July - December 2008

"Nato's multiple future scenarios"
31 December 2008 - NRC Handelsblad, Franklin E. van Kappen
The era of globalization has brought social and cultural fragmentation to nations, leading in some cases to violent conflicts and event state failure. Few nations can confront these and other emerging challenges, such as climate change, pandemics, terrorism, and resources scarcity. In an effort to meet the challenges collectively, NATO launched the "Multiple Futures' project a year ago to explore the future possibilities in 10-25 years and provide military advice to aid in strategic decision making. While the end result will not come for some time, much information has already been generated. The security environment of the future remains dangerous and will be more unpredictable as more and more non state actors (NSA's) pose threats to security. Technology and the changing face of combatants will lead to the blending of conventional and irregular warfare. In some cases hybrid warfare will result and state acting in conjunction with NSA's will attack NATO populations, territories and interests. To counter the threat, NATO must employ a variety of military and non-military means, transforming itself "from a defense-based military alliance into a comprehensive political and military security community."
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Post-Soviet security bloc favors cooperation with NATO
18 December 2008 - RIA Novosti
During a statement given at a Russian parliamentary session on Thursday, Nikolai Bordyuzha, Russian Colonel General, identified cooperation between The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and NATO as the potential foundation "of a new security structure." Bordyuzha is also the current Secretary General of the CSTO, a " security grouping comprising the former Soviet republics of Armenia , Belarus , Kazakhstan , Kyrgyzstan , Russia , Uzbekistan and Tajikistan ." Presumably intended to ease NATO-Russia tensions, Bordyuzha also maintained that the CSTO, "may cooperate more actively with NATO on resolving the situation in Afghanistan ."
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U.S. , EU agree on data protection framework
17 December 2008 - Government Computer News, Wyatt Kash
In the hotly debated realm of personal-data access, the United States and the European Union took an important step towards transatlantic cooperation ‘with the declaration of a new set of common principles late last week.' Through a meeting in Washington on Tuesday, The French EU Presidency, the European Commission, and the U.S. Homeland Security, Justice and State departments agreed to a Statement on Information Sharing and Privacy and Personal Data Protection. Although dispute over privacy issues surround this subject, "data security experts generally praised the agreement. "This agreement focuses on data that law enforcement can access," said Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute, "and as such, it solves one major problem."
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Germany tells Russian leader to respect the NATO alliance
24 November 2008 - The Telegraph, Michael Levitin
Emphasizing shared ideology and common interests between the US and the EU, German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged Russia to 'respect the NATO alliance.' In the wake of cooling Russian-NATO ties and the recent Russian-proposed European Security Initiative, which has been identified by some as a proposal designed to undercut the importance of NATO, Steinmeier reminded the world that "[Germany has] uniquely close relations with the United States. We are a member of EU and NATO and we are acting together with our allies." The Foreign Minister went on to call for greater European unity to further the process of strengthening US-EU relations, " Europe 'needs to speak with a clear single voice in foreign policy, which is why we fought for the Lisbon Treaty - and why we still need it.'"
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Rep. Tanner Elected President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly
18 November 2008 - Politics 4 All
US Representative John Tanner from Tennessee was recently elected President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Tanner was given the nod at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly's annual meeting, held from November 14-18 in Valencia , Spain . In an address to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly on Tuesday, Tanner, also a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs stated, "this crucial time, it is imperative that we begin to rebuild our alliances with other NATO nations." Fellow Democrat, President Elect Obama endorsed Tanner stating, "he will work with Congressman Tanner to rebuild relationships with U.S. allies."
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France trumpets EU defenses, key plank for NATO future
11 November 2008 - Eubusiness.com
After hosting EU defense talks in Brussels on Monday, French Defense Minister Herve Morin proclaimed new progress in boosting the European Union's military capacities. Morin called the meeting "a decisive step in the re-launch of European security and defense policy," as participating ministers signed a number of declarations and "letters of intent, including deals on leasing transport aircraft, de-mining, military satellite observation and training schemes." The strengthening of the EU's military and security capacities is seen as a necessary step in the process of reintegrating France into the NATO military command fold. Although the administration has made no guarantees, " France is expected to announce its intent to return fully into NATO at the military alliance's summits in Strasbourg and Kehl in April."
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NATO and Russia Need to Work Together, Says Merkel
11 November 2008 - Deutsche Welle
At a recent conference in Berlin, sponsored by the German Atlantic Society, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer proclaimed, "NATO is at the core of the trans-Atlantic community." It was this overarching theme that dominated a discussion marked by German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, calling for "NATO and Russia to work together in addressing global security concerns." Merkel's comments came after "the European Union had agreed to re-launch its stalled talks with Russia on a wide-ranging partnership pact after negotiations had been frozen following Moscow's brief incursion into neighboring Georgia." Along with her calls for greater EU-Russian cooperation, Merkel also anticipates "strengthening the trans-Atlantic partnership with Barack Obama, who would be attending the April summit for the first time as US President."
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"NATO and EU Continue to Cooperate on Security Issue"
8 November 2008 - Georgian Daily
NATO Secretary General Jaap De Hoop Scheffer and the EU High Representative Javier Solana met to discuss issues of common concern. Topics of discussion included Kosovo and anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia . However, much of the discussion centered on Afghanistan as currently is the highest priority. The chairman of NATO's Military Committee stressed the need for continued cooperation, saying, "Bringing together all the different actors involved in this delicate mission is paramount to achieving success."
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"Murdoch Says NATO Reform Needed, Australia Has Role"
02 November 2008 - Bloomberg, Gavin Evans
During an address given on Sunday for ABC Radio National's Boyer Lecture 2008, media baron Rupert Murdoch called for vital NATO reform. Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corp., which owns Dow Jones, argued for reform to the traditional structuring of The North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Murdoch's remarks placed great emphasis on the potentially important role that Australia might occupy in a revamped NATO. Prescribing an adjustment in the historical demographics of the organization, the broadcast tycoon said, "NATO [should] become a community based less on geography and more on common values. That is the only way NATO will be effective." Originally a regional organization focused on Soviet containment, Murdoch calls for an enlargement in scope, which might build on NATO's current transnational efforts to combat terrorism. Extending membership to like-minded democracies, such as Australia , would improve the effectiveness of NATO's ability to help promote and sustain global peace.
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"Bush Signs NATO Entry Protocols for Albania, Croatia"
25 October 2008 - VAOnews.com, Kent Klein
On Friday, President Bush formally endorsed Albania and Croatia 's bid for entrance into NATO, joining Hungary and Slovakia as the only countries to sign the papers so far. Although this is a major step forward, membership to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization requires the formal approval of all 26 current members. This official sponsorship from the United States is the latest in the administration's efforts to expand NATO membership to countries in the Balkan region. "NATO officials hope Albania and Croatia will be able to participate as full members in the 2009 summit."
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"Martti Ahtisaari Wants Finland in NATO "
11 October 2008 - YLE News
Martti Ahtisaari, former president of Finland , and recent recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, urges Finland to join NATO. Arguing for the move, Ahtisaari described NATO as "a civilian-run defense union that western democracies should support;" as well as, "the optimal channel through which to streamline peacekeeping efforts." Ahtisaari, who spend much of his political career acting as a promoter of peace and a mediator of conflict, emphasizes that a move by Finland to join NATO should not be viewed as a move against Russia .
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"Russia Calls for new European-Atlantic Treaty"
30 September 2008 - AP, Slobodan Lekic
Seeking to restore strategic parity, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called for a new Europaen-Atlantic security treaty. The Russian plan envisions the inclusion of all countries on the "Euro-Atlantic space" as well as all organizations in the security area, including NATO, OSCE, and the European Union. Lavrov explained that the fragmentation of the Cold War-era security structures does not promote true stability and advocated change on a regional and transatlantic basis.
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"Serbia Takes Key Step Towards NATO"
30 September 2008 - BalkanInsight.com
Serbia and NATO will sign a "security agreement" on October 1 which will admit Belgrade as a member of the alliance's Partnership for Peace program. The deal provides for the regulation of how classified information between the two is protected and distributed and provides Serbia with access to all NATO resources within the Program. The Program seeks to improve education of Serbian military and police forces as well as to advance cooperation in military-technical spheres.
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"Defense Ministers from the UK and Hungary on Trans-Atlantic Renewal"
23 September 2008 - The Washington Tims, Des Browne and Imre Szekeres
Des Browne and Imre Szekers, the defense ministers of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Hungary , respectively, make the bid for the renewal of a Trans-Atlantic commitment on the eve of NATO's 60th anniversary. This jointly written piece outlines the responsibility that lies at the feet of the leading members of the free world. Browne and Szekers see the anniversary as an opportunity for NATO "to start redefining its developing role in this new world order [while reaffirming] the vitality of the trans-Atlantic link." Both stress the importance of an equal commitment from United States and the European Allies. Preserving and renewing this trans-Atlantic Alliance is required in today's increasingly interconnected world. Collective Defense, the concept upon which NATO was founded, requires the institution also to "engage outside its core area to contribute to international stability."
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"U.S., Czechs Sign Ballistic Defense Treaties"
19 September 2008 - Australia.To
After months of negotiation, The United States and the Czech Republic recently signed agreements that will allow the United States to build a limited ballistic missile defense system within Czech boarders. Leaders from both countries claim the future arrangement will "aid in the protection of Europe from missiles fired from Iran or other rogue nations." Czech Defense Minister Vlasta Parkanova called the agreement, "a significant contribution to the security of own country, to the security of the Euro-Atlantic region and ... also a significant contribution to the Atlantic Alliance." The finalization of this accord comes in the wake of the complementary US-Polish missile deal signed last month allowing the Americans to construct and maintain 10 interceptor missiles on Polish soil, designed to shoot down a limited number of ballistic missiles.
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"Europeans Increase Support for NATO"
11 September 2008 - The Financial Times, Tony Barber
Results from the recently conducted annual Transatlantic Trends survey showed an increase in public support for NATO. This poll was conducted in 13 nations: 11 European countries as well as the United States and Turkey. "Some 57 per cent of Europeans agreed NATO was essential to their country's security, an increase of four percentage points since 2007. There was a particularly marked rise in support for NATO of 11 points in Spain and seven points each in France and Germany." Experts attribute the latest increase in popularity to reports that NATO leadership has recently made efforts to refocus operations in Afghanistan, emphasizing reconstruction and humanitarian assistance. The poll was conducted prior to the Russia-Georgia conflict; an incident that many expect will elevate public support of NATO even higher.
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"Public Support for Stronger US-EU Partnership on the Rise "
09 August 2008 - Financial Times
The German Marshall Fund's annual public opinion survey examined American and European attitudes toward the transatlantic relationship and current global issues. Headlining the results this year was an increase in the number of Europeans who desire closer ties with the US . "The overall percentage of who felt relations should become closer increased from 27% in 2006 to 31% in 2008. Additionally, the largest percentage of Americans (47%) continued to feel that the partnership should be closer." Other results of note include an increase in public support for NATO: "Fifty-seven percent of Europeans agreed that NATO is still essential to their country's security, an increase of four percentage points from last year."

"NATO Confronts the Bear and Mosquitoes"
20 Aug 2008 - The Washington Times, Yonah Alexander
Despite the recent Caucusian conflict, the US-EU partnership appears intact and more important than ever. The meeting between NATO foreign ministers on Tuesday illustrated an enduring transatlantic commitment to this multinational organization. The fact that this emergency meeting in Belgium produced "a coherent and effective position for the alliance in response to" the situation in Eastern Europe shows a united US - European front. Amid international concerns about the future of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the events of the last ten days make it clear that "the traditional NATO mission is now more relevant than ever."

"U.S. and Poland Set Missile Deal"
15 Aug 2008 - The New York Times, Thom Shanker and Nicholas Kulish
The United States and Poland reached an agreement on Thursday that would allow for the construction of an American missile defense base within Polish territory. The mutually beneficial arrangement, which has been on the negotiation table for eighteen months, calls for " Poland [to] host an American base with 10 interceptors designed to shoot down a limited number of ballistic missiles, in theory launched by a future adversary such as Iran... In exchange for providing the base, Poland would get what the two sides called "enhanced security cooperation," notably a top-of-the-line Patriot air defense system that can shoot down shorter-range missiles or attacking fighters or bombers." A complementary arrangement with the Czech government, which includes "a tracking radar system that would be based in the Czech Republic, has been signed by the country's leaders, and is awaiting debate in the Czech Parliament." Although "The Bush administration, in an attempt to prove its sincerity and transparency, had invited Moscow to join as a partner in a continent-wide missile defense system," Russian leaders still oppose these arrangements. (Read More)

"NATO and Serbia to Sign Agreement"

4 Aug 2008 - Balkin Insight.com
Serbia and NATO will soon come to a security agreement said Serbian Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac and "a senior official of President Boris Tadic's Democratic Party, DS" in Belgrade. The agreement "would open doors for Serbian army officers to access additional training abroad." While not a member of NATO, Serbia is "already a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace Programme, PfP." Despite the increasing depth of the Serbia-NATO relationship, "hostility towards the Alliance persists in the country" as a result of the NATO air strikes in 1999.

President Basescu: 2009 NATO Summit to Strengthen Transatlantic Relations

2 July 2008 - finianciarul.ro
At a conference in Brussels, Romanian President Traian Basescu announced that he expects the upcoming NATO summit to serve as "a catalyst for transatlantic cooperation." He stated that he expects NATO to contribute to "intensifying" relations between the U.S. and the European Union. President Basescu also said that he expects French leadership of the E.U. to lead to "significant developments as regards the harmonization of security approaches" and that strengthening Euro-Atlantic and international peace and security requires compatible E.U. and NATO policies.

 


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