EU, NATO, and European Security Essay

EU, NATO, and European Security Essay

To begin with, it is important to mention that there exists an opinion that the founders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization had the single aim to make a response to the threat posed by the USSR. However, such opinion seems to be only partially true. The current research shows that the Alliance’s creation was part of a significant effort to serve three purposes such as forbidding the revival of cruel nationalist militarism in Europe through a strong military North American presence on the continent, deterring Soviet expansionism, and encouraging European political integration (Collins, 2011). Obviously, the main aim of the current paper is to describe the key policies and strategies, which NATO uses in order to encourage European political integration since the 1980s, after the beginning of the political decline of the Soviet Union (Smith, 1990).

It is necessary to note that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a regional defense alliance specially created by the North Atlantic Treaty. This organization has a long story of the development due to the complicated political relations in the 20th century (Collins, 2011). Obviously, throughout the human history the world faced major wars that have taken place between various nations, races, and countries. Undoubtedly, it was hard to find the resolution of these conflicts. Therefore, the aftermath of most of the military confrontations has been devastating in social and economic perspective. Thus, the world needs the presence of some peacemaking organizations, which could prevent the humanity from different awful bloody conflicts. A close look at the data indicates that the members of the North Atlantic Treaty alliance agree to protect one another from attack by terrorist groups or other nations. Evidently, NATO has its head office in Belgium, Brussels. The original signers of the treaty were Canada, Denmark, France, Belgium, Iceland, The Netherlands, Norway, Italy, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, Portugal, and the United States. Greece and Turkey entered the alliance in 1952, West Germany or GDR in 1955, and Spain in 1982. Thus, in 1990 the newly united Germany replaced GDR as a NATO member. Over the decades, the endurance of NATO influenced on the strengthening of the links among its countries-members and to a growing community of interests. The main idea of this community is that if some country, especially the Soviet Union would try to declare war or to infringe the rights of any country, which is the member of the NATO, the entire organization would also declare war to this opponent. It means that all the countries that signed up to be in NATO would watch their community friends’ backs and help them as well. Furthermore, the treaty has provided a model for other qualitatively new collective security agreements. Therefore, NATO activities are no longer small only to the European continent. In 2003, NATO took up various peacekeeping activities outside of Europe by deploying terroristic troops in Afghanistan for the first time in its history (Auerswald, 2014). Some experts argue that the North Atlantic treaty tries to express the idealism and practical resolutions of the nations.

The current research analyzes the NATO strategies and key policies after the beginning of the demise of the Soviet Union. Obviously, by the beginning of the 1980s, most international observers believed that the Soviet Communism had lost the long-term intellectual battle with the West. Evidently, dissidents had dismantled the ideological supports of Soviet regimes. Moreover, the situation in the USSR became worse due to the Soviet Union’s neglecting of the human rights principles. Thus, by the late 1980s, the communist government of Poland had to negotiate with the formerly repressed trade union “Solidarity” and its main leader, Lech Wałęsa. As a result, many other democratic activists in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe began to demand those very rights. Furthermore, by this time, command relations and economies in Warsaw Pact were disintegrating. History shows that the Soviet Union was spending three or four times as much as the U.S. on defense with an economy that was half the size. The new leader of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev came to power with the intention of reforming the communist system. However, his actions lead to the final destruction of the Soviet Union. When the East German soviet regime began to collapse in 1989, the USSR troops did not intervene, reversing the Brezhnev Doctrine. At the same time, the Soviets chose long-run economic and political reform over a short-run control that was beyond their capabilities, setting in motion a sequence of events, which led to the break-up of the Warsaw Pact (Duignan, 2000).

Without any doubts, the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 1989 seemed to proclaim a qualitatively new era of democracy, open markets, and peace. Therefore, Allies reacted with incredulous joy as demonstrators overthrew communist governments. Nevertheless, here were also frightening uncertainties. It was important to understand what a united Germany would choose in the political aspect, would it be neutral or not. The question of nuclear weapons in former Soviet republics also played a huge role in the understanding of the future of the entire planet. Furthermore, NATO had an existential question of its own being. Obviously, it was uncertain, if there exists any further need for the Atlantic Alliance.

Evidently, NATO endured despite the disappearance of the primary goal. The Soviet Union was no more, but the Alliance’s two other original aims held. It means that NATO could continue to deter the rise of militant nationalism and to care about the foundation of collective security that could encourage political integration and democratization in Europe. Furthermore, the definition of “Europe” had significantly expanded eastward. It means that NATO had possibilities to find new members in order to increase its influence.

The first problem of NATO was the problem of united Germany (Duignan, 2000). Obviously, before the consolidation of security and peace could begin, it was important to define the political route of Germany. However, the incorporation of a re-unified Germany into NATO put this most destructive and ancient of dilemmas to rest.

The data yielded by this study provides convincing evidence that in 1991 NATO was to be the foundation stone for a pan-European security architecture. Thus, the Allies established the North Atlantic Cooperation Council in December 1991. Evidently, this forum brought the Allies together with Eastern European, Central European, and Central Asian neighbors for joint consultations. A close look at the data illustrates that many of these newly liberated potential partners saw a relationship with NATO as extremely important and fundamental to their aspirations for democracy, stability, and European integration. Moreover, cooperation also extended southward. The Alliance founded the Mediterranean Dialogue in 1994. This dialogue united NATO with non-member Mediterranean countries such as Mauritania, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Tunisia. The main aim of the Dialogue was to contribute to security and stability in the region through better mutual understanding.

The current research shows that the historical events tested this fledgling cooperation soon. The collapse of the communist ideology had given way to the rise of ethnic violence and nationalism, particularly in the former Yugoslavia. Firstly, Allies hesitated to intervene in a Yugoslav civil war. However, later the conflict worsened and cruel ethnic cleaning started. Thus, the Alliance decided to act. Evidently, NATO offered its full support to UN efforts to end war crimes and human rights prosecutions, including direct military action in the specific form of a naval embargo. Nevertheless, soon the enforcement of a no-fly zone led to serious airstrikes against heavy weapons violating United Nations resolutions. Finally, NATO carried out a nine-day air campaign in 1995, which played a major role in ending the conflict. Thus, in December of that year, Allies deployed a multinational, UN-mandated force of sixty thousand soldiers to help implement the peace agreement and to create the conditions for a long-term and self-sustaining peace. The conflict waned, and NATO handed over this role to the European Union in 2004.

As a result, the Yugoslav conflict and other contemporaneous conflicts in Georgia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and elsewhere showed that the post-Cold War power vacuum was a serious source of dangerous instability. It means that it was important to strengthen the mechanisms for partnership in a way that would allow various non-NATO countries to cooperate with the Alliance in order to reform still-evolving military and democratic institutions and to relive their strategic isolation. Obviously, it was the first solid strategic policy of NATO during the discussed period. As part of this evolving effort, NATO created the specific Partnership for Peace program in 1994. This Partnership for Peace allowed various non-NATO countries to share information with Allies and to modernize their militaries in appliance with modern democratic standards. According to the PFP, Partners could choose their personal level of involvement with NATO. Obviously, the path to full membership remained completely open to those who decided to pursue it.

Finally, this strategic process reached an important milestone at the Washington Summit in 1999, when Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic took their seats as full NATO members following their completion of a military and political reform program. Through this enlargement, NATO had played an essential role in consolidating stability and democracy in Europe. However, even before the new Allies became the members of NATO in Washington, a new crisis had already appeared. Thus, by the end of 1998, over thirty hundred thousand Kosovar Albanians had fled their places of living during conflict between Serbian military and police on one side and Albanian separatists on the other in Kosovo. As the result, following the failure of international efforts to resolve the crisis, the Alliance conducted military support, made air strikes for seventy-eight days, and flew thirty-eight thousand sorties with the goal of allowing a peacekeeping force to enter Kosovo in order to prevent ethnic cleansing in the region. NATO suspended its military air campaign on 4 June 1999, after confirming that a constant withdrawal of the Serbian army from Kosovo had begun. Obviously, the deployment of the specific military detachment of NATO-led Kosovo Force followed shortly thereafter. NATO continues to deploy KFOR today in order to help maintain a secure and safe freedom of movement and environment for all citizens, irrespective of their ethnic origin.

A close look at the data indicates that NATO’s experiences in Kosovo and Bosnia demonstrated that NATO had a strategic aim to enforce a European peace. Evidently, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, NATO was a static organization whose existence was enough to deter the Soviet Union. However, Balkan intervention began the Alliance’s inner transformation into a more responsive and dynamic organization.

Accordingly, the Alliance adopted a qualitatively new Strategic Concept describing the Alliance’s priorities and purpose. In the context if this adoption, the Alliance also classified most previous Strategic Concepts. Thus, they noticed that in 1991, the Alliance had issued a Concept in the wake of the Soviet Union’s decline. Obviously, the new Concept that followed in 1999 mentioned that since the end of the Cold War and the decline of a communist aggression, the world had come to face new risks to Euro-Atlantic security and peace, including ethnic conflict, economic distress, oppression, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the collapse of political order. Evidently, these words would soon prove prescient.

History shows that the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center demonstrated to the Allies that the political disorder in various distant parts of the globe could probably have terrible consequences at home. Thus, sub-state actors such as al-Qaida terrorist group had used the territory of Afghanistan as a base to export instability and fear to the industrialized world, adopting hijacked airliners with terrorists on the board as improvised weapons of mass destruction in order to kill thousands of civilians (Auerswald, 2014). Furthermore, subsequent attacks, including cruel bombings of the Madrid commuter train system and the public transport system in London made clear that violent extremists were determined to destroy civilian populations.

It was essential for NATO to prevent the world from this danger. It was a time for creating some new plans and strategies. Thus, in the aftermath of the September attacks, a coalition of countries, which included many NATO Allies, intervened in Afghanistan. Evidently, the goal of the mission, which had a name of Operation Enduring Freedom, was to destroy the bases of al-Qaida and to detain as many al-Qaida leaders as it was possible. The operation was successful and in December 2001, following the fall of the Taliban regime, Security Council Resolution authorized the deployment of a specific military detachment named International Security Assistance Force. It had to be a multilateral force in and around Kabul with an aim to help stabilize the country and create the necessary conditions of a self-sustaining peace. NATO took over coordination and command of ISAF in August 2003.

At the same time, NATO continued to build new partnerships and to accept members. Thus, the international diplomacy influenced the establishment of the NATO-Russia Council in 2002. Since that time, the individual NATO member states and the Russian Federation could work as equal partners on various security issues of common interest. Furthermore, the Alliance launched the specific Istanbul Cooperation Initiative in 2004. It was a way of offering practical security cooperation to countries of the Middle East region. Finally, subsequent rounds of constant enlargement brought more Allies into the fold such as Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, and Romania in 2004, and Croatia and Albania in 2009.

The data yielded by this study provides evidence that in Afghanistan, as in Kosovo and Bosnia, Allies have found that military power seems no longer to be enough to secure any tangible victory. Thus, peacekeeping has become as difficult as peacemaking. The Allied security had entailed the defense of the North Atlantic Allies during the Cold War years; now the definition and understanding of “security” has radically expanded to include the personal freedom from the violent extremism and nation-state failure. For example, much of the world’s attention in 2011 focused on the crisis in Libya where the Alliance played a crucial role in helping to protect citizens under attack from their own government. Obviously, the level of violence used by the Libyan governmental forces against pro-democracy protestors was extremely high, and the international community agreed to conduct collective action. Therefore, the modern NATO’s policies helped to end the Libyan crisis and give hope that reconciliation and reconstruction are possible.

Obviously, successful peacekeeping has come to bring not merely providing a baseline of state security, but assisting in the construction of modernity and contemporary world itself. However, this task is beyond NATO jurisdiction, and the Allies know it (Medcalf, 2012). Evidently, the Alliance is not and cannot be some civilian reconstruction agency, but NATO has a possibility to make a significant contribution in the context of a coherent international response. Thus, in this way, the Alliance’s efforts are as effective as its ability to make partnership with others, and the Alliance must liaise with organizations and countries that can provide expertise and resources in civilian reconstruction. For instance, to achieve a lasting peace in Pristina, Kabul, or Sarajevo, NATO needs the long-term cooperation with other international organizations that can probably bring their superior civil-society-building and reconstruction capabilities to cope with the problem.

It is crucial to mention that in the new NATO Strategic Concept agreed in 2010, the organization committed itself to dealing with any stage of the crisis. It was an all-embracing principle that implies a huge role for cooperative security. The 2010 Strategic Concept named “Active Engagement, Modern Defence” seems to be a very resolute and clear statement on NATO’s core principles and tasks, its current values, the evolving security environment and the strategic objectives for the next decade. Evidently, after having described NATO as a community of values committed to the important principles of individual liberty, human rights, democracy, and the rule of juridical law, it presents NATO’s three core tasks such as collective defense, cooperative security, and crisis management. It also emphasizes the importance of transatlantic consultation, Alliance solidarity, and the need to engage in a long-term process of reform.

The document also describes the current security environment and tries to identify the capabilities and policies, which NATO could use in order to achieve its aims and avoid various threats (Medcalf, 2012). For example, these threats could include the proliferation of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, cyber attacks, terrorism, and various fundamental environmental problems. Obviously, the Strategic Concept also affirms how the Alliance aims to promote international security through global cooperation. According to the document, it could do this by disarmament, non-proliferation efforts, and reinforcing arms control, emphasizing NATO’s open door strategy for all European countries and significantly enhancing its international partnerships in the broad sense of the term. Furthermore, NATO will continue its transformation and reform process. Needless to say that these efforts help to achieve the strategic aim of “Rise of Europe”.

It is essential to note that the modern security environment contains an evolving and broad set of challenges to the security of NATO’s populations and territory. Thus, in order to assure the security, the Alliance will continue fulfilling effectively three core tasks, all of which contribute to safeguarding NATO’s members in accordance with international law. Firstly, it is collective defense. It means that NATO members will always assist each other in case of trouble or attack, in accordance with Article Five of the Washington Treaty. Undoubtedly, that commitment remains binding and firm. Secondly, it is important for NATO to remember about crisis management. NATO has a robust and unique set of military and political capabilities to address the full spectrum of crises, which happen during, before, and after conflicts. NATO will actively employ a mix of those military and political tools to help manage developing crises that could affect Alliance security, before they could escalate into conflicts. Thirdly, the core issue for NATO is cooperative security (Medcalf, 2012). Evidently, various security and political developments beyond the borders of NATO could affect the Alliance. Therefore, the Alliance will engage actively to enhance global security, through partnership with international organizations and relevant countries; by contributing actively to non-proliferation, disbarment, and arms control; and by keeping the doors of membership in the Alliance open to all partners and European democracies that meet basic NATO’s standards.

Taking everything into account, it is possible to conclude that the modern NATO’s strategy is at the heart of the specific comprehensive approach. Without any doubts, geopolitical instability demands complex measures that combine diplomacy, military might, and post-conflict stabilization. Needless to say that only the widest possible coalition of multinational actors can provide elements of all three. Therefore, the Alliance is not only developing security partnerships with various countries across the Gulf region, the Mediterranean, and even the area of the Pacific Ocean, but is also reaching out to other international and non-governmental organizations that have mandates in such areas as governance, development, institution-building, and judiciary reform. For instance, UN-NATO cooperation during the crisis in Libya demonstrated coordination in key areas and inter-institutional dialogue. Moreover, during the operation, NATO also made unprecedented contacts with the political structure of the Arab League, whose support for the overall multinational efforts was essential. Therefore, it is important to mention that it would be extremely important to analyze the activities of NATO in the further future, especially in the aspect of the current conflict with the Russian Federation. Without any doubts, NATO is one of the most influential players in the political global sphere nowadays.  

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Medcalf, Jennifer. (2012).NATO. Oneworld Publications. 272.

Smith, Joseph. (1990).The Origins of NATO. University of Exeter Press. 173.