libya in context of the Chicago Summit
As formulated by Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Smart Defense refers to ways in which NATO nations can generate security with fewer resources through greater coordination and coherence:
Despite the imperative for Smart Defense, James Blitz lists three reasons why smart defense will be difficult to implement:
- Leaders do not wish to focus on defense at the moment due to the economic situation.
- Governments only share capabilities when they trust each other.
- Nations do not wish to give up control of their own military-industrial complex.
These concerns about sovereignty must be addressed before any true progress is made in fostering effective defense cooperation. And then NATO must address the problem of implementation. Some success has already been achieved. For example, NATO plans to purchase spy drones, allowing the Alliance capabilities once only possessed by the US.
For further reading on Smart Defense see:
- Craig Whitlock, NATO allies grapple with shrinking defense budgets The Washington Post (30 January 2012)
- NATO could face a sustained weakening in the face of falling military budgets
- Hans Binnendijk, A Leaner NATO Needs a Tighter Focus Atlantic Council (3 February 2012)
- There is a risk that Europe will not be able to cover its NATO commitments and US will be unable to bridge the gap
- Atlantic-community.org, General Stéphane Abrial's Answers: Part 1, Smart Defense (6 December 2011)
- Answers from NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Transformation to questions about the ideas, implementation, and transparancy of the Smart Defense initiative
Moreover, check out Chicago Summit Preview: NATO Sharpens Its Focus by atlantic-community.org editor Mathew Shearman.
Joshua Clapp is an editor of atlantic-community.org. Joshua studied Political Science (BA) at St. Olaf College in the United States and European Studies (MA) at the University of Bath in England and Humboldt University in Germany.