Center for Security Research Articles At long last NATO has spotted China

At long last NATO has spotted China

By Aleksandar Nacev, Executive Director of the Center for Security Research

At the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Meeting of Heads of State and Government in London in December 2019, Alliance leaders asked the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to undertake a Forward-Looking Reflection Process to assess ways to strengthen the political dimension of the NATO Alliance. To this end, in April 2020, Secretary General Stoltenberg appointed an independent Reflection Group, and tasked the Group with providing recommendations in several areas that are crucial to NATO and its essence.

After extensive consultations within and outside NATO, including with scholars, leaders from business and the technology sector, parliamentarians, military officials, and government representatives from all thirty Allies, most NATO partner states, and numerous international Organizations, the Group presented its final report, titled NATO 2030: United for a new era, to the Secretary General.

Some of the biggest headlines out of NATO 2030 were centered on China, a country the alliance did not even formally discuss until last year. “Russia will remain the primary military threat to NATO for the foreseeable future,” a co-chair of the expert group, former US diplomat Wess Mitchell, said in a discussion on the report, but the “rise of China is the single biggest, most consequential change in NATO’s strategic environment and one that the alliance really has to reckon with.” The group urges the Alliance to “devote much more time, political resources and action to the security challenges posed by China.”

In an interview with Politico, in December 2020, regarding the China issue, Stoltenberg said “We all realise that the global balance of power is changing in a fundamental way. The rise of China is really changing the security environment we face” and continued his thought with the warning that Beijing did not only have the world’s second-largest defence budget but was also “investing heavily in new capabilities, including nuclear weapons, missiles, new technologies.”

On the NATO-China relation, he commented “If anything, the size of China — the military size, the economic size, their achievements in technology — all of that makes NATO even more important. No single ally, not even the United States, can address this alone.” Stoltenberg also said that the military alliance should reach out to other countries that are confronted with China’s rise, naming Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Furthermore, at the end of 2020, NATO foreign ministers approved the first-ever assessment of China-NATO relations, which still remains classified.

So, when the leaders of the 30 NATO countries meet for their summit in Brussels in a few months, they will find a very interesting and complex issue on the agenda, and that is NATO’s future.

It will also be the first major international summit for US President Joe Biden, who has said that strengthening alliances will be a priority of his foreign policy. The decisions reached at this meeting will determine NATO’s plans and priorities for a long time to come, including NATO’s future policy towards China.

*This article was originally published for Conservatives Global.

Related Post

When an order endsWhen an order ends

By Alessandro Politi, Director of the NATO Defense College Foundation

This article intends to discuss three points: the quest for a new world order, echoing the one established in 1945, is pointless; what should be done when an existing order cannot be adapted, and how the transition to a different order should be presently governed, taking into account also the new US administration.

The solutions proposed are to: adopt a flexible globalisation model where shared responsibilities and decision-making are realistically rebalanced; to refuse a fragmenting multipolarism; to relaunch global sustainability by redressing social imbalances at home and abroad in order to tackle climate change and to phase out an outdated model of consumerist capitalism. The overarching global priorities are essentially two: ensuring human security vis-à-vis climate change (and attendant pandemics) and favouring shared prosperity, which means the transition to a fairer hybrid economic system where economic policies are fully accountable to the taxpayer.

Will the Biden presidency understand these two strategic priorities? In short, the answer is: in word yes, in deed yo, with a strong tendency towards a no. Political handicaps in Congress and American socio-cultural conditions may significantly limit the President’s concrete choices, reducing complex decisions to a zero-sum game with China and risking an economic stalemate that could turn into hot confrontation. (more…)

The West cannot ignore Ethiopia’s latest agonyThe West cannot ignore Ethiopia’s latest agony

Aleksandar Nacev

Violence in Ethiopia’s northern state of Tigray has escalated in recent weeks, with hundreds of soldiers and an untold number of civilians killed in a worsening dispute between regional forces and the national government. The long-simmering tensions between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government in Addis Ababa and leaders from the country’s northern Tigray region have spilled out into the open and hundreds of people have been reported dead. The escalation in hostilities has spurred a mass exodus from parts of the region, with tens of thousands of people fleeing over the border into Sudan.

(more…)

Cybersecurity basics more important than ever in the new normal of remote workCybersecurity basics more important than ever in the new normal of remote work

Blagoja Janakievski

In this new work-from-anywhere environment that we’re all in thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, cybersecurity, trust, and protecting customer data is more important than ever. We saw the largest workforce transmit transformation in history as everyone went remote almost overnight in March 2020.

The best thing that any business can do in securing yourself, especially as adapting to this new environment, this new work from anywhere environment, is to nail the basics. There are a small number of really important cybersecurity hygiene actions, so think about it in the current climate as washing your hands from a cybersecurity perspective, that businesses can do to really eliminate the risk associated with a lot of common cybersecurity threats. So some examples of this are enabling strong multi-factor authentication or ensuring that you’re rapidly patching all of your devices to it to inoculate them against known vulnerabilities, to prevent things like ransomware attacks. And then finally, treating cybersecurity like a team sport, building a culture of awareness in your company so that all the employees in your company can act like security trailblazers.

(more…)