We are convinced that there is no security for Europe without the US, but we also dare to submit that there is no hope for the US to sustain its role as the world’s sole superpower without the Europeans as allies.The manifesto begins by arguing that many current and future threats – such as terrorism, international crime, demographic shifts, energy security, climate change, etc. – cannot effectively be addressed by any single country on its own. Instead, NATO provides the best opportunity for western countries to address new threats because it "links together a group of countries that share the most important values and convictions and that took a decision to defend those values and convictions collectively."
The new report frequents terms like 'democratic space,' 'community of democracies,' and 'alliance of democracies' – strongly reminiscent of the language used by French politician Edouard Balladur in his recent call for a Union of Democracy. Balladur argued democracies should unite in order to protect shared western values, such as human rights protection and the rule of law, against the imminent rise of non-democratic powers such as China and Russia, an argument very similiar to this new report on NATO.
The manifesto ultimately proposes creating a “US-EU-NATO steering directorate," which would eventually address issues, “far wider and longer-term… than are normally on the table at international discussions," such as climate change. Formally expanding transatlantic dialogue beyond defense would be a bold step for the Allies, but would not be the only area they are becoming more intimate: World Net Daily describes an inititiative the Bush Administration quietly launched last April along with Angela Merkel and Jose Manuel Barroso to create a Transatlantic Common Market between the EU and US by 2015.
Although it proposes radical reform, the new 150 page report comes from a respected group of individuals, bringing with it many important questions the Allies need to address, including on the future size and composition of the Alliance:
* How exclusive should a revamped democracy club be? The authors argue it should be open to any countries who, "share our values and convictions, the rule of law and good governance, as well as to those who are able and willing to contribute to our aim of preserving our way of life, peace and stability." Ergo, countries like South Africa, Japan, and India are in?
* Is it in the West’s interest to expand its membership to new geographical regions, especially considering Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty (mutual defense)? Would Germany and Great Britain really come to Japan's defense?
* Where will expansion end? Perhaps the whole world will join, creating a perfect Kantian Peace where everybody lives happily ever after... or so the authors hint:
Eventually, if so desired by the nation or nations involved, countries that are of some concern [now] could thus mature and even become members of international organizations such as NATO, the EU or some new forms of effective multilateralism.While the authors argue the transatlantic alliance remains relevant, others are concerned it simply will not pull together. Joerg recently commented on an AR post, "I think this year is crucial for NATO. If 2008 is like 2007, then NATO won't have much of a future." Rick Moran of the PoliGazette shares these sentiments:
NATO has had many crisis in the past but perhaps none that threatened the organization in such an existential way. NATO is struggling to find a reason to exist. And unless its member states can overcome their reluctance to commit to the idea of collective western security, it is possible that NATO will pass into history as just one more alliance that unravelled due to its own internal contradictions.There is little doubt the Afghanistan mission faces trouble, particularly due to the lack of commitment from some countries in Europe. Most of NATO’s post-Cold War missions - such as Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan - have lacked smooth cooperation and efficient operations command structure. I wonder if the problems NATO has outside of Europe-proper are merely symptomatic of NATO’s need to reform its archaic Cold War infrastructure and capabilities, or if they are instead prescriptive that the Alliance is waning and transatlantic drift is inevitable?
Update – The new report generated some headlines due to its emphasis on the continued need for a first use of nuclear weapons policy. “The first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction.” Andy Grotto’s post about this on the über-popular Arms Control Wonk generated some interesting discussion from his readers. Andy asks the question:
How could a renewed emphasis on the preemptive use of nuclear weapons possibly promote NATO unity?!