164 PC 08 E rev. 1 bis- NATO’s Future Political Agenda
General Rapporteur: Raynell ANDREYCHUK (Canada)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
II. NATO’S CURRENT POLITICAL AGENDA
III. NATO RELATIONS WITH INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS
A. NATO-EU RELATIONS
IV. THE NEED FOR IMPROVED PUBLIC DIPLOMACY
V. THE MILITARY CONFLICT IN GEORGIA AND ITS POSSIBLE RAMIFICATIONS FOR NATO’S POLITICAL AGENDA
VI. A REALISTIC APPROACH
1. This report serves as an update to last year’s Afghanistan and NATO's ongoing transformation [172 PC 07 E], and offers a brief analysis of NATO’s political agenda. At the Bucharest Summit, our Heads of State and Government gave a clear and unanimous signal regarding NATO’s short and medium term political agenda. While the future success of the alliance depends on the implementation of the course chosen at Bucharest, this report argues that the deterioration of the NATO-Russia relationship following the latter’s military intervention in Georgia affects NATO’s policies and activities on many levels. The report also includes the latest developments in Afghanistan and their relevance for NATO.
II. NATO’S CURRENT POLITICAL AGENDA
2. The Bucharest Summit in early April 2008 mapped out NATO’s political agenda for the near and medium term. In Bucharest, NATO took stock of its recent achievements and challenges and confirmed its core purpose and its most important security task, namely member states’ collective defence of their populations, territory and forces. The Summit acknowledged the progress achieved in the transformation process, which is designed to make NATO better prepared to respond to new security challenges. NATO leaders also stressed that the process must continue to generate more deployable capabilities and to establish new relationships with Partners to maintain security at home and contribute to stability abroad.
3. In essence, Bucharest focused on four main topics, namely 1) the consolidation of the EuroAtlantic area, 2) the conflict in Afghanistan and the broader context, 3) deepening partnerships, and 4) responding to new threats (such as cyber attacks, threats to energy security, the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery).
A. THE CONSOLIDATION OF THE EURO-ATLANTIC AREA
4. The consolidation of the Euro-Atlantic area remains a priority for the Alliance. In addition to reaffirming its core purpose, the collective defence of the populations, territory and forces of member states, the Bucharest Summit stressed NATO’s commitment to the completion of a “Europe whole and free,” and reaffirmed that all European states have an opportunity to join EuroAtlantic structures. NATO leaders also extended an invitation to Albania and Croatia to join the Alliance and stated that Ukraine and Georgia will become members in the future. No consensus could be reached on inviting the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia? to NATO due to continuing disagreements regarding the country’s name. The Rapporteur regrets that this issue is still not settled and hopes that it can be solved as soon as possible in order to allow the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to join the Alliance in the same timeframe as Albania and Croatia. Skopje must continue its reform process and the latest parliamentary elections in early June gave the government the mandate to continue and to step up its efforts.
5. While the Alliance has given Ukraine and Georgia a clear perspective of membership and has also stressed that no third party has a veto over NATO membership, there is still no consensus on Georgia’s and Ukraine’s participation in the Membership Action Plan (MAP). This is partly due to concerns of some Allies that both countries need to make further progress in their reforms and because of the “frozen conflicts” in Georgia and the lack of public support in Ukraine.
6. Ukraine is still facing a difficult political domestic situation. Following another fallout between the former coalition partners, President Victor Yushchenko dissolved the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) and called early elections this year, the third in three years since the so-called Orange Revolution. However, even though many promises of the Orange Revolution remain unfulfilled, the parliamentary elections that followed proved that Ukraine can also maintain democracy. What is more, Ukraine, which is the only partner country that participates in all NATO operations, has made great progress in military and defence reform, particularly in the realm of intelligence sector reform. In the view of the Rapporteur, MAP participation would provide Ukrainians with a stronger sense of ownership of the reform process and thus help overcome the current domestic stalemate and advance further reform. In addition, a timely MAP would send a signal that Eastern European security remains high on the agenda of the Alliance, and that NATO countries have not been deterred from helping their allies and partners. Failure to provide a clear MAP might send a message that NATO, in this difficult time for Ukraine, has other priorities, and undermine the integrationist movement in Ukraine. Therefore, it would be a positive signal if Ukraine received an invitation to participate in MAP at the next meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers this December.
7. The commitment to future membership was intended to reassure Ukraine and Georgia, send a clear signal to Russia, and build a consensus around a long-term perspective on enlargement. However, some critics argue that the effects of this are proving to be almost diametrically opposite. Moscow’s military intervention in South Ossetia in early August this year, following Tbilisi’s attempt to retake the separatist province by force, and the occupation of strategic points in Georgia proper were violations of international law by Russia. Moreover, by recognising the separatist Georgian provinces of Abkhasia and South Ossetia, Moscow has destabilised the South Caucasus. The North Atlantic Council (NAC) criticised the Russian military action both in South Ossetia and Georgia as “disproportionate” and condemned the decision of the Russian Federation to recognise the independence of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which is in contravention of fundamental OSCE principles and United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR). Russia’s military intervention has also been widely and strongly criticised by the international community and as a result, NATO decided to temporarily suspend meetings of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) until the Russian troops have left Georgia. Moreover, at a special NAC meeting on 20 August, NATO Foreign Ministers upgraded the NATO-Georgia relationship by creating a NATO-Georgia Commission and promised humanitarian and (limited) military assistance.
9. The general situation of the Western Balkans offers a mixed picture with room for both optimism and pessimism: the region’s integration into NATO and the EU is well under way, albeit at an uneven pace and against a background of “enlargement fatigue” in EU member states. Countries in the region all too often perceive reforms as imposed from outside rather than in their own interest. That said, regional co-operation is developing in a variety of areas, including a new Regional Co-operation Council - headquartered in Sarajevo – to replace the Stability Pact. The performance of NATO and the EU in the Western Balkans, particularly in Kosovo, will not only determine their credibility in the region but also beyond.1
B. THE CONFLICT IN AFGHANISTAN AND THE BROADER CONTEXT
10. NATO’s UN-mandated operation in Afghanistan, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), is currently NATO’s largest, as well as most challenging operation. With approximately 48,500 Allied troops and 2,200 from partner states, ISAF has been working to bring security, stability, and to foster development in Afghanistan since 2001. NATO-ISAF has also committed itself to train and equip the Afghan National Army (ANA). At this point, 70,000 Afghan soldiers have been trained and planning is under way to eventually expand the force to 134,000.2 NATO took over command of ISAF in 2003 at the request of the UN and the Afghan government.
11. Afghanistan remains a key issue for the Alliance. Seven years after the fall of the Taliban and five years after NATO has taken over the command of ISAF, Afghanistan faces an uncertain future. The security situation in the North and West is reasonably stable, funding for reconstruction and co-ordination among international organisations and with civil actors has increased, and development of the ANA has made progress. However, these achievements have been put at risk by a revitalised Taliban-led insurgency, a record rise in opium production, a deterioration of the rule of law, and a weakening grip of the Afghan national government beyond the major cities. There is a distinct risk of the country sliding back into chaos and instability.
12. In addition to the ISAF mission, many members participate in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), which number approximately 14,000-15,000 troops. A small number of these forces participate in direct action against Taliban and Al-Qaeda targets, the majority of these forces train and equip Afghan military and police forces. Although the Afghans do not distinguish between ISAF forces and OEF forces, parliamentarians from NATO countries need to be more aware of the differences between OEF and ISAF. While it only represents a small force, OEF is a necessary operation and requires sensitivity and an understanding of the goals being achieved. Many ISAF operations could not be performed without the additional security provided by these OEF forces.
13. Afghanistan was a serious topic of discussion during this year’s Bucharest Summit. NATO member states as well as partner countries promised additional troop contributions to the ISAF force, including a French battalion that will be deployed in the east of Afghanistan. The Summit also agreed on a Comprehensive Political-Military Strategic Plan for Afghanistan and a public declaration outlining ISAF’s strategic vision. The declaration sets out a clear perspective guided by four principles: a firm and shared long-term commitment to the country; support for enhanced Afghan leadership and responsibility; a comprehensive approach by the international community that brings together civilian and military efforts; and increased co-operation and engagement with Afghanistan’s neighbours, especially Pakistan. In October, at the Defence Ministerial in Budapest, NATO members finally decided to directly target Afghanistan’s growing opium trade that finances the insurgency.
14. The security situation in Afghanistan further deteriorated this summer. According to the UN, the number of security incidents rose to 983 in August, the highest since the fall of the Taliban and a 44% increase over August 2007.3
16. National caveats placed upon forces by member states continue to limit the effectiveness of ISAF. Even though members agreed in Bucharest to reduce the number of caveats, little has been achieved in this regard. The reluctance of some NATO nations to engage in the South of Afghanistan illustrates the gap among the Allies: there is a general agreement on the need to help Afghanistan to become a secure, stable country that is at peace with its neighbours, but there is no, or, at best, only limited, consensus on the best way to achieve this. The Bucharest Summit fell short of generating consensus among the Allies on how to solve the issue of sharing the risks and burdens fairly among NATO member states. This issue must be urgently addressed because it limits NATO's operational capabilities and undermines its unity of purpose. It risks sending a signal that would be, at least in the long run, very detrimental to NATO.
17. In Afghanistan and elsewhere, there is an increasing recognition that “local ownership” is central to success. One of the goals of the "comprehensive political-military plan" is to give the Government of Afghanistan (GOA) a more prominent role. At the International Conference on Support of Afghanistan in Paris in June, the states supporting Afghanistan decided to provide the GOA with the full authority for the reconstruction of their country. However, the GOA needs to step up its reform efforts. In particular, it needs to do more to tackle the drugs production and the related problems of corruption and mismanagement. A number of donor organisations have expressed increased frustration at the failure of the GOA to deliver on its reform commitments, thereby undermining financial support in foreign capitals. For example, a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published earlier this year suggested that the country has only met its least challenging targets, including getting the national budget to parliament on time. Afghanistan’s tax rate is even below the African average, and international aid pays for approximately 90% of public spending. The GOA needs to urgently address this problem, particularly as the Afghan economy is almost entirely reliant on foreign aid and profits from the opium production. Moreover, sluggish reform is also one of the main reasons for the weak progress of the private sector, which has further hampered economic growth.
18. While the Afghan authorities are taking over more responsibilities for the stabilisation and reconstruction of their country, domestic public support for the GoA is waning, primarily due to endemic corruption and the inability of the Kabul government to provide basic services. It is therefore crucial to help Afghanistan develop and expand the institutions that tackle corruption and mismanagement as well as to strengthen the capacities of the Afghan authorities. In addition to an accelerated build up of the Afghan armed forces and the police, co-ordination of civilian and military measures must be improved.
19. The stabilisation efforts in Afghanistan are hampered by delays in consolidating the institutions and the economy. Although it is an encouraging sign that leaders from NATO, the UN, the EU, the World Bank, and donor countries committed to a long-term "comprehensive politicalmilitary plan" for Afghanistan at the Bucharest Summit, it remains to be seen if the agreement will significantly improve the situation. The worsening security situation and the number of Afghan civilians who died as a result of ISAF military action has resulted in the UN further separating itself publicly from the activities of NATO forces on the ground.
20. The international assistance given to Afghanistan is insufficient. According to one estimate, there is a $10 billion shortfall in aid deliveries and only $15 billion of the $25 billion pledged since 2001 had been spent so far on rebuilding the war-torn country.6 What is more, too much of the aid given is donor-driven and a significant amount of the assistance funds does not end up in Afghanistan. According to the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghanistan Relief (ACBAR), an estimated 40% of international aid went to foreign consultants, private security contractors, and other foreign organisations. Thus, too much aid is “wasted, ineffective, or uncoordinated", according to the ACBAR report.
21. As the central government in Afghanistan has been traditionally weak, improving conditions in the country requires a stronger focus on the local and regional level. However, as Rahul Chandran, Associate Director of New York University’s Center on International Cooperation suggested to the Sub-Committee on Transatlantic Relations during a visit in June, that coordination on the local and provincial level has so far "totally failed". He said that Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) lack civilian officers, while there are not enough military officers serving with UN provincial offices. Moreover, even though Afghanistan suffers from an underdeveloped civil service no major nation has been willing to finance the training of the Afghan civil service. Therefore, if it wants to succeed in Afghanistan, the international community needs to reconsider its security and development strategy.
22. When Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan, Kai Eide, said in early October that, “[w]e all know that we cannot win [Afghanistan] militarily. It has to be won through political means. That means political engagement,” he underscored that NATO’s mission in Afghanistan is just one element of a far greater effort. Eide also warned against “doom and gloom” assessments which often do not take into account the complexity of the situation. Ultimately, only the Afghans can achieve peace. The ISAF forces can only assist by allowing the central government and the international aid community the stability needed to further developmental efforts across all sectors of Afghanistan. President Karzai has repeatedly appealed publicly to the Taliban to hold peace talks, which they categorically rejected as long as foreign forces occupied the country. However, while both parties deny such talks, it increasingly seems that any future vision of success in Afghanistan will not be achieved until the Taliban are included in the political process.
23. Ultimately, it should be the Afghans who decide when success has been achieved in Afghanistan. As General McKiernan, the ISAF Commander, said in June, “Winning is not about the NATO Alliance, the future of NATO or any of that, but about the Afghan government, Afghanistan, and the Afghan people.”
24. The problems facing NATO in Afghanistan are not confined to the country’s borders. Afghanistan’s fate is closely intertwined with that of Pakistan and the situation in the latter is crucial to that of Afghanistan. The Bucharest Communiqué has stressed the notion of establishing increased contacts and co-operation with Pakistan. Islamabad has a crucial role in the stabilisation of Afghanistan as well as in the fight against terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda. The cross border insurgency in Afghanistan negatively affects Pakistan's security and vice versa. One of the reasons is that Islamabad has only very little, if any, control over the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. Thus far, Pakistan's efforts to counter Islamist radicals have not been very effective and the security situation has significantly deteriorated as the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in late September has demonstrated.
25. The country finds itself in a profound political transition phase and its internal situation remains highly volatile. Pakistani political elites have finally recognised that the situation in the western provinces threaten Islamabad as well as the West. This is a strategic shift from their earlier view that Pakistan is fighting “the West’s War” towards the recognition that it has been “Pakistan’s War” all along. President Zadari announced that he will rid his country of the Taliban. It is unclear if Pakistan’s army can successfully fight the Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces in the Fatah region, but their support of local tribal militias in the fight against insurgents raises the question that they may not be capable.
26. The importance of reforming Pakistan’s security apparatus is evident; President Zadari has reportedly replaced several senior Inter-Service Intelligence Service officials who are suspected to be sympathetic to the Taliban. However, this can only be a first step and more is needed. Pakistan should be provided with the careful military and economic support to adequately address this threat within its borders. Moreover, Pakistan, which has a vibrant civil society, urgently needs assistance in re-building democratic institutions.
27. The Allies have a shared interest of preventing Pakistan from becoming a base for terrorists. Pakistan is interested in regular and deeper contacts with NATO, but our response has been slow. NATO could assist in security sector reform while Allied member states as well as the EU could provide financial and other assistance. NATO and the EU should co-operate to help reform the security apparatus and make it more accountable. For example, the EU could assist the police, which, together with civilian intelligence agencies, are far more appropriate for counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism operations than a military trained to combat external enemies. The police and the intelligence agencies under police control must be given the resources needed to tackle internal threats and crime. Helping the police and civilian intelligence agencies with training and technical assistance would significantly help stabilise Pakistan and would also assist with NATO operations in Afghanistan. Moreover, in addition to providing assistance in equipment and training, NATO Allies, and NATO as an organisation, should engage in a regular political dialogue with Islamabad.
C. THE GROWING IMPORTANCE OF PARTNERSHIPS
28. Afghanistan is the prime example of NATO’s expanded capabilities and missions but also its limitations. Many of today’s security challenges cannot be successfully met by NATO alone. Meeting evolving security threats requires building broad partnerships with the wider international community, as part of a truly comprehensive approach based on a shared sense of openness and cooperation as well as determination on all sides. Therefore, the Summit confirmed NATO’s outreach policy through partnerships, dialogue, and co-operation as an essential part of the Alliance’s purpose and tasks. In this context, NATO leaders stressed the enduring value of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) and other existing Partnership arrangements, including the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD), the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI), and global partnerships with contact countries.
29. To deepen existing Partnerships further, NATO has announced that it will continue its efforts to promote greater interoperability between its forces and those of partner nations. Enhanced information sharing and improved consultations with nations contributing to NATO-led operations have been identified as two areas where additional progress can be made. Moreover, existing NATO programmes that offer partner countries advice and assistance with defence and security related aspects of reforms shall be expanded.
30. Since the end of the Cold War, prevention and containment of ethnic and political conflicts between and within states has become a main issue for NATO. Moreover, the threat posed by international terrorist groups, as well as the risks emanating from failing states, like Afghanistan under the Taliban, have become major concerns for the Allies. NATO’s transformation has been remarkable for the fact that it had to tackle both urgent crisis response and long-term stabilisation and reconstruction tasks. Although the Alliance has been successful in meeting these demands, it is clear that it cannot continue to do so alone. Rather, there is a broad agreement that cooperation between NATO and other international actors, particularly the UN and the EU, is increasingly important to tackle the security challenges of today and tomorrow. The increased emphasis on “local ownership” is another important reason why international co-operation needs to be further developed.
A. NATO-EU RELATIONS
31. NATO’s relationship with the EU is the most important partnership that the Alliance has developed with any international organisation. The Rapporteur commends NATO’s plan to deepen the strategic partnership with the EU. This is particularly important as both organisations cover a wide range of issues relating to security, defence and crisis management, including the fight against terrorism, the development of coherent and mutually reinforcing military capabilities, and civil emergency planning. NATO-EU co-operation is primarily based on “Berlin Plus”. This arrangement provides the EU with access to NATO's collective assets and capabilities for EU-led operations. It allows the Alliance to support EU-led operations in which NATO, as a whole, is not engaged, thus letting the Union co-ordinate a major operation through NATO, rather than duplicating its efforts. “Berlin Plus” also allows for the sharing of classified information between the two organizations. This is based on special security agreements between NATO and those EU members that are not NATO members.
32. NATO-EU relations have evolved and there are now also regular meetings between NATO and EU officials at different levels, including routine staff-level contacts. This allows for the exchange of information on their activities in the field of protection of civilian populations against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks. NATO and the EU also consult on other issues of common interest, such as the situation in Moldova and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the NATO-EU agenda also includes concerted planning of capabilities development.
34. There is a need for further improvements in the NATO-EU relationship. Five former Western military leaders have proposed to enhance this cooperation by establishing a US, EU, NATO “Steering directorate” at the highest political level to co-ordinate the two bodies' response to any threats to global security, as a first step towards a new and wider transatlantic bargain.7 However, the Rapporteur is sceptical as to whether the creation of an additional structure would advance co-operation between the two organisations. Rather, she sees it as important that the revisions of the EU’s Security Strategy and of NATO’s Strategic Concept that are currently underway will be carried out in a coordinated manner that will complement each other and facilitate more and better cooperation. In the meantime, tangible improvements in NATO-EU cooperation could be achieved, for example, in Afghanistan, where the European Commission has committed more than €1 billion between 2002 and 2008, on top of individual member states’ contributions. The Commission also assists in justice reforms, primarily via the EUPOL mission and a special fund to improve Afghan judicial institutions. But the EUPOL mission in Afghanistan is too small and under-funded to help reform the Ministry of Interior. This is one area where the EU can and should take the lead, particularly as the United States do not have a national police and European NATO member countries are better positioned to assist with the development of the Afghan police. In addition to better co-ordination over Afghanistan, NATO and the EU should also engage in a dialogue over Pakistan, whose frontier regions have become a training ground for terrorists.
B. NATO-UN RELATIONS
35. After the end of the Cold War NATO and the UN have gradually developed their cooperation, particularly in the context of the Yugoslav wars. There has been close co-operation between the two organisations in Kosovo and Afghanistan, but also in disaster response, such as following the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. NATO has become a key partner for the UN in peacekeeping, and NATO nations now provide 14% of the 80,000 plus uniformed personnel who are participating in UN-led peacekeeping operations. NATO contributes to the implementation by nations of the UNSCR 1373 and related UNSCRs in the fight against terrorism, and is lending its support to non-proliferation of WMD by contributing to the implementation of UNSCR 1540.
36. As it puts increasing emphasis on a comprehensive approach towards security, UN agencies and humanitarian organisations are becoming more important for the Alliance. Experiences in Afghanistan and the Balkans demonstrate that the international community needs to improve the existing co-ordination if it wants to successfully address the security challenges of today and tomorrow. Effective implementation of a comprehensive approach requires the co-operation of and contributions from all major actors, including NGOs and relevant local bodies. To this end, it is essential for all major international players to apply the spectrum of available civil and military instruments in a concerted effort that takes into account their respective strengths and mandates.
37. The relationship between the Alliance and the UN is likely to develop further, particularly as both organisations signed a joint UN/NATO Declaration in September 2008 which allows for the development of a more formalised and structured relationship between the two. The joint UN/NATO Declaration could allow for smoother, more continuous co-operation, which has thus far taken place on a case-by-case basis. This is particularly relevant for UN-led missions as it allows for a more profound, comprehensive, in-time co-operation between the two organisations. The formalised relationship could also further the NATO-UN co-operation in security sector reform. It involves the implementation of police and defence reforms, areas in which the UN is involved of the former, while NATO has considerable expertise of the latter. In addition, NATO's knowledge and experience in other areas, such as destruction of small arms, de-mining funding mechanisms and the rotation of forces, could be made available to the UN. The UN could also benefit from increased access to NATO training facilities. There may be limits to a more structured and effective NATO-UN relationship as some Allies consider the formalisation and deepening of NATO’s relations with the UN, the OSCE, and other organisations as inconsistent with its traditional focus on collective defence and military operations.
38. As to the further improvement of the relationship between the Alliance and other international actors, NATO’s comprehensive approach is an important step in the right direction. Moreover, a number of additional measures could be envisaged. In this context, a number of suggestions have been made, for example:
- holding regular meetings with the EU and the UN to discuss current operations, thereby allowing for pre-operational planning conferences and the development of improved, coordinated public information policies;
C. NEW THREATS AND CHALLENGES
39. NATO leaders stated that the transformation of the Alliance would continue to ensure that the Allies are better prepared to counter evolving security threats. The main security challenges today include the proliferation of WMD and missile technology, threats to cyber security as well as to the integrity of energy supplies and transport links. Past NATO Summits have already recognised the need for close transatlantic co-operation to counter these evolving dangers. In Bucharest, NATO leaders undertook a number of steps that identify the role of the Alliance in these areas. In this context they endorsed an Alliance role in energy security and a commitment to work on cyber security issues. Moreover, they endorsed plans for the development and deployment of a US Ballistic Missile Defence system, which have since been signed by the US, Czech and Polish governments. The agreement put to rest an ongoing debate among Allies over concerns about the possible impact on relations with Russia.
40. In recognition of the increasing importance of information technology for security and following a series of internet attacks on Estonian government websites last year, the Bucharest Summit also adopted a policy on cyber defence. The policy emphasises the need for the protection of key information systems in accordance with the respective responsibilities of NATO member states; sharing best practices; and providing a capability to assist Allied nations, upon request, to counter a cyber attack.
41. The Alliance should consider its potential added value and role in securing energy supplies. In Bucharest, NATO leaders adopted a report on “NATO’s Role in Energy Security”, which outlined the options and recommendations for further NATO activities, including: information and intelligence fusion and sharing; projecting stability; advancing international and regional cooperation; supporting consequence management; and supporting the protection of critical energy infrastructure. Moreover, while Allies will continue to consult on the most immediate risks in the field of energy security, both energy security and cyber defence remain the domains of individual member states, and the role of the Alliance will be limited.
42. In addition to cyber defence and energy security, NATO's possible role in civil protection and homeland defence should be discussed as part of a general reflection on the future of the Alliance. That is because the increased emergence of the global threat of terrorism, and the possible results of climate change, or policies for the protection of civilian populations against disasters and other emergencies, have gained a new prominence.
43. Even though NATO forces dispose of an overwhelming advantage in firepower over the insurgents in Afghanistan, the Allies have not yet been able to defeat the Taliban. The insurgents are adept at applying effective asymmetric strategies and their communication campaigns use a range of tools to influence opinion nationally and internationally. In contrast, ISAF’s public diplomacy has not been effective and the Alliance must urgently address this problem. In asymmetric conflicts, like the one in Afghanistan, perceptions are vital to win the “hearts and minds” of the population. The insurgents do not have to win militarily; they only need to avoid defeat long enough to lose the confidence of the international community in ISAF.
44. NATO’s operations in Afghanistan, Kosovo and elsewhere require stable, long-term support both domestically as well as in the recipient countries. The decision for NATO to engage in Afghanistan was accompanied by overly optimistic expectations about possible progress in rebuilding Afghanistan. Mounting casualties, difficulties in securing parts of the country, particularly the South and the East, and a host of other problems, such as opium production, have generated a lot of negative media coverage. Because many Allied governments and parliaments did not sufficiently prepare their publics for the likelihood of combat operations, public support for NATO operations has suffered.
45. In Bucharest, NATO leaders recognised the importance of “appropriate, timely, accurate and responsive communication with local and international audiences in relation to NATO’s policies and engagement in international operations.” The communiqué rightly emphasised that credibility is a crucial element of effective public diplomacy. It is important that NATO devotes sufficient resources to follow up. In addition, public diplomacy efforts can be enhanced by enabling representatives of other international security organisations to participate in training activities. Also, observers have proposed the creation of a shared, central database to avoid duplication in areas where NATO and other international organisations are engaged, such as light arms disposal activities and border security management.
46. It is also a welcome, and indeed necessary, development that co-operation between NATO and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly has improved. Parliaments and parliamentary debates over NATO operations provide transparency, which is central to informing our publics about the challenges of intervention as well as non-intervention. The NATO PA adds a crucial international aspect to this discourse. Moreover, through its broad range of activities it makes an important, if often overlooked, contribution to NATO’s public diplomacy efforts. The Rapporteur is convinced that there is an even greater potential for synergy and would therefore encourage further deepening of the co-operation between NATO and NATO PA.
47. The conflict in Georgia has important implications for NATO’s political agenda. The most immediate implication of the conflict has been on the current NATO-Russia relationship. The response of NATO Allies and NATO as an organisation to the Russian military intervention has been measured but firm. As an immediate response, NATO decided that meetings of the NATORussia Council (NRC) would be temporarily suspended until the Russian troops left Georgia proper. The important issue is how the NATO-Russia relationship will further develop and the Allies need to discuss what kind of relationship is desirable as well as feasible. In the view of the Rapporteur, close co-operation between Russia and NATO is both preferable and necessary, but NATO should not forfeit its values or take decisions at the expense of its partners. In the past, Russia also has acted as a partner, and the loan of four billion Euros to Iceland in the midst of the financial crisis is a recent example. However, in response to NATO’s reaction, the Russian Federation is also conducting a review of its relations with NATO and has announced that it would suspend military co-operation with the Alliance.
48. Partnerships: The Georgia conflict also had an immediate impact on NATO Partnerships insofar as NATO Foreign Ministers decided to upgrade the NATO-Georgia relationship by creating a NATO-Georgia Commission. It is unclear if, or how, the war in Georgia will influence NATO’s other partnerships. Some NATO partner countries, like Sweden and Finland, have indicated an interest in developing closer relations with the Alliance. Russia may opt for a more assertive policy towards NATO partner states, particularly the Community of Independent States (CIS) countries, and try to weaken their relations with NATO. Regardless, NATO Allies will have to consider an appropriate policy response that must not be reactive to Russia, but should reflect the values and the strategic interests of the Alliance.
49. Frozen Conflicts: The Russian recognition of the Georgian provinces South Ossetia and Abkhazia is also likely to strengthen separatist ambitions in other unresolved conflicts, particularly in Transnistria and Nagorno Karabakh. In the past, Moscow has supported the separatists in Transnistria and critics suggest that it is using it as a lever in trying to strengthen its hold on Moldova and to bring it further into Russia's sphere of influence.
50. Enlargement: Another question stemming from the current situation in the NATO-Russia relationship is how NATO will continue its Open Door policy, particularly with regard to Georgia and Ukraine. In Bucharest, NATO leaders have declared that both countries will join the Alliance one day. Has the war in Georgia diminished Georgia’s chances, and perhaps also those of Ukraine, to join NATO or have these events helped accelerate the process of accession? While NATO enlargement is not directed against Russia and MAP was not conceived to irritate Moscow, we must note that the latter perceives this differently. To date, the intervention in Georgia has enjoyed broad public support among the Russian population and reinforced nationalistic tendencies in Russia. The enlargement of the Alliance is intended to strengthen the security of NATO member states and to further stabilise the Euro-Atlantic area.
51. Article 5 is central to NATO’s contribution of an Open Door policy. The Russian military intervention in Georgia is a reminder that Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, the defence of NATO member countries against armed attack, remains the centrepiece of the Alliance. Will further enlargement make the Alliance stronger or will it bring it new challenges and risks to its security? Moreover, if the defence against armed attack no longer appears a remote risk, what level of resources and priority should NATO devote to “out-of-area” operations? NATO’s increased focus on operations remains valid, but NATO member states also need to discuss and agree upon a proper balance between operations and the ability to defend against outside attack. This is particularly relevant for those countries which maintain only limited armed forces of their own, like the Baltic states, and which are geographically more exposed to security threats. In this context, the Allies also need to revisit the issue of burden sharing and of defence spending.
52. Energy security: The Alliance can assist NATO members on the issue of energy security by providing a broad array of tools and political solidarity, including mechanisms for threat assessment and sharing of intelligence information. Russia has repeatedly used oil and gas for strategic political gain. According to a report by the Swedish Defence Research Agency, out of 55 deliberate gas supply interruptions, explicit threats, or coercive price actions by Russia since 1991, only 11 were unrelated to politics. While European Allies want and need to continue cooperation with Russia, they also are looking to diversify their supply. Both Caspian Basin oil and gas producers and European customers have wanted oil and gas export pipelines from that region to bypass Russia. However, the Russian military intervention in Georgia has also has made the prospect of transporting oil through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and other non-Russian routes seem less advantageous.
53. New Threats: The present tension between NATO and Russia over Georgia also raises the question of how effective NATO Allies will be in addressing new threats, such as the proliferation of WMD, Russian missile defence, terrorism and cyber attacks. Addressing these new threats requires close co-operation with as many partners as possible.
54. NATO’s short- and medium term agenda will be dominated by the operations in Afghanistan and the Russian military intervention in Georgia. As to Afghanistan, the security situation in the country is continually worsening by almost any measure and there is no clear end in sight to the deterioration. To succeed in Afghanistan, we need a more effective and efficient Afghan government, a better co-ordination of international assistance, and regional stability, particularly in the Afghan-Pakistani relationship. Additional troop commitments, particularly by the United States, help to address shortcomings, but it is unclear if they will be sufficient. NATO Allies must also address the issue of a more equitable burden sharing lest they want to risk a rift amongst themselves. Some Allies contribute more than their due, while others could still do more. Therefore, existing mismatches must be rectified. Moreover, while NATO is on the right track with its comprehensive approach to security it remains to be seen if this can be implemented effectively. The signing of the joint UN/NATO Declaration is reason for optimism, but closer NATO-EU co-operation is pending as is more effective co-ordination with NGOs. A continuing major problem is the inefficiency as well as the lack of accountability of the Government of Afghanistan. The Allies, and the international community, must urgently address this problem and should not shy away from using their diplomatic as well as financial leverage clout, if necessary, to advance political reforms in Afghanistan.
55. The deterioration of the NATO-Russia relationship, following Moscow’s military intervention into Georgia in early August, has important implications for the political agenda of the Alliance. As a result of its actions, Russia is now perceived more as of an imponderable rather than a key ally. The war in Georgia has highlighted the continued importance of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. Some Allies have suggested that there is a need for putting greater emphasis on its core function, the territorial defence of its members, by earmarking more resources for contingency planning and exercises. In addition, NATO needs to have a more open and realistic debate about its ties with Russia. Improvements in the NATO-Russia relationship will depend on the degree to which both sides consider co-operation necessary and desirable. In the view of the Rapporteur, the Alliance should try to work as closely as possible with Russia. However, NATO cannot reengage with Russia until the latter does not fully implement the agreements brokered by the French EU Presidency on 12 August and 8 September 2008.
56. Finally, NATO needs to define its priorities in the changing security environment. Although the Alliance has adapted and expanded its portfolio and may need to take on a few additional roles as outlined above, it cannot tackle all new security challenges. As an organisation the Alliance must address three main issues. First, it must improve its collective military-operational performance. Second, it needs to further develop the relations with other international actors so that its military contributions to peace and security are seamlessly “embedded” in a broader international framework. Third, NATO should identify and address new areas where it can provide added value to tackle future threats. A revision of the 1999 Strategic Concept is therefore needed. In the view of the Rapporteur, this would not require radical policy changes. Rather, it is necessary to update and streamline NATO’s Strategic Concept of 1999 and the Comprehensive Political Guidance (CPG) agreed upon at the 2006 Riga Summit. We need a concise and comprehensive document that charters NATO’s future roles and missions and explains this to our populations and partners. A new Strategic Concept should also reflect that NATO complements its ongoing military transformation with a profound political transformation that is geared towards improved policy co-ordination among the Allies, as well as with Partners and International Organisations.
* Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.