BRUSSELS – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will discuss the review of its strategic concept when its leaders, including US President Joe Biden, meet in Brussels on Monday.
According to the organization’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO last updated the document setting out its purpose in 2010. The security threats and challenges it has faced have changed since then.
‘In the current strategic concept, for example, China is not mentioned in one word. And climate change is hardly mentioned at all. “And, of course, our relationship with Russia at that time was in a very different place from where we are today,” Stoltenberg told reporters on Friday. “Today we are at the low point since the Cold War in our relationship with Russia, and more sophisticated cyberattacks, and many of the challenges have developed over these years.”
NATO halted changes to its strategic concept while Biden’s predecessor as US President Donald Trump was in office.
“Europeans did not want to open the Pandora’s Box during the Trump administration because they did not know what the United States would say,” said Dan Hamilton, director of the Global Europe program at the Wilson Center.
Trump has had a strained relationship with the other leaders of the military alliance, repeatedly complaining about increasing their defense budgets – an “amount” to NATO, he incorrectly called it – and questioning NATO’s mutual defense clause, known as Article 5.
During a speech to US Air Force personnel and their families at the Royal Air Force Mildenhall in England last Wednesday, Biden said: ‘In Brussels, I will make it clear that the United States’ commitment to our NATO alliance and Article 5 is rock solid. is. . It is a sacred obligation that we have under Article 5. ”
Biden arrives here on Sunday before the NATO summit, as well as Tuesday’s US summit with leaders of the European Union.
“The talks will take place just before Biden’s meeting in Geneva on Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and so the US president wants a strong wind on his back from his meeting with NATO allies,” Hamilton told VOA .
Monday’s NATO meeting will also mark the end of military operations in Afghanistan, at a time when the United States has completed at least half of the country’s withdrawal.
“The question is what is the role of NATO in Afghanistan outside of military operations going forward?” Hamilton remarked.
NATO also suggests that the military members of the members and the private sector should look at co-operation on emerging technologies, together with the consideration of an extended partnership with like-minded democracies further, also in the Indo-Pacific region, amid of growing concern about China’s enlargement.
“This government wants to show, rhetorically as well as substantively, that there is a great strength in the US that exists through its European allies. But there are still many challenges in the Trans-Atlantic relationship on how to manage and confront Russia and China and how to deal with COVID and climate [change], ”Mark Simakovsky, senior contributor to the Atlantic Council, told VOA.
“A better use of the president’s time would be to enforce a tough but vital dialogue within NATO on topics that the alliance has shunned in the past,” said co-president Dan DePetris. “This means reconsidering NATO’s open door policy, which at this stage is more of an outlet for the alliance and US security commitments, as a net benefit – and hopefully closing.”
NATO’s open door principle, known as Article 10, states that any other nation can be invited with unanimous consent to join the alliance, and this has become a matter of controversy among those who say it promotes organizational stability and those who say it runs the risk of making the organization too. cumbersome, and possibly jeopardizing his mandate.
“Biden must also repeat and indeed strengthen NATO’s conflict resolution and dialogue mechanisms with Russia, which, no matter how troublesome, its behavior cannot simply be ignored or sanctioned,” DePetris told VOA.
This week also looks at the renewed interest of the US in bringing Ukraine and Georgia into NATO.
Michael O’Hanlon, senior associate and research director at the Brookings Institution, called it “a very bad idea” because it runs the risk of waging war with Russia if and when Moscow’s actions to counter the plan continue. go as we felt we could tolerate. ”
Biden’s presence at the NATO talks is intended to show a renewed commitment to the US leadership in the alliance.
According to some analysts, the US president in Brussels may be faced with a bit of skepticism.
“They see what’s going on here at home, and they’m worried about the future of the Republican Party. They are worried about what will happen after Biden, ”said Rachel Ellehuus, deputy director and senior fellow of the Europe, Russia and Eurasia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “They are concerned that the negative language about allies and partners and the US commitment to NATO and global leadership may falter again.”
At Tuesday’s meeting, Biden and European leaders will discuss a common agenda to ensure global health security, stimulate global economic recovery, tackle climate change, improve digital and trade cooperation, strengthen democracy and address mutual foreign policy interests. ” according to the White House.