New NATO strategy: Big questions, so far no answers

On the occasion of today’s meeting of NATO foreign and defense ministers, Reinhard Bütikofer, security spokesperson of the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament, said:

“While the NATO foreign and defense ministers are discussing the new strategic concept of the world’s most powerful military alliance, the public is left to play a guessing game. What has come out so far about NATO Secretary General Fogh Rasmussen’s new concept is politically explosive enough to demand that the public be informed now, and not only after the dice have been thrown.

Should Article 5, the so-called collective security clause, really be expanded to include attacks on cyberspace or energy supply facilities? Is NATO even the right institution for cyber-security or should the problem be addressed within the framework of a more broadly based security architecture instead?

Many NATO members have committed to nuclear disarmament during the past year. Will NATO stay committed to nuclear deterrence in spite of that? Will NATO agree to some symbolic move, like setting up a new committee, in order to allow nuclear members to stall on actual disarmament? With regard to the missile defense shield, does NATO want to focus on common security with Russia, or simply use this issue to counter the Medvedev initiative?

How does NATO see itself in relation to the United Nations Security Council’s responsibility for peace? Which guidelines should NATO follow to frame its future cooperation on security with the OSCE and the European Union? Is NATO ready to actively contribute to a charta of common security in the framework of OSCE? How can expensive doubling of capacities be avoided?

One can safely say that NATO used to be more popular in its member states than it is today. A NATO which at best pursues public relations, but avoids necessary public debates, will continue to lose support.