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  • 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: Michael Ruhle
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Environmental change1 is increasingly recognised as one of the major factors that will shape the global se- curity environment. According to most experts, rising global temperatures will lead to rising sea levels and cause more extreme weather events, such as storms, flooding, droughts and wildfires.2 The firestorms that engulfed parts of Australia in late 2019 and early 2020, burning an area the size of Belgium and Denmark com- bined, and severely decimating that continent’s wildlife, were a stark reminder of the force of these changes. While the causal relationship between environmental change and conflict is difficult to establish, there have been arguably several conflicts where environmen- tal change has acted as a trigger, notably Darfur and Somalia. Even the beginning of the Arab Spring has been related to environmental change: unrest erupted because of increasing food prices, which in turn were the result of several bad harvests attributed to climate change.3 In general, there is a widely held assumption that environmental change could lead to food and wa- ter shortages, pandemic diseases, mass migration, and humanitarian disasters.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Environment, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Dominik P. Jankowski
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Over the last decade, energy security has become a permanent element of NATO’s strategic thinking, integrated into numerous NATO policies and activities. In fact, restoring the prominence of energy security within the Alliance was not easy, especially as this policy was considered primarily a question of national security in the post-Cold War era. It was only at the 2008 Bucharest Summit that NATO was given a dedicated, yet limited, mandate to work in this field. The mandate – based on a set of principles and guidelines – included information and intelligence sharing, cooperation on consequence management, and support for the protection of critical energy infrastructure. In NATO’s 2010 Strategic Concept, Allies empha- sized that they “will ensure that NATO has the full range of capabilities necessary to deter and defend against any threat to the safety and security of our pop- ulations. Therefore, [they] will develop the capacity to contribute to energy security, including protection of critical energy infrastructure and transit areas and lines, cooperation with partners, and consultations among Allies on the basis of strategic assessments and contingency planning”.2 For the first time, energy security was clearly linked to NATO’s core business of deterrence and defence.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, 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: Stephen J. Mariano
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: NATO created the Strategic Direction South – the “Hub” – in 2017, in response to illegal migration into Europe from war-torn Libya, Syria, and Iraq, highlighting humanitarian and internal security concerns. As evidence began to emerge that criminal organizations and terrorist groups were lever- aging migration flows, these fears coalesced with other security concerns, not only disrupting the stability of European societies but also threatening the security of the Alliance. Eventually, NATO recognized that the situation was connected to deeper sources of instabil- ity and that solutions would require a comprehensive approach to the southernmost parts of “the South”. As the Hub matures, and NATO continues its ad- aptation campaign, a reorientation of the Hub could improve NATO’s ability to project stability and thus better serve the Alliance. Accordingly, this Policy Brief suggests clarifying the Hub’s role, revisiting the “no du- plication rule”, and redirecting NATO’s focus in the South. Unlike some other recommendations which suggest allocating more resources to the Hub,1 this brief recommends trimming the edges of the Hub’s geography and narrowing its mission as ways of in- creasing trans-Atlantic security and contributing to Al- liance cohesion.
  • Topic: NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Collective Defense
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, Middle East, North America
  • Author: Andrea Gilli
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Thanks to their higher speed, larger data volume, lower latency, and capacity to sustain very high density-connections (including machine-to-ma- chine communications), 5G networks are set to unleash a major economic revolution, potentially adding tril- lions of dollars to the global economy (at least accord- ing to recent forecasts).1 From smart cities to Artificial Intelligence (AI); telemedicine to driverless cars; virtual reality to the Internet of Things (IoT); Industry 4.0 to all manner of applications that will comprise this new ecosystem, 5G ushers in enormous opportunities. 5G communications still require significant investments, both for research and development of key technolo- gies, and for building the supporting infrastructure. Moreover, the next generation of telecommunications raises several important questions about the political economy of spectrum allocation and standard defi- nition, their military applications, the role of Chinese companies and the attendant cybersecurity risks. These are all relevant topics for NATO from which the Alli- ance can draw some strategic lessons.
  • Topic: NATO, Regional Cooperation, Digital Economy, Internet, Collective Defense
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Paul Beckley
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Since the end of the Cold War and after the 9/11 attacks, globalization has not replaced Great Powers’ competition as some predicted but, progressively, it has accelerated it. Such competition has been driven by advanced technology, which po- tentially preludes the next revolution in military af- fairs. Competition among nations is nothing new, but in contrast to the industrial era, in the digital age it is not just about the number of tanks, ships, aircraft and brigades. It is also about the control of networks, platforms and software. This represents an important transformation: norm-setting in these technical do- mains will yield significant geopolitical returns. In the realm of technology, standards are tantamount to the rules of the game. The economic importance of standards in govern- ing global industry, information, logistics and supply chains in an enduring way is well established. Nations have long used standards to gain geopolitical traction, and the increasing pace of technological change is making such control even more pressing.
  • Topic: NATO, Globalization, Regional Cooperation, War on Terror, Collective Defense
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America