Robin Niblett, a leading foreign affairs commentator, discusses the need and opportunity to strengthen NATO
Writing in The World Today, a bi-monthly magazine presenting authoritative analysis and commentary on current topics, Director of Chatham House Robin Niblett argues that in a world of flashpoints and European defence cuts NATO needs strengthening, and now is the chance to do so.
In early September, a NATO summit in Wales is expected to offer a decisive response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, while preparing to confront a more dangerous and unstable world from the Middle East to the South China Sea. NATO members must also ensure that they have the resources and the public support to make a reassertion of their alliance’s strategic purpose meaningful. Robin believes that “drawing these threads together will be difficult” due to these expanding threats and NATO’s own identity crisis.
That being said, Robin argues there are at least three ways in which NATO members could use the summit to strengthen their security outlook:
- “Adopt the idea of ‘framework nations’ which take the lead within NATO for coordinating smaller numbers of NATO partners to respond to specific challenges. Under this concept, Germany and Poland could help neighbours enhance their capabilities for collective defence, for example, while the UK and France could bring together NATO members’ expeditionary capabilities.”
- “NATO leaders could further develop the partnerships built with non-members during recent operations in Afghanistan and Libya. The UN Security Council is likely to be increasingly paralysed and ad hoc coalitions, sometimes operating under a UN mandate and sometimes not, may become more common.”
- “NATO could agree a new plan on how to deal with ‘hybrid’ types of threat that are likely to be far more common in the future. Russia’s actions in Crimea have revealed how tactically effective the use of special forces and intelligence operatives, the mobilisation of proxies, cyber-attacks, mass disinformation campaigns and economic coercion can be.”
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