Sunday, May 20. 2012
Posted by Joerg Wolf in European Issues on Sunday, May 20. 2012
A plethora of op-eds in the US and German media argue that the Alliance needs to be rescued, revitalized, resurrected, and reinvented. The think tankers want to reaffirm or renegotiate the transatlantic bargain and look for a revolution to overcome geostrategic irrelevance.
Many editorials and op-eds paint quite a gloomy picture of NATO on the eve of its Chicago Summit. Secretary Rasmussen's signature project Smart Defense is seen most skeptically. A review of eight articles and two Senate testimonies:
1. Patrick Keller and Gary Schmitt, respectively from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and American Enterprise Institute, conclude in the Wall Street Journal op-ed "Revitalizing the Atlantic Alliance" that "NATO's member states must resurrect a shared security vision. The close alignment of its members' fundamental values and interests alone is no substitute for a common understanding of today's security challenges and NATO's plans for meeting them."
They are critical of the Smart Defense initiative:
Kamp is also skeptical about Smart Defense, because it collides with some "harsh political realities":
Thankfully no R-words. On Smart Defense they point out:
Rühe and Weisser outline, however, some welcome suggestions for Smart Defense:
9. Charles Kupchan, Georgetown Professor and Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations:
10. Robert D. Kaplan writes about "NATO's Ordinary Future":
Kaplan has something positive and uplifting to say about Smart Defense and trust in the Alliance:
I guess since he is writing for Stratfor, the article has to overly play up the unlikely scenario of a German-Russian alliance:
In 2008 Stratfor already wrote that "today's Germany closely resembles pre-World War II Germany; it is economically and politically strong, unified and unoccupied, which means it can actually decide whether to align with Russia or the West instead of having the choice made for it, as it was in 1949." Will they ever give up their concern and fear mongering?
Most of these articles and testimonies strike me as decent analyses of NATO's problems with some convincing calls for more commitment to NATO, but many also fall short of providing concrete solutions to help the governments from the NATO member countries to solve these issues and revitalize, reinvent, rescue, resurrect NATO.
All those "R" words suggest either a look back or a reinvention, but instead, we need to go forward and keep our commitments to the ten year plan laid out in the Strategic Concept passed in Lisbon in 2010, which most experts described as a success.
We do not need to save, rescue or reinvent NATO, but rather, to use a different "R" word, reinforce a strong commitment to implement the Strategic Concept faster and more thoroughly.
Joerg Wolf is editor-in-chief of atlantic-community.org.
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