NATO: “Enlargement? Georgia? Really?”

On 17 May, the Group of Experts appointed by Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to lay the groundwork for a new Strategic Concept for NATO presented its analysis and recommendations to the North Atlantic Council (NAC). The draft document says NATO for the first time must be ready for counter-insurgencies outside the territory of its 28 member-states.

NATO must win the war in Afghanistan, expand ties with Russia, counter the threat posed by Iran’s missiles, and assure the security of its 28 members, according to its new mission statement for the next decade. Not much is said about enlargement and Georgia-Ukraine. Although the report reiterates Nato’s “open door” policy, it says only that the allies “should make regular use of the Nato-Ukraine and Nato-Georgia commissions to discuss mutual security concerns and to foster practical co-operation”.

One of the major failures of NATO’s partnership structure was the 2008 conflict between Russia and Georgia, in which two Alliance partners engaged in hostilities over issues that remain unresolved.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will use the recommendations from the experts to draft a new Strategic Concept, or mission statement, for approval by leaders of NATO states at a summit in Lisbon in November.

You can download the full report here: nato report

Maintaining the Open Door. Since the end of the Cold War, NATO’s membership has expanded from sixteen members to twenty-eight. This open door policy has been an engine of progress towards a Europe whole and free and has contributed much to the collective security of Alliance members. Further enlargement has been under consideration in the western Balkans and with respect to Georgia and Ukraine. Consistent with Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty and the principles for enlargement, the process for states that have expressed their desire for membership should move forward as each state fulfils the requirements for membership. It should go without saying that NATO is an entirely voluntary organisation.

Reccomendations for further cooperation with Georgia and Ukraine:

1.    The Allies should make regular use of the NATO-Ukraine and NATO-Georgia commissions to discuss mutual security concerns and to foster practical cooperation, including on defence reforms. The clearer NATO articulates its position to the partners and the more accurately it can assess their perceptions, the more adept the Allies will be at defusing crises and building trust.

2.    The Allies should also employ NATO’s crisis management mechanisms, in association with the partnership commissions, to assess and monitor security developments affecting these two countries.

NATO states must reverse a steep decline in defense spending despite economic constraints if the alliance is to meet the security threats it faces. Experts said only six of NATO’s 26 European members were meeting their defense spending target of two percent of GDP.

In the coming decade, NATO would not only have to meet its main goal of collective defense of its 28 members, but deploy forces further afield and guard against unconventional threats such as terrorism and cyber attack, the experts said. Secretary Albright explained the report’s two underlying conclusions: “First, the Alliance has an ongoing duty to guarantee the safety and security of its members. Second, it can achieve that objective only if it engages dynamically with countries and organizations that are outside its boundaries.”

The previous strategic concept focused mainly on NATO’s peacekeeping role in places like Bosnia and Kosovo. It was adopted in 1999, soon after the end of the Cold War and before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States forced the alliance to take on missions such as counterinsurgency warfare in Afghanistan.

Reading the following quotation I finally got to believe that NATO isn’t convinced enough and determined enough to confront Russia and not make compromises over the sovereign decisions of independent states that are seeking NATO accession. NATO instead is designing an Alliance equivalent of the EU’s European Neighborhood Policy that will offer close links and assistance but without the prospect of actual membership.

In addition, NATO’s diplomatic efforts with Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and the other countries of the Caucasus, and other nonmember states show that nations do not have to be part of the Alliance to join with NATO on projects that benefit all.

So tired of Wests “open Door” policies…!


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