Shifting Attention to Mediterranean, NATO Fights Internal Dissent by Steven Erlanger, New York Times
NATO is discussing how to step up its response to the European migrant crisis by expanding its presence in the Mediterranean region, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this week.
But the proposals, discussed during a meeting of the alliance’s defense ministers, are being questioned by Turkey, which says limited resources would be better used to protect member nations from more traditional threats like Russia. Turkey is also pressing for an end to the limited effort by the alliance to combat the smuggling of migrants in the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece.
The confusion and division are emblematic of NATO’s inability so far to deal comprehensively with threats washing up on its southern tier: terrorism, radical Islam, anarchy in North Africa and uncontrolled migration.
After two decades in which its relevance has been questioned, the alliance has found new life in an old mission: deterring Russia. But debating what to do in the south has exposed some of the old schisms and anxieties about the extent to which an American-dominated alliance should openly engage in parts of the world that European nations once ruled and have traditionally managed…
In a new report -- entitled "Restoring the Power and Purpose of NATO" -- issued by The Atlantic Council and authored by Ambassador R. Nicholas Burns, former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs and US Ambassador to NATO, and General James L. Jones, former National Security Advisor and Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO:
"The breakdown of the security order in the Middle East is a second strategic challenge for the Alliance. The region faces a deadly mix of a violent, unstable, turbulent future exacerbated by continued destabilization from Iran and tensions with Saudi Arabia, declining US engagement, the emergence of outside actors like Russia, and a revolutionary age for Arab citizens. ... "
"Europe’s Internal Divisions Leave a Weakened and Distracted Europe: NATO’s turbulent external environment is not only a security threat but a political challenge as well. The threats to Europe’s periphery have inflamed politics in Europe, undermined the cohesion of NATO and the EU, and fueled the rise of right-wing populist movements in Europe. ... "
(This Atlantic Council report, potentially, being an item that would warrant its own thread here on SWJ?)