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Origin, membership, roles
The Brussels Treaty of 1948 marked the first step in the creation of the North Atlantic Alliance, culminating in April 1949 with the signature of the Treaty of Washington. The outcome of that Treaty was a joint security system among 12 countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States. NATO is an intergovernmental political and military alliance of collective defence, through which its 28 member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. Moreover, 23 other countries cooperate through NATO Partnership for Peace program which began in 1991. Seeking to stabilize the Middle East, in 1994 The Alliance launched the Mediterranean Dialogue with Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. In 2004 NATO began the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative with four countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Finally, NATO cooperates in joint security issues with five countries in Asia, Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mongolia and New Zealand, and two in the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Until the Korean War, NATO was predominantly a political organization. Following the war an integrated military framework was established under the command of two US supreme commanders. To prevent a nuclear war, the Alliance expanded its mission and adopted the “Massive Retaliation” policy. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, it conducted a series of military interventions in Bosnia in 1992 and later in 1999 in Kosovo. Politically, the organization sought better relations with former Warsaw Pact countries, several of which joined the alliance in 1999, 2004 and 2009. Since then the Alliance has performed a variety of additional roles, such as providing trainers to Iraq and Afghanistan, assisting in counter-piracy operations as well as imposing a non-fly zone over Libya based on UNSC Resolution 1973.
Member states’ view of the institution, impact of BREXIT and US pivot
Member states’ view of the institution
‟Support for NATO is widespread among member nations”, is the conclusion of the Spring 2016 Global Attitudes Survey. This survey, held by Pew Research Center included nine EU countries such as the Netherland, Poland, UK, Italy, Germany, Hungary, France, Spain and Greece, as well as the U.S. and Canada, finds mostly positive views of the Organization. Around 57% of them expressed positive opinions of the Alliance, with only 27% of them voicing negative views. The strongest support for the alliance comes from the Netherland and Poland while Greece appears to be the most critical NATO member. Even though Mr. Trump the Republican presidential nominee at that time, has regarded NATO as being obsolete, when asked if being a member of the post-World War II security alliance was good or bad for the U.S., 77% responded yes, while only 16% expressed negative views. However, regardless of increasing security threats, most member states surveyed remain reluctant to increase their countries’ defense spending. Around 32% of the members surveyed say their country’s military spending should be boosted, nearly 47% of them favor continuing with the same spending and only 14% say their military spending should decrease.
Notwithstanding, growing tensions with Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, the alliance members polled remain divided on ‟whether their countries should provide military support to an ally if it got into a military conflict with Russia”. Approximately 48% among eight NATO countries favored their country providing military support to defend allies, and 42% across the eight members opposed the use of force.
Impact of BREXIT and US pivot
Although we have heard much about the political and economic consequences from BREXIT, there are insufficient arguments about its security and geopolitical fallout. Even though in the short run there might not be any negative impact, there are reasonable concerns about Brexit’s impact on NATO in the long run. Among many convinced Europeanists there is a group of far-right parties, in France, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy and elsewhere which not only are anti-European, xenophobic and profoundly anti-American, but they are great sympathizers of Putin’s authoritarian regime. If those parties come into power, it might fluctuate the politics of their countries against NATO, and destruct the alliance from providing security within and beyond its borders.
Another reason for concern might be the emerging prospect of Scotland’s secession and an uncertain future of Northern Ireland which might cause the UK to be more isolationists and less militarily engaged. Brexit might impact the future of military cooperation between France and Britain, two European NATO members with the largest military firepower, regarded as the engine of Common Security and Defense Policy of the European Union. With the UK leaving the Union, if not impossible it will become distant, and in the coming years the responsibility for European security will immensely rest on NATO.
On the other hand, maintaining NATO’s coherence and operational effectiveness lies to a great degree on America. Recently, Washington has made it clear that it expects member countries to spend more in defense and is urging the European Union to take a leading role in crisis management and decrease its dependence on the U.S. During his electoral campaign president Donald Trump dismissed NATO as ‟obsolete”, while his Secretary of State James Mattis told NATO defence ministers in Brussels that ‟Americans cannot care more for your children’s future security than you do”. However, at the Security Conference, held from 17-19 February 2017 in Munich, the US Vice President, Michael Pence seemed to reaffirm Alliance members that the US would remain committed to “continue to hold Russia accountable” for its illegal actions in Crimea and Ukraine.
Approach to the risks and effectiveness of that approach:
NATO began to interact with Russia in 1991, when Russia became member of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council and later in 1994 member of the Partnership for Peace programme. However it was NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997 which defined the formal foundation for future relations. For more than 25 five years, NATO has attempted to develop a partnership with Russia, building dialogue and reasonable cooperation in fields of common interest. Such dialogue and cooperation culminated with the foundation of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) in 2002, which served as a consultation forum for security issues and cooperation in a wide span of fields. Formal meetings of the NRC and cooperation have been suspended until spring 2009, in response to Russia’s military intervention in August 2008 in Georgia. The Alliance persistently has required from Russia to reverse its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. Russian aggression in Ukraine led to suspension of all civilian and military cooperation of the NRC in April 2014. However, channels of political dialogue and military communication remain open.
During the Wales Summit in September 2014, NATO leaders condemned Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine and demanded that Russia comply with international law and its international obligations and responsibilities. NATO remains concerned about Russia’s increased and destabilizing pattern of military activities along NATO borders as well as aggressive rhetoric, which make the security environment unstable and unpredictable. The Alliance and Russia have deep and continuous discrepancies; yet, NATO does not strive for confrontation and does not represent threat to Russia.
International terrorism we currently face, presents a complex, perpetual threat that demands for an all-inclusive, multidimensional strategic approach which encompasses NATO as well. The early debate on NATOs proper counterterrorism roles and missions mirrored two approaches: the “war” approach adopted predominantly by the United States and the “risk-management” approach, supported by many European Allies. These Allies see the “war” approach as unsuitable, because terrorism cannot be defeated unless its root causes are being addressed; which for them cannot be done by military means. The war approach has the tendency to employ a strategy that stresses offensive and preventive measures, while the risk-management approach has the tendency to call for more defensive measures. Therefore, an effective counter-terrorism approach must encompass elements of both strategies. Regardless of these discrepancies all allies are in unison about the danger posed by terrorism and have decided to face it. Following the attacks on the Twin Towers, the NATO allies for the first time invoked Article 5 of the Washington Treaty; the collective defense clause by deploying troops in Afghanistan under the NATO-led ISAF. Meanwhile, immediately after 11 September 2001, NATO changed almost in a radical manner its strategic priorities and geopolitical vision, in order to adapt the organization and its member states to the nature of the threat.
The fundamental approach, defined in NATO’s military concept for defence against terrorism, encompasses four components: anti terrorism defensive measures; consequence management; counter terrorism offensive measures; and military co-operation to include partners, and international organizations such as the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the European Union. Through its programme of exercises, NATO play a key role in training for fighting terrorism which offers unique opportunities for integrated civil-military operations to counter terrorist attacks. Alliance also plays a substantial early warning role through. Operation Active Endeavour, with its unique capabilities for aircraft and missile early warning. In terms of consequence management, NATO provides unique support capabilities to face the consequences of a terrorist attack, through its Euro-Disaster Response Coordination Centre. Moreover, Alliance is well-suited to play a preventive role by providing its assets such as AWACS aircraft, maritime patrols and CBRN defence capabilities. A good example to be mentioned is the support given to Greece during the Olympic and Paralympics Games. Contribution to the global approach by the Alliance on fighting against terrorism was articulated openly in the NATO CT Policy Guidelines, endorsed at the Chicago Summit of 2012. Two years later, on May 2014, NATO approved an Action Plan which defines the tasks and assigns responsibilities based on the policy guidance.
Refugees ⁄ illegal migration
The refugee and migrant crisis of the recent years is by all means the worst humanitarian crisis Europe has faced after the World War Two. Challenges in the European neighborhoods coming simultaneously from both the Eastern Flank by Russia and the Southern Flank, by refugees, migration and terrorism, have imposed NATO to reshape its capabilities. In addition to its commitment to reassurance measures in the Eastern Flank as well as its contribution to transatlantic intelligence coordination against terrorism, NATO is participating in the international endeavor to hold back illegal migration and trafficking in the Aegean. The Alliance is closely cooperating with national coastguards, and Frontex, the border management agency of the EU, in order to monitor the illegal crossings in the Aegean Sea and combat human trafficking.
Following the NATO Defence Ministers’ meeting on 26 and 27 October last year ̶ in the context of the implementation of Resolution 2292 UNSCR on the situation in Libya ̶ the Alliance agreed to support the EU-led Operation Sophia in the central Mediterranean. This commitment includes a scale of capabilities such as Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, logistics support as well as contribution to capacity building of the Libyan coastguard and navy, if requested. In that context on 9 November 2016, NATO launched Operation Sea Guardian with an extensive scope in response to a wide- ranging maritime security threats.
Inter-institutional cooperation, coordination and integration
The gravity of challenges posed by the Balkan conflicts since 1991, and NATO’s commitment in Afghanistan a decade later, have been the key drivers of its progressively immense cooperation with other international organizations. Such organizations posses mandate and capabilities which the Alliance lacks, but that are vital to meeting international security challenges.
NATO and the United Nations
The Alliance needs the UNSC resolutions as a legal foundation for non-Article 5 operations as well as to justify the legitimacy for such operations. On the other hand, the UN needs NATO for its expertise, resources, and unmatched capabilities to provide far-reaching support and to sustain an extended commitment. Coordination between the two organizations has occasionally been dissatisfactory, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina where NATO and UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) failed to defend Srebrenica designated as “safe area” by UN. This flawed experience has been contributing to better formulation and renewal of UNSC resolutions mandating operations, especially in the field of command and control arrangements.
In September 2005 a NATO – UN framework agreement was proposed, designed to provide a structure for continuous cooperation at all levels rather than crisis situations collaboration. Such cooperation could help the UN and many of its member states -which perceive NATO as a Cold War military organization – to better understand the Alliance’s consensual decision-making processes. In the Comprehensive Political Guidance endorsed at the Riga summit of November 2006, NATO members agreed that, “As in Afghanistan, success in Kosovo will depend on a concerted effort. Accordingly, NATO activity to provide a secure environment will continue to be coordinated with the activities of the UN, the EU and the OSCE to build governance and support reform.”
NATO and the European Union
NATO-EU cooperation dates back to the Cold War. However an important step towards an effective cooperation was marked at the Washington Summit in April 1999, where the cooperation principles of the June 1996 agreements in Berlin ̶ known as “Berlin Plus” ̶ where approved. It took the two organizations from April 1999 to December 2002 to formalize this agreement, in order to allow NATO to support EU-led operations. Operation Concordia from March to December 2003, in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was the first EU-led peacekeeping operation, commanded by a NATO operational commander, where Alliance’s assets were provided to the EU. Comparably, in December 2004 the NATO-led operation Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, began to transition to an EU-led operation named Althea under the “Berlin Plus” framework. Once again, the commander responsible for this Operation was NATO’s DSACEUR. In addition, KFOR, NATO’s peacekeeping force in Kosovo, cooperates closely with EULEX, the EU’s Rule of Law Mission quite alike as NATO-led ISAF and RSM missions in Afghanistan have cooperated with EUPOL, the EU’s Rule of Law Mission. NATO’s Ocean Shield and the EU’s EUNAVFOR Atalanta naval forces are cooperating closely for anti-piracy missions, since September 2008, in Somalia.
At the strategic level, NATO and the EU meet on a regular basis at the level of foreign ministers, ambassadors, military representatives and defence advisors. Regular meetings also take place for staff-to-staff talks at all levels between Alliance’s International Staff and International Military Staff, and their EU counterparts. For mutual cooperation at the operational level, in 2005 NATO established a Permanent Liaison Team at the EU Military Staff. Similarly, an EU Cell was set up in 2006 at Alliance’s strategic command for operations in Mons, Belgium.
NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
Distinctly from the UN, NATO, and the EU, the OSCE is based on political commitments not on treaty arrangements. Generally speaking, Alliance has not been directly engaged in OSCE operations, it has only been providing support for planning, information, and communications, security and logistics, of OSCE activities in places where NATO forces have already been deployed. The first notable cooperation of this kind was the operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1990s. Few years later, in order to support OSCE’s verification mission on the ground in Kosovo, NATO conducted an air reconnaissance mission named Operation Eagle Eye from October 1998 to March 1999. During the same period the Alliance organized an Extraction Force prepared to evacuate OSCE personnel from Kosovo in an emergency. NATO has also cooperated with the OSCE and the EU during the 2001 crisis in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Apart from NATO-OSCE cooperation during Balkan crisis, the two organizations have interacted in other areas such as border security issues, anti-terrorism, combating human trafficking, regional cooperation, etc., mainly in Central Asia, SE Europe and the south Caucasus. It is worth mentioning that there has been little mission competition between NATO and the OSCE due to the fact that the later is particularly focused on specific domains.
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 This is a classified document, not for public release.
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