Yearender: NATO's new strategy reflects global security trends

December 26, 2010 12:33 pm 

By Xinhua Writer Zhang Wei

BRUSSELS, Dec. 26 — Just like NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen describes, the military alliance has entered the era of "NATO 3.0" following the adoption of its new Strategic Concept in November.

The new doctrine, NATO's third since the end of the Cold War, not only serves as general guidelines for NATO's strategic adjustments for the next decade, but also reflects to some extent the global security trends.


Borrowing from computer jargon, Rasmussen described the alliance in the Cold War era as "NATO 1.0", followed by "NATO 2.0" until the new strategy was unveiled.

With the development of globalization, security threats are becoming global. Compared with former versions, while reaffirming its policy of collective defense, "NATO 3.0" attaches greater importance to developing modern defense to tackle new threats.

The new strategic concept says that the threat of a conventional attack against NATO territory is low, but NATO countries face emerging threats from terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, missiles, cyber attacks, disruption of global energy supply and climate change.

Security experts say threats against NATO members have become global, for instance, piracy off the coast of Somalia threatens the security of international energy transit, hackers can launch cyber attacks from almost anywhere.

The NATO chief said that the definition of territorial defense in today's world has changed and NATO has to go beyond its borders to defend its members.

"NATO has no ambition to become the world's policeman, but if we are to make territorial defense effective we need a global perspective in our policies," he said.

In the new concept, NATO has continued to build its capabilities of crisis management, which paves the way for operations beyond NATO's borders to address threats of global nature.


Security experts believe that emerging security threats cannot be properly tackled by NATO alone that acts as a regional military organization. The process of globalization has bound different nations together, which makes cooperation on handling security threats possible and necessary.

NATO has pledged to expand its capability in its new strategy, particularly setting up a missile shield on Europe, and develop ability to counter cyber attacks.

NATO needs to develop its ties with the European Union, Russia, other regional powers, the United Nations and other international organizations.

On NATO-Russia ties, the alliance said the two had shared interests in the fields of missile defense, counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, counter-piracy and the promotion of wider international security.

The new concept stresses that NATO poses no threat to Russia and that NATO wants to see a true strategic partnership with Russia.

In addition, NATO has drawn lessons from its war in Afghanistan and realized that in face of emerging security threats, a comprehensive political, civilian and military approach is needed.

Observers also say that in recent years NATO has transformed itself from a military organization to a more political organization that is about building security and enhancing the safety of its citizens through cooperation with others.


Though emerging threats to some extent could compel players to cooperate, the global security situation is still complicated as nations or blocs are vying mainly for their own benefits.

The case is the same with NATO. While claiming that it does not consider any country to be its adversary, NATO still puts deterrence as a core element of its overall strategy.

"No one should doubt NATO's resolve if the security of any of its members were to be threatened," said the alliance.

On nuclear weapons, the new strategy said that "as long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance."

Analysts say that big powers in the world should learn to respect each other to accomplish mutual security through joint development and cooperation. (PNA/Xinhua)



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