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November 28, 2006

A Fresh Perspective from NATO Summit
Posted by Lorelei Kelly

One of my favorite Brits, Martin Butcher, moved back to the UK from Washington earlier this year...but lo and behold, he's back online already with some fresh reporting from the NATO summit in can see the rest here.

Can NATO transform for the 21st century?

From Acronym Consultant Martin Butcher in Riga, November 27, 2006

NATO heads of State and Government meet in Riga, Latvia, on November 28/29, with many outstanding questions on their agenda. While NATO and national government sources agree that the worst of the conflict from the build-up to the invasion of Iraq has dissipated (and for some in Europe the firing of Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense helped), there is a sense that the organisation is somewhat adrift - carrying out missions from Kosovo to Afghanistan, but with no underlying purpose to tie it together.

The subjects that will be on the agenda at the specially made table in Riga - Alliance transformation, burdensharing, the Comprehensive Political Guidance, and even Energy Security - are far less significant than the subjects that will be overlooked - enlargement, the perennially troubled issues of NATO-EU and NATO Russia relations, and most notably the rewriting of the Alliance's mission statement, the 1999 Strategic Concept, with the role of nuclear weapons in Alliance defence policy at its heart.

All this throws up questions which will have to be answered if NATO is to be an influential and important alliance in the 21st Century - what is NATO's role and how should it accomplish that role. A shiny "transformation" exhibition at the Olympic Sports Complex Summit venue shows what the Riga Summit is meant to be about. But there are those in Riga who fear that the focus on the somewhat loose concept of 'NATO transformation' means less than meets the eye.

Riga 2006 was to have been the 'transformation summit', and settled those questions once and for all. Now, it is merely the latest in a line of summits, leading from Istanbul, through Riga, to another Summit in 2008, followed by a 60th birthday party Summit in 2009. Transforming the Alliance, it seems, is a long and politically contentious process.

read the rest of the article here.


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NATO has shirked on it's humanitarian / peacekeeping responsibilities. More attention needs to be placed on supporting the globally impoverished and helping them create positive solutions to their struggles instead of the alternative. Supporting the UN Millennium Development Goals are a step in the right direction. Agreed to in 2000 by every nation on earth, the UN Millennium Development Goals focus on curbing global poverty, establishing equality, providing primary education, and controling the spread of disease. All actions that will give the world's poor an alternative to squalor.

NATO was established (1) to ensure that the US could control Europe and (2) to sell more military junk to European armies under the "standardization" rubric. I can assure you that curbing poverty was not remotely germane to the US power elite that instigated NATO.

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