Wednesday, July 22, 2009
The Future of NATO?
Our host and moderator, James Joyner, noted that for the last forty years, we've had plenty of discussions about "NATO in crisis"? Is something different now?
A few selected points--and these are my interpretations of what I heard, not a transcript, so apologies in advance if I'm not conveying these points correctly:
James Poulos asked about the utility of the alliance to current U.S. policy goals. Is it more important to expand the alliance if that threatens or jeopardizes solidarity among current members?
Chris Brose asked what would be the implications of success in Afghanistan for NATO--wouldn't it just be perceived as NATO crossed the finish line because the U.S. carried the alliance on its shoulders? Perhaps, he suggested, the vision of NATO 2.0 [transformation of the alliance into a provider of global security "out of area"] is less likely now, but speculated whether the emergence of new threats to Europe (a resurgent Russia, the opening of the Arctic) might lead to a re-emergence of NATO 1.0?
Damon Wilson notes that there has always been deep strategic tensions within the trans-Atlantic alliance. With a new administration in office here that enjoys popularity in Europe, and the new secretary general of NATO initiating a process designed to produce a new strategic concept, there is a possibility to shape what the alliance might look like for the 21st century.
I argued that a possible NATO 3.0 that might emerge would be one in which the alliance serves as a toolbox for forming coalitions, with members picking and choosing what missions they will undertake, rather than being a single defense community. I also wonder whether the price for further expansion of the alliance will be to redefine what Article 5 means--redefining what constitutes an "attack" on a member state and what precisely other members are in fact obligated to do under Article 5--with perhaps a greater stress on joint consultations rather than guarantees of immediate action.
I also wonder whether the price for further expansion of the alliance will be to redefine
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