A New Strategic Concept for NATO?


NATO`s record on out-of-area problems has been problematic from the very beginning - I wrote on page 316 in my latest book. One way of dealing with such a problem is to delete it from the debate. It was the solution proposed by Ambassador Ivo Daalder, U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO, when he said: "In NATO we used to speak about `out of area` - that`s what was beyond Alliance territory - and `in area` - Alliance territory itself. Well, today out of area is in area. It`s the same thing." (Address to the Transatlantic Forum in Berlin on 1 July 2009).

Another solution was proposed by NATO`s new Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in his Address to the 2010 Munich Security Conference on 7 February 2010. Thd text of his address is attached as document to this news item. According to him: "Security today is about active engagement, possibly very far from our own borders." To carry out NATO`s job effectively today: "the Alliance should become the hub of a network of security partnerships and a centre for consultation on international security issues - even issues on which the Alliance might never take action." According to him the new Strategic Concept should reflect three objectives: "Succesfully completing our mission in Afghanistan; promoting a new compact between international institutions; and making the Alliance a clearing house for global security issues."

Not everybody agreed with his solution. German Defence Minister zu Guttenberg did not want to turn NATO into a global security agency. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lawrow, who also addressed the Conference, reminded the audience that Moscow`s thinking on security issues today is not too different from what it was in the early 1980`s. In his view European security has been seriously weakened "across all parameters"over the past twenty years, "because the choice was made in favor of the policy of NATO expansion".  

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Frans A.M. Alting von Geusau


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