Recasting NATO's Strategic Concept

Recasting NATO's Strategic Concept: Possible Directions for the United States

Christopher S. Chivvis
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 52
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  • Book Info
    Recasting NATO's Strategic Concept
    Book Description:

    The revision of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's strategic concept offers an excellent opportunity to build an alliance capable of addressing the shared problems that its member states face. To spur debate over concrete problems, this paper examines five possible future directions for the alliance.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4945-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Summary
    (pp. ix-xii)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    Two decades after the end of the Cold War, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization faces a security environment that, while radically changed in nature, remains daunting and complex. To make matters worse, economic forces could aggravate many challenges while simultaneously constraining allies’ means of addressing them. In these circumstances, the importance of working with allies to manage and mitigate their common security problems is paramount. Absent the overweening threat of the Soviet Union, however, allied cooperation has grown less certain. NATO must thus strive persistently to ensure that it remains useful and relevant and that member states share a broadly...

  9. CHAPTER TWO Direction 1: Refocus on Europe
    (pp. 5-8)

    In several European capitals, there is a growing—though by no means dominant—chorus of voices who would like to see NATO refocus on Europe.

    Although NATO has gone out of area repeatedly since the end of the Cold War, these missions have proven more and more challenging for the alliance as their distance from Brussels increases. Meanwhile, the Balkans—especially Kosovo, but also Bosnia and Herzegovina and even Macedonia—continue to evince often troubling levels of instability.

    Moreover, Russia’s future appears increasingly uncertain. Although Russia is not a major security threat, its recent invasion of Georgia creates obvious problems...

  10. CHAPTER THREE Direction 2: A New Focus on the Greater Middle East
    (pp. 9-12)

    NATO allies share major interests in the greater Middle East, the region that stretches from the Sahara to Pakistan. A new focus on the greater Middle East would develop NATO resources in support of the shared goals of defeating al Qaeda, managing the Iranian nuclear threat, and ensuring the flow of energy from the Persian Gulf. It would also permit continued focus on Afghanistan.

    If alliances are based on interests, the greater Middle East is where the most common interests of NATO’s members are threatened, and it thus makes sense that NATO should focus on it. Member states’ interests in...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Direction 3: A Focus on Fragile States
    (pp. 13-16)

    Since the end of the Cold War, the problems created by failed and fragile states have repeatedly led to military interventions. They are likely to do so again, whether for humanitarian reasons, as in Darfur, or for narrower security reasons, as in Somalia. The burdens of these interventions will obviously be more evenly shared if they are undertaken under a NATO rather than U.S. or coalition-of-the-willing format. With NATO, such interventions may also be more effective for political reasons.

    By focusing on state fragility, the alliance would work to develop robust capabilities for effective intervention in failed states whenever NATO...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Direction 4: A Focus on Nonstate Threats
    (pp. 17-20)

    Nonstate threats are growing in importance, and NATO could agree to take major new steps to combat them. Moreover, defense against most nonstate threats requires international cooperation, and NATO, as the world’s leading international security organization, is well suited to the task. A NATO focused on nonstate threats could be expected to make a greater contribution to fighting terrorist groups, combating WMD proliferation, defending member states against cyberattacks, and fighting a range of problems stemming from global organized crime. A NATO role in homeland security and disaster management might even be included under this general rubric.

    As long as strategies...

  13. CHAPTER SIX Direction 5: A Global Alliance of Liberal Democracies
    (pp. 21-24)

    By any measure, NATO is modern history’s longest-standing military alliance. Arguably, its durability springs from the fact that it is not only a classical alliance of interests but also an alliance rooted in common values. That the alliance endures two decades after the end of the Cold War supports this view. To be effective in the future, the alliance might therefore choose to focus on defending its common values. Doing so in today’s context would require putting geography aside and enlarging the alliance to include liberal democratic countries around the globe.

    A gradual enlargement of NATO to include Australia, New...

  14. CHAPTER SEVEN Conclusions
    (pp. 25-28)

    The difficulties raised in the foregoing analysis should serve as a healthy reminder of the challenges NATO faces in revising its strategic concept. The differences in strategic vision, not only between the United States and Europe but also within Europe itself, make the task of identifying an intellectually coherent vision for the alliance extremely challenging. Clearly, no one of the directions outlined here will alone suffice. Some combination will be necessary. Yet, each direction poses problems, and, while more directions means more opportunities for bargains within the alliance, going in several directions at once also means a greater overall number...

  15. APPENDIX Summary Tables
    (pp. 29-32)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 33-36)