NATO’s China challenge
NATO considers Russia and China to be the main threats until 2030
Alliance countries need to adapt to new challenges and strengthen their political unity, according to the authors of a new report on NATO reform
During a videoconference of NATO foreign ministers this week, Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg presented a report on the reform of the NATO 2030 Alliance. The report is part of a broader project of the same name, which aims to develop a strategy for the alliance for the next ten years..
The situation in the world will be very different from that which existed during the Cold War or in the decades after its end, the report says. The world is entering an era of great power competition, in which authoritarian states with revisionist foreign policies will seek to expand their power and influence. The main threats to NATO member countries will come from China and Russia, with the latter being the main military security threat for the alliance..
“While economically and socially Russia is in decline, it has proven its capacity for territorial aggression and is likely to remain the main threat NATO will face in the next decade. Russia has powerful traditional military forces and a substantial nuclear arsenal, which poses a threat to the entire territory of NATO, but is especially acute for its eastern flank, “the authors of the report note..
“Russia will remain the main military threat to NATO for the foreseeable future, but China’s growth is the most significant and most significant change in NATO’s strategic environment that the alliance will have to reckon with,” said one of the report’s authors and deputy chairman of the board of the Center for European Policy Analysis. Wess Mitchell (Wess Mitchell, CEPA) Wednesday, December 3, during a virtual discussion of the report’s findings at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
According to Wess Mitchell, who also previously served as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in the Trump administration, NATO today is the only platform for the countries of the Euro-Atlantic region in confronting “large, aggressive and authoritarian rivals.”.
With regard to Russia, the alliance countries need to adhere to a two-pronged approach – on containment and dialogue: “The Alliance must respond to Russian threats and hostile actions in a politically unified, decisive and consistent manner, without returning to“ business as usual ”if Russia does not change its aggressive behavior and will not return to full compliance with international law. At the same time, NATO must remain open to discuss peaceful coexistence and respond positively to constructive changes in Russia’s position and attitude. “.
The Alliance should increase the costs of aggression for Moscow and develop comprehensive measures to counter hybrid forms of this aggression, but support negotiations on arms control, the authors of the report add..
Terrorist threats and new risks associated with pandemics, climate change and technological development remain other challenges for NATO. The report offers over 130 recommendations for adapting to new realities. However, in addition to strengthening NATO’s defenses, the Alliance needs to substantially strengthen its ability to act as the primary political forum for addressing strategic and geopolitical issues. For this, there must be even greater cohesion between the members of the alliance..
“For NATO to become politically stronger, we must admit that yes, we have differences. We had them in the past, we still have them, and an open and honest exchange of views can be difficult, but it is necessary to strengthen unity and solidarity and to develop common approaches, “the Secretary General of the alliance emphasized during a virtual discussion at the Carnegie Endowment..
“We are a regional alliance, and we will remain a regional alliance,” he added. “But the challenges we face are becoming more global, from terrorism and climate change to the rise of China and its implications for the global balance of power, international order and our security. To address these challenges, we need to work even closer together. “.
Over the past four years of the presidency of Donald Trump, who has repeatedly criticized NATO and European allies, the trend towards greater political and geopolitical autonomy has intensified in Europe..
This was also noted in the NATO-2030 report: Europe fears that US policy is aimed at internal problems and more attention will be paid to the Indo-Pacific region than to transatlantic ties; The United States, on the other hand, fears that European countries will continue to evade the full implementation of their financial obligations for common defense and strengthen their political autonomy..
According to an expert from the German Marshall Fund Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer (Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer, GMF) Europe should strive for greater autonomy, including in the face of increasing geopolitical competition between the United States and China. Brussels should follow its own interests rather than the interests of Washington or Beijing, the expert emphasizes..
Also, NATO structures may not always be suitable for solving the problems facing Europe, and the United States may not be interested in solving these problems. “I think there is a growing consensus in Europe on the need for more sovereignty and this will continue even under the Biden administration,” Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer said on Tuesday December 2, during an online discussion hosted by the German Marshall Fund..
The expert adds that more and more European leaders are asking themselves not what the United States can do for Europe, but what the Europeans themselves can do to strengthen their security and build a more balanced transatlantic partnership..
Europe’s desire for autonomy will only weaken it and become a negative factor for European security and NATO, he believes Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff (Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff), Vice President of the German Marshall Fund. So, in his opinion, in his attempt to establish Europe as an independent geopolitical player, French President Emmanuel Macron is seeking rapprochement with Moscow. This is not in line with Europe’s security interests, as Russia under its current government “is sending more and more missiles at European cities, countries are being invaded, and [Russian] opposition leaders are being hounded,” the expert said during a discussion organized by the German Marshall Fund.
The strategic autonomy of Brussels can also weaken NATO and strengthen the voices in the United States of those who advocate a decrease in US commitment to Europe, the expert said. He adds that the very concept of European autonomy and sovereignty is not clear-cut. Its supporters avoid mentioning that in practice this means the federalization of Europe, which is opposed by many European countries..
“I am concerned that autonomy will be achieved at the expense of security,” concludes Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff.
Journalist «Voices of America». Prior to that, she worked for international non-governmental organizations in Washington and London, in the Russian-language version of the Estonian daily newspaper “Postimees” and as a spokesman for the Estonian Ministry of Internal Affairs. Interests – international relations, politics, economics