The mission of atlantic-community.org is to broaden the foreign policy debate, give a voice to a new generation of thinkers and to contribute to a more diverse transatlantic strategic community. Since women are still underrepresented in positions of power and political leadership, a key part of this mission is providing publishing and networking opportunities to encourage more young women to share their own ideas on international security issues with senior experts.
Therefore we have organized the op-ed competition "Women on Transatlantic Security" sponsored by the United States Mission to NATO and the NATO Public Diplomacy Division.
Submissions have included a wide range of topics related to transatlantic security, with authors from NATO members and partner countries.
Below are some of the many submissions from the competition. We encourage you to read and comment on the work of our female members.
This page will be updated as we publish more of these great op-eds throughout March and April.
Memo 30: Arab Spring: The West's Chance for a Fresh Start
Focusing on societal engagement, economic reform, and military confidence building, we should break with our questionable past and respond to the Arab uprisings by taking bold action to improve our reputation.
Memo 31: How to Invest in Afghanistan's Long-Term Stability
The West should secure a positive legacy to its Afghanistan mission before the transition of responsibility in 2014 by strengthening the rule of law, promoting female education, smarter energy solutions and solidifying Afghan sovereignty.
Memo 32: Women: The Key to Conflict Resolution
NATO member states must integrate a gender perspective in agreements which establish the foundations for stable peace, as envisaged in UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325.
Basia A Bubel: Promoting Women's Education
The education of Afghan women should become the central focus of US policy in the region. Increased female education in Afghanistan will create sustainable and long-term stability and development.
Eva Gross: Making the Transition Sustainable
Afghanistan and the international community need a civilian and a political strategy to ensure the sustainability of transition. But for that to happen, the planning and implementation of such a strategy has to start - now.
Amela C. Kraja: Countering Insurgency by Countering Narcotics
The security strategy in Afghanistan must increase counter-narcotics efforts and focus on reducing the financial means of development for the drug trade and the roots of the insurgency movement. It is crucial that the international community improve on the slow progress of the last decade.
Rachel A. Posner: Energy: NATO’s Tool for Success
A collaborative, strategic approach to energy will provide NATO the means for success in Afghanistan. A NATO-wide energy initiative can fundamentally enhance mission effectiveness at multiple levels, from overcoming enemy insurgents to improving human development for local communities.
Elizabeth Royall: Afghanistan: Rules of Disengagement
President Barack Obama and the NATO community must strengthen their resolve to South Asia and communicate their commitment to Afghanistan and its neighbors; otherwise, the regional players will continue to hedge their bets and problems will remain intractable. Guarantees on short term policy in Afghanistan need to be given to ensure future stability.
Ana Isabel Alves: Opportunities in North Africa
Today, millions of citizens in Egypt believe in a better future and are willing to die for it. We, Western citizens, cherish and support them - at least, in theory. But, are we really thinking about it? Do we provide effective support for democratization?
An Denise Jacobs: The EU's Interventionist Discourse is Hollow
Developments in the METAL states (Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya) have shown that the EU’s ability to act has changed little – if anything – since the Yugoslav wars. The EU is smothered by incapacity, indecision, and fragmentation. Upcoming EU summits will fail because Europe is still lacking any political imagination as to what must really be done.
Gillian Kennedy: Egypt's Revolution is Europe's Reawakening
As the revolution rapidly unfolds in Egypt, many are looking to the United States to take the lead on the international diplomatic response. Europe, however, unlike the US, has more to gain and is better suited to take advantage of this opportunity, to actively promote democratization in Egypt.
Alexandra Lewis: Stabilizing Yemen
While Yemen is often associated with only terrorism and al Qaeda, its extensive troubles are largely the result of a weak economy and state. The key to overcoming the political and economic instabilities lies, not only in traditional humanitarian and development aid but in establishing a sense of legitimacy between the government and the people.
Anna Adeola Makanju: From Moscow to Cairo
Those who want to see democracy flourish in the Middle East must learn the lessons of the post-communist transition and make civil society engagement and support a priority. While working to address the short term needs of the region, strategies should be in place for a lasting resolution.
Ece Ozkan: Middle East and North Africa: The Energy Security Aspect
The uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa are challenging not only the authoritative regimes of the region, but also the energy security of the world. States need to be aware of the major implications that regime change can have on energy supplies and markets, vital to the region and the world.
Ece Ozkan: Why Morocco Won't Go the Way of Egypt
Even if the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia spark a domino effect throughout the Middle East and North Africa, Morocco won't be one of the countries affected. There is little appetite for deposing its current monarch and the youth is not as politicized as elsewhere in the region.
Sarah Redohl: A Choice Between Reform and Stability
In the wake of uprisings in North Africa, NATO may be forced to make a choice between much-needed reform or stable dictatorships. With a hefty aim to be the world guarantor of security by 2020, NATO will need to reconsider its newest partnerships, beyond the interest of its allies, and start guaranteeing actual security.
Heidi S Rosbe: Where Will the Women be Post-Revolution?
While women's participation in the Arab-world protests has not gone unnoticed by mainstream media, the angle taken has further marginalized their roles. Women's sidelined roles have not been explored as are voices calling for women to step into leadership roles.
Donatella Scatamacchia: How NATO Can Help in the Maghreb
Given the growing political crises in Maghreb countries, the existing Mediterranean Dialogue with NATO could be utilized as a framework for supporting a political transition. For the time being NATO should reinforce its military cooperation to ensure maritime security.
ARAB-ISRAELI PEACE PROCESS
Manuela Paraipan: Rethink Strategy, Engage Hamas
It is in the interest of the Occident to build relationships with key local players that have earned the support of their respective populations through an internationally sanctioned process.
Lea Landman: How NATO Can Foster the Arab-Israeli Peace Process
An Arab-Israeli peace agreement has clear parameters. The parties cannot reach a settlement because the process is lacking choreographed encouragement from external actors such as the US, NATO and the EU.
Rebecca Gerome: Limit Arms Exports to Reduce Violence Against Women
The availability of small arms increases sexual violence against women. Therefore, gender based violence needs to be central to international discussions on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), and states must act to end impunity for armed violence against women.
Katja Kruse: The EU, the US and the Pursuit of the 'Good World'
EU and US arms export strategies leave them bound to regimes whose domestic practices and policies are questionable. This suggests that international norms such as democracy and human rights do not count as much as economic interests
Lilianne Christina Steele: Limiting Arms Sales
A defense industry is imperative to every nation; however steps need to be taken to protect civilians who consistently become collateral damage in this corrupt and unstable industry. Changes need to ensure that nations no longer use arms sales to manipulate foreign policy agendas.
Shubha Jaishankar: Climate Change is Everyman's Problem
While deniers cite that climate change is only a rich man's problem, however, the issue transcends class. Both the rich and the poor, and the believers and the skeptics, will benefit from the job creation and economic boosts of promoting green technology.
Roni Kay Marie O'Dell: NATO Change to Address Climate Change
NATO must be concerned with current and future adverse effects of climate change as a major unconventional security threat. In order to address the threat, NATO's interests and identity must shift in three key areas: client focus, core mission, and strategies and activities.
Sarah Drexler: Cultural Diplomacy Will Hold Us Together
With the end of the Cold War and the fall of the communist block the world lost its bipolar structure. In order to push for the solution of problems that we face altogether and receive the co-operation we want, we need to foster and (re-)build sustainable alliances and subsequently maintain them.
Kathrin Klein: The Backbone of International Relations
Those of us who work in international education should make their voices heard much better in the political debate. After all, we who know one thing for sure: International relations is not about who is right or wrong. It is about having an open mindset. A mindset that embraces change.
Halley Mallama Aelion: Smart Grid Security: A Transatlantic Responsibility
The transatlantic community cannot afford to be dumb about the smart grid. In our globalized world, smart grid technology - "master" digital, communications and energy networks - provides both opportunity and risk. The transatlantic partners need to learn from the Stuxnet incident and deal with cyber security as an international, rather than domestic issue.
Nina-Birke Glonnegger: The Pitfalls of Suspending Conscription
In its most ambitious military reform of all time, Germany has decided to suspend conscription this July in favor of an all-volunteer force. With this step, Germany is on a path familiar to many other NATO member states.
Leah McFarland: Targeting the Gap Between Rich and Poor
Today’s fundamental global challenge is the rising discontent of poor countries, and thus ameliorating this imbalance with rich states should be a top goal of the transatlantic community. Yet this will require leadership by western, wealthy states currently benefiting from major inequalities.
Julia Follick: A Migrant's Bill of Rights
Increasing foreign populations in Europe and North America should not be an overlooked social problem. The solution to the radicalization of migrants is clearer international law, specifically a migrant’s bill of rights, emphasizing uniform rights and promoting fairer treatment.
Ottilie Kate Grisdale: Radical Rhetoric: Threat of Muslim Integration Dialogues
National dialogues on Muslim integration have recently become inflamed and thus are a growing security issue requiring an international approach. The media can help play a role in improved discussions, but monitoring radical discourse is ultimately the responsibility of all citizens.
Soyen Park: Real Integration Required in Immigration Policy
Fear of immigrants largely based on false, politically motivated security arguments, including physical and economic security, serve only to play upon the prejudices of citizens. But integration and a focus on realistic, necessary immigration policies will help lead to internal political stability
IRANIAN NUCLEAR TALKS
Aniseh Bassiri: Transatlantic Deadlock: Iranian Nuclear Talks
Almost ten years after the Iranian nuclear issue first emerged, the EU and the US are still struggling to find appropriate means to confront the nuclear aspirations of the Islamic Republic. Alternatives to the failing double track approach of transatlantic sanctions and engagement have to be found.
Gerlinde Gerber: Earthquakes: Iran Not Safe for Nuclear Energy
Following the catastrophe in Fukushima it is time to add a new dimension to the already controversial discussion about the Iranian nuclear program. This should serve as further push for the international community to strengthen its efforts to halt Iranian nuclear development.
Angelina Harutyunyan: Avoiding Pariah States
Although many efforts have been made by the international community to suspend Iran’s nuclear activities, their achievements continue. A more successful policy would remove all sanctions, and fully engage Iran in international and regional trade, thus requiring Iran to be more transparent and to act according to international legal trade rules.
Sebnem Udum: Stuck in the Middle: Turkey and US-Iran Relations
While the US and Turkey share an important strategic partnership as NATO allies, they need to understand each other's perceptions of the Iran nuclear issue, or this will hinder any resolution. Increased US-Turkish interaction, to bridge this perception gap and mutual awareness of the positions of both states, should be a first step in a diplomatic resolution.
Line Holmung: Our Responsibility to Protect?
Faced with mass violence in Libya, there is an urgent need for the international community to clarify the meaning of the "international responsibility to protect." Despite UN action, it remains unclear who will carry the actual international burden.
Celine Touboul: Should NATO Engage in Libya?
Before deciding on whether to engage militarily in Libya, NATO should define the strategic objective of such mission, as they may not be consistent with the purpose of the organization. It should also carefully weigh the risks of escalation and failure of such intervention.
Gvantsa Kvinikadze: NATO Challenges and Opportunities in Libya
This major threat to international security in Libya may provide NATO with a chance to utilize the strong, detailed words of the new Strategic Concept. NATO, the UN and regional bodies need to react, and effectively deal with the situation threatening the Libyan people.
Bailey H. Culp: China's North Korea Gamble
Despite persistent pleas by the transatlantic community, Beijing will likely choose to do little to change the belligerent behavior of North Korea, instead preserving its own long-term economic, security, and geopolitical interests.
PRIVATIZATION OF SECURITY
Annina Cristina Buergin: Outsourcing Security: A New Response to Piracy
The growing threat of piracy has prompted some nations to hire private security forces to replace military personnel for vessel protection. While this may assist limited military forces, security should not become a private good and many unresolved problems remain with outsourcing international security.
Caroline Varin: The Disappearing State
The uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa have highlighted the power of the masses against regimes that have failed to deliver essential public services. Yet instead of looking on in the West, people there should look at how their state is also failing to provide with privatization.
Claudia Bernasconi: Does NATO Fit in the Fight against Terrorism?
NATO's success in combating terrorism thus far should not be overstated. Given the asymmetric nature of terrorism, a major military alliance focused on state based conflict may not be suited for this particular threat to international security.
Eva Maria Krockow: Targeting Religious Extremism in Pakistan
The EU and US urgently need to shift their focus to terrorist threats in Baluchistan, the volatile Pakistani province bordering Afghanistan. Targeted sanctions will help to support the secular population against Islamabad's clandestine radicalization policies.
Victoria Naselskaya: Terrorism and Counter-terrorism: Mind the Gap
As history has shown, national security cannot be achieved by limiting minority rights and invoking terrorist tactics, as this serves to undermine people’s trust in the rule of law. Chechnya provides a useful example of how the use of counter-terrorism tactics accomplishes little more than civilian casualties or exacerbates the problem.
Marketa Reichert Phares: US-Europe Consensus on Hezbollah Status Finally in Sight
For the past three decades, the United States and Europe have had different policies in place toward Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based Shiite Jihadi organization. The currently operational UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon may lead to a surprising breakthrough in transatlantic relations on this issue.
Dara Stofenberg: Cooperating for Our Security
A lack of information sharing in the transatlantic community is increasingly putting us at risk for future terrorist attacks.
Ebba Wiberg: European Naivety or American Paranoia?
Security threats are only as big as we make them. The counter-terrorism cooperation between the US and the European states suffer from the difference in attitude from the two sides of the Atlantic. This op-ed addresses whether it is better to be paranoid or naïve.
Siri Bjorntvedt: Georgia on Our Minds? Why NATO Should Offer Membership
By offering conditional membership to Georgia, NATO will help to stabilize the region and improve the democratic credentials of both partners. This will also help Georgia improve its relations with Russia, subsequently making another war much less likely.
Mai'a K. Davis Cross: Transatlantic Misperceptions: American Views of Europe
In this multi-polar world, with rising and often unpredictable powers, the EU and the US must continue to work together to have a global impact and promote their shared values. This relationship will only be strengthened, if Americans overcome their misconceptions about a weak Europe.
Alexandra Jonas: Mind the Process
Policymakers should take a closer look at the drafting process of developing NATO's strategic concept. Introducing transparency, communication and consensus building into drafting strategy will only serve to create more credible and effective policy.
Karolina MacLachlan: Implementing the NATO Strategic Concept
Rather than resting on laurels after adopting its 2010 Security Concept, NATO now needs to turn to how to best implement it. In the field of crisis management, the creation of a civilian interface capability deserves specific attention when putting the concept into action.
Julia Ulrike Schramm: Re-legitimizing NATO
NATO needs renewed legitimacy in order to face emerging global threats and problems. This will require a complete restructuring, and new treaty, but also the cooperation of BRIC and other states will be necessary to create a more effective organization.
Aigerim Shilibekova: Is it Smart to be Friends With NATO?
In order to build more constructive cooperation with Central Asia, NATO must understand the perceptions from the region. NATO can implement efficient soft power policies, but any coordination needs to benefit both sides.
Zsófia Farkas: Fear of Washington: Turkey's New Axis
Turkey is one of the most dynamic, rising countries of the world. The US and NATO should keep this in mind and offer more promising opportunities to Turkey in order to retain their loyal ally.
Efsun Kizmaz: Tiger in a Cage: Turkey's New Foreign Policy
NATO should support Turkey, not punish it, if it hopes to strengthen its position with the government and the public. Turkey’s geopolitical position, cultural affinity with the Middle East, its economic accomplishments and its youthful population are all important assets to the West, who should back Turkey before it is too late.
Elizabeth Zolotukhina: The US and Russia: The Tango Continues
Whether the triumphant ratification of the New START Treaty will mark a change of style or substance in the US-Russian relationship remains to be seen as the most difficult negotiations lie ahead. Yet it is clear what the source of the next challenge for the two allies will be.
WOMAN AND SECURITY
Nicola Blackwood: UN Women: Remedy or Panacea
With women's participation in countries now hanging in the balance - Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya - to name a few, the issue must not be allowed to fall back off the security agenda at the Council. If UN Women can overcome the many challenges it faces, it could be the hopeful turning point in the fight against gender inequalities so entrenched in conflict scenarios
Melissa J.L. Crawford: To Protect and Serve: Women in Security Forces
In order to curtail the rising amount of female suicide bombers in Middle Eastern countries undergoing conflict, there must be an increase in the amount of females serving within military and police forces. This will undoubtedly contribute to the safety of the region and bolster the status of women around the world.
Elizabeth Anne Johnson: Recognizing Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War is Not Enough
While the international community has begun to recognize the use of sexual violence as a targeted war strategy, current policies to deal with the issue remain ineffective. Instead, academics, practitioners and experts must take into account the diverse experiences of men and women, and work to understand why both are victimized sexually during warfare.
The Broken Promise of UN Security Council Resolution 1325
What’s next in the realm of Women, Peace and Security at the UN? How Resolution 1325 has become a paper tiger that repeats already internationally agreed standards and has lost the attribute that made it a breakthrough, namely its provocativeness.
Natasha L Lamoreux: Resolution 1325: From Rhetoric to Action
The most expedient way to engage more women at all levels of transnational and transatlantic security efforts, as well as to ensure the safety and security of women in post-conflict, is to move Resolution 1325 from rhetoric to action by enacting a quota-system during conflict resolution processes.
Donna M. McAleer: Reshaping Pentagon Leadership
NATO and the US limit women’s involvement in top ranking military positions, but both would benefit from abolishing discriminatory rules. Including more experienced women can provide fresh thinking on waging war, creating peace and influencing international security.
Svenja Post: Dis-Embedding Feminism
Why women’s rights do not qualify for justifying military intervention and why a strong political will that starts at home will be more effective.
L. Salich & I. Maras: Ten Years After UN R1325, A Neat Revolution in Search of Warriors
The commemoration of UN Resolution 1325 represents an opportunity to look back and forward by building on the cumulative experiences and lessons learned in view of openly addressing the gaps that are impeding any significant progress it can and should make.
Nukhet Ahu Sandal: Active Women, Modern Defense: Towards a 50:50 Principle
Women can find their voice in defense policies and security matters. They simply need a way in. By actively promoting the recruitment of women to military positions, we can achieve gender equality in modern defense.
Dominique Alexandra Shure: Microfinance, Security, and Women: The Missing Link
Extremism will continue to provide an attractive alternative to destitution if the economic situation of ordinary people is ignored in NATO operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Micro-financing can provide a low cost, effective alternative to pure military engagement with long term benefits, at the same time allowing the engagement of women in economy and politics.
Sarah Williamson: High Expectations for US Plan for 1325
Ten years after the UN Security Council passed the landmark Resolution 1325 encouraging greater participation of women in peace and security, the United States is developing a National Action Plan to implement the Resolution across the government.
Beata Zpevakova: The Role of Women's Empowerment in Post-Conflict Reconstruction
Despite the development in research and practice towards the acknowledgement of the roles of women after conflicts, post-conflict strategies are still gender-blind. Women need to play a role in post conflict reconstructions.
International Women's Day and UN Resolution 1325
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton marked the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day with an op-ed: "Women’s Work-More, Earn-Less Plan Hurts" She also hosts the International Women of Courage Awards Ceremony with special guest First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday, March 8, 2011.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen: "Would a world in which women enjoyed rights equal to those of men be safer and more stable? It is difficult to say, but ultimately a lasting peace in many of the world’s most troubled areas may depend upon the answer."
More information about NATO’s implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 in the web module Women, Peace and Security
This resolution recognizes the disproportionate impact that war and conflicts have on women and children, and highlights the fact that women have been historically left out of peace processes and stabilization efforts. It calls for full and equal participation of women at all levels in issues ranging from early conflict prevention to post-conflict reconstruction, peace and security.
Last year, atlantic-community.org published the op-ed "NATO's Women" by Dr. Stefanie Babst, Acting Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy.
In addition, there is the Natochannel.tv series "Empowering women"
This competition is sponsored by the
More information about the competition "Women on Transatlantic Security" here.
Photo: NATO Youth Forum (c) NATO