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  • Author: Heinrich Brauss, Christian Mölling
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: NATO must “stay strong militarily, be more united politically, and take a broader approach 1 globally”. When launching the reflection pro- cess on NATO’s future role, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg set these three priorities to frame his vision of NATO 2030. At their meeting in London in December 2019, NA- TO’s political leaders mandated a “forward-looking re- flection process” on how NATO should further adapt to ensure it was able to successfully cope with a world of competing great powers due to the rise of China and Russia’s persistently aggressive posture, together with instability along NATO’s southern periphery, new trans- national risks emerging from pandemics, climate change and disruptive technologies. Establishing a unified stra- tegic vision is vital for upholding the Alliance’s cohesion, credibility and effectiveness. Looking forward, what does this mean for NATO’s military dimension?
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Camille Grand, Matthew Gillis
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The credibility of any alliance depends on its ability to deliver deterrence and defence for the safety and secu- rity of its members. Without capability, any alliance is deprived of credibility and exists only on paper. De- spite a rocky history – up to and including the current debate on burden-sharing – capability lies at the heart of NATO’s success. There is good cause to draw opti- mism from the Alliance’s accomplishments throughout its 70 years in providing a framework for developing effective and interoperable capabilities. However, the future promises serious challenges for NATO’s capabilities, driven primarily by new and dis- ruptive technology offering both opportunities and threats in defence applications. Moreover, develop- ments in these areas are, in some cases, being led by potential adversaries, while also simultaneously mov- ing at a pace that requires a constant effort to adapt on the part of the Alliance. On the occasion of NATO’s 70th anniversary, the future outlook requires a serious conversation about NATO’s adaptability to embrace transformation and develop an agile footing to ensure its future relevance.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Collective Defense
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Jeffrey H. Michaels
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: In the Declaration that emerged from the Decem- ber 2019 London Leaders Meeting, NATO Secre- tary General Jens Stoltenberg was tasked to present Foreign Ministers with “a forward-looking reflection process under his auspices, drawing on relevant exper- tise, to further strengthen NATO’s political dimension including consultation”. This new tasking has been largely attributed to French President Emmanuel Ma- cron’s remark the previous month that the Alliance was suffering from “brain death”. Speaking at a press conference alongside Stoltenberg, Macron elaborated on his comment, complaining the Alliance was overly focused on “cost-sharing or burden-sharing” whereas too little attention was being placed on major policy issues such as “peace in Europe, the post-INF, the re- lationship with Russia, the issue of Turkey, who is the enemy?”3
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Collective Defense
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, Turkey, North America
  • Author: Can Kasapoglu
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: In three decades, Ankara’s strategic agenda in Syria has considerably changed. First, back in the late 1990s, Tur- key’s primary goal was to put an end to the Hafez al-As- sad regime’s use of the PKK terrorist organization as a proxy. To address the threat at its source, Ankara resort- ed to a skillfully crafted coercive diplomacy, backed by the Turkish Armed Forces. A determined approach – championed by Turkey’s late president Suleyman Demi- rel – formed the epicenter of this policy: it was coupled with adept use of alliances, in particular the Turkish-Is- raeli strategic partnership. In October 1998, Syria, a trou- blesome state sponsor of terrorism as designated by the US Department of State since 19791, gave in. The Baath regime ceased providing safe haven to Abdullah Oca- lan, the PKK’s founder who claimed thousands of lives in Turkey. The same year, Damascus signed the Adana Agreement with Ankara, vowing to stop supporting ter- rorist groups targeting Turkey. In the following period, from the early 2000s up until the regional unrest in 2011, Turkish policy aimed at reju- venating the historical legacy. During that time, Ankara fostered its socio-cultural and economic integration efforts in Syria – for example, cancelling visas, promoting free trade, and holding joint cabinet meetings. Turkey’s foreign policy was shaped by then Foreign Minister and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s thought, popularly formulated in the concept of “Strategic Depth”. Refer- ring to David Laing’s anti-psychiatry school, Davutoglu claimed that the nation was alienated from its roots and embraced a “false self”. To fix the “identity crisis”, Tur- key pursued charm offensives in the Middle East. This ideationally motivated stance even led to speculative neo-Ottomanism debates in Western writings.2 From 2011, when the Arab Spring broke out, there were high hopes as to Turkey’s role model status. In April 2012, before the Turkish Parliament, then For- eign Minister Davutoglu stated that Ankara would lead the change as “the master, pioneer, and servant” of the Middle East.3 Five years later, the Turkish administration dropped these aspirations. At the 2017 Davos meeting, then Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek stated that the Assad regime’s demise was no longer one of his gov- ernment’s considerations.4 In fact, by 2015, Turkey had to deal with real security problems on its doorstep, such as the Russian expedition in Syria, ISIS rockets hammer- ing border towns, the refugee influx, and mushrooming PKK offshoots.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, Turkey, Syria, North America
  • Author: Jens Ringsmose, Mark Webber
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: NATO has for seven decades seen its share of crisis, argument and division. Still, few would dis- agree that the presidency of Donald Trump has added a new layer of discord and unpredictability to what the late Michael Howard once described as “an unhappy successful marriage”.1 Germany, France, and Denmark have all been brow-beaten by the US President, and even the UK, America’s staunchest ally, has been taken aback by Trump’s behaviour.2 But there is something far worse going on here than a marital argument. By calling into question America’s commitment to Article 5 and even to NATO membership itself Trump has, in effect, threatened a divorce.3 True, Trump’s words are often at odds with American actions. US ma- terial commitment to NATO remains strong, evi- dent in the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), and US participation in exercises such as Trident Juncture and Defender Europe 20. But words still matter, particularly when spoken by a President with a maximalist interpretation of his prerogative powers. Europeans governments may not welcome it, but Trump has raised the possibility of American abandonment. So, the Allies have been forced to consider their options. All European capitals rec- ognize there is no realistic alternative to “Plan A” – a credible American security guarantee – but many are beginning to think of a “Plan B” outside of NATO that supplements the fragile transatlantic link. This sort of reaction to the “Trump shock” is understandable but ill-conceived. Hedging in this way might end up triggering exactly what the Eu- ropeans wish to avoid: the US walking away from its European Allies. There is a risk, in other words, that the hedge will become a wedge. The Europe- an Allies should instead up their game in support of NATO and return to the idea of a European pillar in the Alliance. A stronger and more coher- ent European contribution to defence and securi- ty that straddles both NATO and the EU would demonstrate to a sceptical audience in Washing- ton that NATO-Europe is pulling its weight in the trans-Atlantic Alliance. “Plan A” is still alive, but it could do with a bit of life support.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Collective Defense
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Chloe Berger
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: In the spring of 2020, the Atlantic Alliance’s “large pe- riphery” to the South, which extends from the Sahel to the Asian borders of the Arabian Gulf, remains in a state of dangerous instability. The health and con- tainment measures taken by the authorities against the COVID-19 crisis have put popular claims to rest. The case of Lebanon shows, however, that the urgency of the pandemic has not made the demands of the pop- ulation disappear. Beyond managing the health crisis, there is no doubt that the future of the region’s lead- erships1 will largely depend on their ability to miti- gate both the socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis, as well as the political ones. In this “broader MENA” region, whose confines and internal cohesion are unstable, the challenges are ever more complex. Despite the relative consensus between NATO and its Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) and Is- tanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) partners on the deep-rooted causes of the structural instability, the po- tential solutions are much debated. NATO’s “Project- ing Stability” concept raises as many questions with the partners, as it does within the Alliance, since a desired end-state has yet to be defined. While all efforts con- tributing to an increase in stability are a priori welcome, the Alliance and its partners must agree on the conditions of stability in order to identify and implement effective means suited to the local context.
  • Topic: NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Collective Defense
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, Asia, North America, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Marc Ozawa
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: NATO addresses energy security concerns in three ways, through strategic awareness, infrastructure protection and energy efficiency measures. However, what may be a concern for NATO is potentially a problem for member states with conflicting views on the issue, the politics of which impact their interactions within the Alliance. Nord Stream 2, the trans-Baltic pipeline connecting Ust-Luga (Russia) to Greifswald (Germany), is one such example because it is so divisive. This Policy Brief advocates a role for NATO as a constructive partner with the European Union (EU), the governing body for energy security issues in tandem with national governments, while avoiding the divisive politics of direct involvement. NATO and the EU have complementary perspectives on energy security. The Alliance’s view is directed at broad security implications and the EU’s Director- General for Energy (DG Energy) is more focused on market matters. In this complementarity of perspectives NATO could indirectly assist DG Energy in making better energy policies and help to avoid the politicization of projects that create friction within the EU, the type that can spill over into NATO. The strife around Nord Stream 2, for example, works against both EU unity and cohesion within NATO such that, what may not have originally been perceived as a problem for NATO, becomes one.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Energy Policy, Regional Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Dave Johnson
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The visibility, scale and scope of Russian military exercises have been a focus of the Western media and specialist literature since 2014. Of most recent interest, Russia conducted Vostok 2018, the latest it- eration of its annual strategic1 exercises, from early July to 17 September 2018. Vostok (meaning East) is part of a system of strategic exercises that the Russian Armed Forces have been developing since 2009. It is one of the four named annual strategic exercises conducted on a rotating basis among four of Russia’s five military districts. It should be noted that these visible events represent a small fraction of Russia’s nationwide whole-of-Government effort to develop the ability to conduct large-scale operations against a major military power, and to influence po- tential adversaries.
  • Topic: NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Andrea Gilli
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The unprecedented pace of technological change brought about by the fourth Industrial Revolution offers enormous opportunities but also entails some risks. This is evident when looking at discussions about artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and big data (BD). Many analysts, scholars and policy- makers are in fact worried that, beside efficiency and new economic opportunities, these technologies may also promote international instability: for instance, by leading to a swift redistribution of wealth around the world; a rapid diffusion of military capabilities or by heightening the risks of military escalation and conflict. Such concerns are understandable. Throughout history, technological change has at times exerted similar effects. Additionally, human beings seem to have an innate fear that autonomous machines might, at some point, revolt and threaten humanity – as illustrated in popular culture, from Hebrew tradition’s Golem to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, from Karel Čapek’s Robot to Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot and the movie Terminator. This NDC Policy Brief contributes to the existing debate by assessing the logic behind some of these concerns and by looking at the historical record. While some worries are warranted, this brief provides a much more reassuring view. The implications are straightforward: NATO, its member states and partners should not be afraid of ongoing technological change, but embrace the opportunities offered by new technologies and address the related challenges. In other words, the Atlantic Alliance should start a new transformation process directed toward the age of intelligent machines: it should start with what I call “NATO-mation”. The goal is not only preserving and enhancing NATO’s military superiority and thus better contribute to global security in the decades ahead but also ensuring that its values, ethical stances as well as moral commitments will remain central in a rapidly- changing security environment.
  • Topic: NATO, Regional Cooperation, Science and Technology, Military Strategy, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Karl-Heinz Kamp
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Seven decades after it was established, the North Atlantic Alliance is doing fairly well and fully de- serves being described as the most successful secu- rity organization in modern history. By constantly evolving and adapting, NATO managed to main- tain its relevance on both sides of the Atlantic in fundamentally different security environments. It preserved the territorial integrity of its members during the Cold War and was crucial for bringing down the Iron Curtain. It helped to bring peace to the Balkans and prevented Afghanistan from once again becoming a breeding ground for jihadist ter- rorism. Since Russia’s return to revanchist policies in 2014, NATO again guarantees the freedom and security of its members in the East. In the long term though, NATO faces an almost existential problem, as it will be difficult to main- tain its relevance for the United States as the dom- inant power within the Alliance. This will be less a result of the current president’s erratic policy than of the geostrategic reorientation of the US away from Russia and towards China. NATO will also have to fundamentally alter its geographic orienta- tion to avoid falling into oblivion.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America