Mr. Downe is responding to Atlantic Memo 38.
Thank you for providing me with a copy of the policy memo "One NATO: Strengthening Unity through Transparency and Engagement". I read it with much interest.
Upon reflection, there are three policy recommendations in the memo that I agree with in particular:
Recommendation 1: Emphasize during the Chicago Summit and through other diplomatic efforts the security and economic benefits of the Alliance.
As a Canadian, I would be remiss to not point out the multilateralist tradition that has been a central tenet of Canadian foreign policy. While Canada has no official policy on multilateralism, our membership in myriad international organizations – particularly NATO – reflects the significance of multilateralism as a guiding principle and operational strategy in the conduct of Canadian foreign policy across a spectrum of policy issues in the political, economic, and security arenas.
In light of this multilateralist tradition, and other factors such as Canada’s relative power status in the international system, I believe Canada’s continued participation in NATO fulfills a number of important objectives, and has widespread benefit that extends beyond just the security and economic sectors.
Recommendation 2: Bring soldiers of all ranks together to work and train in a multinational environment, immersed into the society and culture of Allied countries.
I am supportive of this policy recommendation for the simple reason that in my own work as a Canadian Parliamentarian, I have benefited greatly from the opportunity to meet, engage in a dialogue with, and exchange ideas with other politicians and elected officials from around the world in face-to-face encounters. I can only assume that providing NATO forces – drawn from member countries across the North Atlantic community – with similar opportunities to interact and learn from one another would be equally valuable.
Recommendation 3: Emphasize the role that all Members must play in securing cyberspace and the Alliance’s responsibility as a whole in promoting cyber-security amongst its citizens.
While cyber-security is discussed most often in terms of preventing cyber-attacks on critical cyber-infrastructure, another equally important, but less frequently mentioned, component of securing cyberspace is the importance of Internet freedom. The Internet has proven to be a major force for human rights and democracy around the world – values that all NATO Members hold in high regard. Conversations concerning the Alliance’s responsibilities should not be limited to just cyber-security amongst our citizens, but consider the need to promote and protect human rights around the world. NATO Members are well positioned to implement an Internet freedom agenda as we have a strong international reputation for promoting democratic development and good governance in emerging democracies.
Again, thank you for taking the time to send me the policy memo, and your interest in my feedback. I wish you and your organization the very best. May you continue to produce insightful work that is to the benefit of NATO and its Member Countries.
Percy Downe is a Member of the Senate of Canada and is Vice Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
Photo credit: Jean-Marc Carisse