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    • Sedivy: New strategic concept will answer the question where does NATO want to be in ten years

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    • Date: 19 May 2010
      In the crowded auditorium 1 at the Faculty of Political Science, on Wednesday, May 19th, NATO Assistant Secretary General Jirgy Sedivy has spoken about the proposition for the new strategic concept of the Alliance. Only two days earlier (May 17th), the group of prominent experts, led by Madeleine Albright presented to the North Atlantic Council its recommendations on the basis of which the new strategic concept will be made and adopted at the NATO summit in Lisbon in November this year. The report is available at:

      http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2010_05/20100517_100517_expertsreport.pdf.

      A number of graduate and undergraduate students, representatives of state administration and civil society interested in the perspectives of security integrations of Serbia have taken part in the discussion, organized by joint efforts of the Faculty of political sciences and Center. The discussion was moderated by the Dean of the Faculty of political sciences, prof. dr Ilija Vujačić, president of the Managing Board of the Center, prof. dr Miroslav Hadžić, and the Director of the Center, mr Sonja Stojanović.

      NATO - global or regional organization?

      The purpose of the strategic concept is, in Sedivy’s words, to answer the question what NATO represents today, and “where” does it want to be in ten years. In his words, the Strategic concept is the most important document since the Washington Treaty, by which the Alliance speaks not only to its friend, but also to its enemies. It will present the “red lines” which none of the actors in the international relations shall be allowed to cross, when it comes to the question of security of the member states. The guest of the Faculty and the Center noticed that the new Strategic Concept emphasizes NATO’s need to become less active as a global actor and to leave the leadership in the parts of the world outside the Euro Atlantic region to other organizations and alliances equipped for similar reactions. He added that, in spite of this tendency, NATO members have to develop the capacities for quick and perhaps long-lasting reactions outside the Euro Atlantic region, in order to answer the threats to core interests of the member countries and to contemporary challenges and risks which travel quickly over long distances. The example of such an action is the ongoing operation in Afghanistan. NATO’s answer to global challenges consists of partnership-building, said Sedivi, illustrating it with the fact that 18 non-members are taking part in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan, along with 28 member countries.

      What are the basic missions and tasks of NATO?

      The challenges which NATO confronts concern the question how to engage military and non-military capacities together, but also the question how to achieve the consensus of member states about the Alliance’s mission itself and what will be its purpose in the future. NATO 2020 will still be an organization of collective security, bearing in mind that the Group of Experts’ recommendation emphasizes the enduring relevance of article 5 of the constitutive treaty. The innovation in the new Strategic concept proposition is the recommendation to use article 4 more often, which stipulates the consultations of member countries about a perceived danger from a wider range of security problems, without the necessary activation of  “musketeer” regulations from article 5. Both the speaker and the moderators have noted that the report with the recommendations for the new concept points out the need for limitation of types of missions and tasks conducted by NATO, so that other organization like OSCE, the EU or the UN could deal with the questions which they are more competent for. Still, the member countries are planning, in the near future,  to develop better and more significant capacities for the so called holistic approach, that is the common engagement of military and civil services, state authorities and nongovernmental organizations in resolving security problems, primarily in the post-conflict environment.

      Interests of the participants in the discussion

      However, the relations to other actors in international relations are more complicated. Answering the questions about the relations with key members and partner states, Mr. Sedivi emphasized that the concept will recognize Russia as an important partner and that therefore it is the primary interest of NATO at the present moment to vitalize the NATO-Russia Council. Relations not only with Russia, but also with the US, will refract through the problem (question) of missile defense. It is important, said Sedivi, that the decision about missile defense be joint and made by consensus. Other questions from the audience concerned, primarily, NATO’s governance capacities in the context of failed states, then, the organization’s perspectives as “a global forum for discussion about security issues” (as the previous Secretary General De Hop Shefer has put it) and the Alliance’s ability to “transmit its message” successfully. The expert group has also considered the need for NATO’s successful communication and Mr. Sedivy said that there is no recipe for successful communication, except the success in mission fulfillment.

      Perspectives of NATO-Serbia relations

      When it comes to the possibilities for further cooperation between NATO and Serbia under Partnership for peace program, Sedivi sees it mostly in the field of atomic-biological-chemical defense, as well as in development and application of demining technologies and military medicine. New possibilities for cooperation will be made if the recommendation of the Group of experts to offer every partner, irrespective of the partnership format it participates, the existing models of cooperation available in different partnerships developed by NATO since the end of the Cold War, like Partnership for peace, Mediterranean Dialogue or Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, are accepted. In the end, he said that the report with recommendations for the new Strategic concept leaves open the possibility of NATO membership to all Western Balkans countries, Ukraine and Georgia if they decide to take part in the activities of this alliance. 

      What lies ahead in the process of the adoption of new Strategic concept?

      After the consideration of recommendations of the Group of experts’ report for the new strategic concept and consultations with the member countries, the Secretary General will propose the first draft of the new Strategic concept late in the summer or early in the fall of 2010. On the basis pf that text, the member countries will provide their comments and the agreed version will become the new Strategic concept of NATO at the Heads of States and Government Summit in November 2010.

      Sonja Stojanović, Marko Savković and Jelena Radoman  

      Translation: Mladen Lišanin

      Related topics:lisbon, new, treaty, FPN, Serbia
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