July - December 2006

Outside View: The meaning of global NATO
December 4, 2006 - UPI, Ira Straus
NATO's tag line for last week's Riga summit, "Going Global," is a phrase that invites misunderstanding. It is often taken to mean indiscriminate globalization of NATO. Herewith a primer on its actual multiple layers of meaning. Alliance Membership. "Going global" means: not to bring in all democracies, as is being urged by some enthusiasts with little grounding in Atlanticism, but only those around that world that fit in as part of the evolved historic Atlantic grouping. Specifically, Australia and New Zealand , which have been a part of Atlantic alliances since 1917; and Japan and South Korea , which for decades have been indirect allies and members of extended Atlantic economic structures such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Group of Eight. NATO would have welcomed them during the Cold War if they had wanted to join; for diplomatic reasons they couldn't then, and still can't outright, so they will not become formal members at this stage but partners. (Read More)

Neutral Sweden open to joining NATO rapid reaction force
December 2, 2006 - International Herald Tribune
Sweden favors joining NATO's new rapid-response force as the alliance seeks to strengthen ties with partner nations, the Defense Ministry said Saturday.
"If we receive an invitation we would look at it in a positive light," ministry spokesman Niclas Bengtsson said. "We already have a relationship with NATO and we wouldn't mind strengthening it." NATO leaders declared at a summit in Latvia this week that their 25,000-strong rapid-response force is now fully operational after four years of preparation.

NATO rapid-reaction force gets final green light
November 29, 2006 - Reuters
NATO declared on Wednesday its long-awaited rapid-reaction force was fully ready to take on missions ranging from high-end combat in far-off troublespots to humanitarian relief. The NATO Response Force (NRF), brainchild of former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, will field troops from a pool of up to 25,000 troops at a few days' notice and is the flagship of NATO efforts to revamp itself after the Cold War.
The force, announced at a NATO summit in Latvia, will start with troop commitments "very close" to the 25,000 target after last-minute offers of soldiers, helicopters and other equipment from Turkey, the United States, France, Spain and Germany.
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NATO summit: In area, or in trouble
November 26, 2006 - International Herald Tribune, Daniel S. Hamilton
For the past 15 years, NATO has been driven by the slogan "out of area or out of business." Threatened with irrelevance by its own Cold War success, the alliance reached across the old East-West divide to include 10 new members. It has forged new partnerships with Russia, other former Communist states and key nonaligned nations. It has delivered critical assistance to thousands of Pakistani earthquake victims. It has sent fighters and peacekeepers to trouble spots beyond alliance boundaries, from the Balkans to Afghanistan.
This week, President George W. Bush joins fellow leaders in Riga, Latvia, to tackle the tough challenges facing their expeditionary alliance.
I support NATO's continuing transformation. But the single-minded focus on "out of area" risks diverting us from NATO's enduring "in area" mission to protect North Atlantic nations from armed attack. NATO needs a new balance.
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U.S. "global NATO" plan to get summit thumbs-down
November 24, 2006 - Reuters, Mark John
A U.S. plan to forge a network of partnerships around NATO from Scandinavia to Asia will get the thumbs-down at a summit next week from members wary of the alliance going global, diplomats said on Friday.
NATO leaders meeting in Riga from Tuesday will acknowledge the need to boost contacts with countries such as Sweden, South Korea, and Australia -- some of whom have troops under NATO command in Afghanistan -- but will make no offer of formal ties. Washington argued the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks -- planned by al Qaeda from bases in Afghanistan -- showed that threats could emerge from anywhere in the world, and called on NATO to develop a "security providers" forum of countries keen to combat terror.
Many inside the alliance agree its existing web of post-Cold War partnerships -- including tie-ups with Russia, former Soviet satellites and fledgling links with Middle East and Gulf states -- is in need of a revamp.
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NATO chief's plan takes aim at 'caveats'
November 24, 2006
The head of NATO plans to push for a new rule to force countries to provide troops in "emergencies" in Afghanistan, a measure aimed at delivering desperately needed help to Canada and other countries bearing the brunt of the action in the country's conflict-ridden south.
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the Dutch Secretary-General of the 26-member military alliance, said he was confident that countries such as Germany could be persuaded to assist the isolated Canadian and British forces in the south through a new "emergency" provision to be introduced at a NATO summit in Riga next week. Some countries, such as Germany, have used exemptions in their NATO agreements, known as "caveats," to escape dangerous forms of combat or avoid activity in high-risk regions.

NATO to include counter-terrorism in its role
November 24, 2006 - Reuters
NATO countries will endorse a plan next week to widen the alliance's role to include counter-terrorism, prevention of cyber attacks and security of natural resources, the Financial Times reported on Friday.
The Financial Times said the plan would be signed by the leaders of the 26-nation alliance who are due to meet in Riga, Latvia on November 28-29.
It said NATO should put a premium on "the ability to deter, disrupt, defend and protect against terrorism, and more particularly to contribute to the protection of the alliance's populations, territory, critical infrastructure and forces".
(Read More)

US in push for NATO ties
November 23, 2006
THE US is pushing for NATO to forge closer links with key Western allies including Australia as the organisation expands its military deployments beyond Europe. But Canberra is lukewarm about developing any formal association with the group. Washington wants Australia, Japan and South Korea to become global partners with the 26-member Atlantic alliance, together with two European non-NATO allies - Sweden and Finland . US President George W. Bush is expected to push the idea at a NATO summit meeting in the Latvian capital of Riga next week as NATO becomes more involved in the struggle against Islamist terrorism. Australia already has military ties with NATO through its task group in Oruzgan province in Afghanistan, which comes under overall NATO command.NATO PA calls for deeper involvement of Alliance in energy issues

US to Propose NATO Partnership With South Korea Next Week
November 21, 2006 - Yonhap
The United States will propose that South Korea and four other nations be added as partners to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) at the group's summit next week, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said Tuesday. President George W. Bush will suggest establishing a "program of global partners" that would include South Korea , Japan , Australia , Sweden and Finland to have the Atlantic organization reach out to the Pacific, Burns said at a briefing. They are not being asked to join NATO, nor do they seek to, Burns said."But we seek a partnership with them so that we can train more intensively, from a military point of view, and grow closer to them because we are deployed with them," he said.
(Read More)

NATO PA calls for deeper involvement of Alliance in energy issues
November 17, 2006 - NATO
NATO Parliamentary Assembly advocates a wider role of the Alliance in the making and implementation of energy policies.
Acknowledging that "energy security has moved to the centre of the contemporary strategic and political debate both in the United States and Europe", the Assembly urges member governments "to initiate an Energy Security Dialogue within NATO in order to identify common energy security interests and challenges, and to define those specific areas in which NATO assets and political structures might help reinforce the defense of Western energy interests."
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Poland proposes an EU army tied to NATO
November 5, 2006 - Financial Times, Jan Cienski and Stefan Wagstyl
Poland has proposed the creation of 100,000-strong European Union army tied to Nato for use in global trouble spots or for European defence, according to Lech Kaczynski, the country's president.
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The G8 Gets into Peacekeeping
October 30, 2006 - US Department of State
The Political-Military Bureau's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Security, Michael W. Coulter, spoke today to the 132 members of the third class of stability police trainers to graduate from the Centre of Excellence for Stability Policy Units (COESPU) in Vicenza, Italy. COESPU, a joint effort of the Governments of the United States and Italy, was established in the fall of 2005 as an international training centre designed to fill the "security gap" between military forces and civilian police in peacekeeping operations... COESPU is one of three primary components under the President's five-year Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) that is part of a broader effort agreed to by the G-8 at the 2004 Sea Island Summit to address major gaps in international peace operations... In addition to working with Italy to establish COESPU and train 3,000 stability police trainers by 2010, GPOI's goals include training and equipping over 75,000 peacekeepers worldwide by 2010 and working with G-8 and other partners to develop a transportation and logistics support arrangement designed to address the current gap in deployment and logistics support available to peace operations.

Don't diminish NATO's effectiveness
October 20, 2006 - The Washington Times, Michele Alliot-Marie
Terrorism is spreading in a troubling manner. The risk of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction has increased, while regional crises undermining international security and stability are multiplying...the NATO summit in Riga this November [must bolster] the alliance's solidity in a world that has become uncertain, if not dangerous....NATO's Rapid Reaction Force is a symbol of the alliance's adaptation to new security imperatives and demonstrates its ability to move rapidly to prevent a crisis. Its complete operationality must be endorsed...Today, however, some are questioning the appropriateness of extending NATO's missions in two directions: geographical the development of partnerships with new countries; and functional; conducting operations in the civilian sphere, notably in the reconstruction of countries that have emerged from crises.The development of a global partnership could in fact not only dilute the natural solidarity between Europeans and North Americans in a vague ensemble, but also, and especially, send a bad political message: that of a campaign launched by the West against those who don't share their ideas. What a pretext we would offer to those who promote the idea of a clash of civilizations. It would be perfectly incompatible with our vision of a multipolar world based on dialogue and respect for others. Transforming NATO into an organization whose mission is to rebuild both democracy and a nation's economy corresponds neither to its legitimate mandate nor to its means. We must be very careful not to dilute the alliance through poorly defined missions in which it would lose both its soul and its effectiveness.
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NATO's Renaissance
October 11, 2006 - Foreign Affairs
Last week, NATO assumed command over some 32,000 peacekeeping troops from 37 countries in Afghanistan , including 12,000 U.S. forces in the eastern part of the country. The move confirmed that the half-century-old organization has entered a new era -- and is now facing unprecedented challenges. As Ivo Daalder and James Goldgeier point out in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, NATO is going global, expanding both its geographical reach and the scope of its operations. But, warned Strobe Talbott four years ago, to succeed, the U.S.-dominated organization will have to remain cohesive despite growing rifts between the United States and its other members.
Daalder and Goldgeier, Strobe Talbott

How to keep NATO relevant
October 5, 2006 - International Herald Tribune, Charles A. Kupchan
As next month's NATO summit meeting in Latvia draws near, debate is heating up over how to ready the alliance to meet the challenges of the future. Many of the ideas on the table are impressively bold, envisaging a NATO that not only continues to take in Europe 's new democracies, but also extends its membership and missions well beyond the European heartland. Such expansive proposals might be alluring in their ambition, but they are more likely to lead to NATO's demise than its renewal. With the alliance already overextended in Afghanistan , NATO's current agenda should focus on consolidation, not on pursuing a global agenda that promises only to saddle the organization with an unsustainable range of commitments. Many prominent analysts think NATO should become the go-to organization for the world's most pressing security challenges. By adding countries as far flung as Japan and Australia to its ranks, some say, NATO would enhance its legitimacy and fortify itself with the troop contributions of its many new members. But such visions are woefully divorced from today's strategic realities. To be sure, NATO could use a fresh supply of able soldiers, but it does not need to extend its reach to the Pacific to get them.
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Nato gets more US troops

October 2, 2006 Kabul - Nato will soon assume direct control over most military operations in Afghanistan, a move that will place 12 000 more US troops under its authority, a spokesperson for the alliance said.
The expansion will consolidate military command under top Nato leader British Lieutenant General David Richards and phase out the role of US Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, whose troops will be transferred to Nato, alliance spokesperson Mark Laity said on Sunday in Kabul
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No NATO deal to share quick response force costs
September 30, 2006 - Reuters, Kristin Roberts and Mark John
NATO states have failed to forge an agreement on a scheme to share the cost of the alliance's quick-action response force because some rich members, who already face a bigger bill than poorer allies, do not want to pay more, according to U.S. defense officials. [...] NATO military commanders, including the alliance's top operational commander, U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James Jones, have said the traditional funding scheme is not appropriate for the response force.It proves to be a disincentive for smaller and poorer nations to contribute to missions, even if they have troops available, some officials argue."They're caught square on failure to achieve this ahead of Riga ," said another American military official of the NATO states' defense ministers. A proposal to shift to a shared-costs plan for the response force has been supported by 23 of 26 NATO states, including the United States , the senior U.S. defense official said.
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Resurfacing Transatlantic Tensions
August 11, 2006 - VOAnews.com, Jela de Franceschi
During the past year, the United States and Europe have worked hard to mend relations that were deeply frayed by differences over Iraq . But divergent American and European views are resurfacing over how to handle the crisis in Lebanon and Iran 's nuclear ambitions. Many experts note that since the beginning of President Bush's second term in office, there has been a clear improvement in U.S.-European relations and that both sides have gone out of their way to heal divisions exposed during the debate over the war in Iraq . Charles Kupchan, Director of the Europe Program at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York , says Americans and Europeans looked at the possible weakening of their relations and didn't like what they saw.
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NATO's 21st Century Task: Going From ' Europe ' to 'Global'
August 21, 2006 - Christian Science Monitor, Howard LaFranchi
[...] The fact that the transatlantic alliance has gone in less than a decade from doubts about its purpose to requests for its participation in even the most intractable international disputes - from the Darfur region of Sudan to the recent Mideast war - suggests the pact's transition is considered a success. "It's no longer 'What's its purpose?' when the topic turns to NATO, but rather 'How can we best use it?'" says NATO spokesman James Apathurai. "That's a big transition." But officials say the transition from " Europe " to "global" is still incomplete, with major challenges remaining in areas ranging from capacity for intervention to efficiency and member financial commitments. Some observers worry that demands on NATO are surpassing its abilities and jeopardizing its transition process. [...] [U.S. Ambassador to NATO Victoria ] Nuland says NATO has come a long way since its Balkans intervention in the mid-1990s, including reforms that streamlined military operations. "We've gotten a lot more flexible but there's still a lot of work to do in that regard," she says. For example, she notes that during NATO's bombing campaign against Serbia designed to stop Serbia 's ethnic-cleansing operations, each target had to be approved by NATO's highest decision-making structure, the North Atlantic Council. Now in Afghanistan , operations are more in the hands of a country mission command. [...] This year's [NATO] summit will take up an expansion of cooperation to "global partners", including Japan and Australia , but it is also expected to mark a pause in the 26-country alliance's expansion. [...] NATO officials acknowledge an in-house resistance to an alliance that is too broad in its membership and aims. France expresses concerns about a "weakened core", while others fret NATO could become a "mini UN" with all the inefficiencies and lethargies that comparison entails.
(Read More)

Israel Joins NATO Cataloguing System
August 15, 2006 - Globes.co.il, Amnon Barzilai
Israel joined the NATO cataloguing (codification) system. The IDF Technological and Logistics Directorate will implement the cataloguing procedures in the IDF ahead of the establishment of a national catalogue center. The agreement for Israel 's participation in the NATO cataloguing system was signed in June, after a year of negotiations. Israel is currently an associate member in the system and will obtain full membership within three years. The NATO cataloguing (codification) system is designed to create a uniform framework of inventory and equipment use in all NATO member states.
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NATO Looks to Expand Mission and Membership
July 27, 2006 - Council on Foreign Relations, Lionel Beehner
Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) remain divided on whether to enlarge the alliance and expand its mission further. NATO officials will meet this November in Riga , Latvia to discuss enlarging the organization to include Ukraine and Georgia in addition to the Balkan states of Croatia , Macedonia , and Albania at some further date. Some U.S.-based experts say NATO must enlarge to meet the changing nature of transnational threats, from terrorism to typhoons to turmoil in the Middle East . Yet others say expanding NATO may put too much strain on the alliance, weaken its collective defense mechanism, and needlessly upset Russia , which still harbor suspicions of the Cold-War-era bloc.
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European Institute Says NATO Can Do More For Transatlantic Homeland Security
July 24, 2006 - European Affairs, The NATO Study Group at the National Defense University
Transatlantic cooperation in combating terrorism sometimes raises doctrinal quarrels about what intellectual framework is appropriate in policy-making and what agencies should have the lead role in implementing preventive actions and, if necessary, coordinating the response to a catastrophe. In practice, great strides have been made toward common practices on both sides of the Atlantic in areas of police work ranging from information-sharing on travelers and joint customs work to less public areas such as intelligence-sharing. Some new suggestions are circulating about possible ways to tap into NATO's resources and capabilities to improve measures of homeland defense in the United States and in Europe.
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