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The Future of NATO’s Strategic Concept

Author: Antonia Colibasanu

Affiliation: Geopolitical Futures (Chief Operating Officer), Romanian National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, “Carol I” National Defense University (Romania)

Organization/Publisher: Geopolitical Futures

Date/Place:  December 12, 2021, USA

Type of Literature: Article 

Word Count: 1670


Keywords: NATO, Russia, EU, China, Germany


NATO is one of the oldest military alliances which constitute both global and regional powers from North America to Eastern and Western Europe and Asia. The author stresses on the strategic concept of the North Atlantic Treaty and the growing conflict of interest among its member states. The longtime military alliance and European Union will conduct two crucial diplomatic events that will culminate with the adoption of the European Union Strategic Compass, which will usher in a common view of EU security and defense and ensure its autonomy. In the same vein, NATO’s members will meet in Madrid to adopt its new strategic concept which will lay out the strategy of the alliance, outlining its purpose and its fundamental security tasks, and identifying challenges and opportunities it faces in the evolving security atmosphere. Many international commentators and analysts forecast that the signing of these documents will give birth to a new Europe and a bilateral relation within NATO’s member states will be the order of the day. The author argues that the aftermath of the Cold War availed EU and NATO the opportunity over the eastward countries, but due to the economic crisis of 2008 and the growing influence of Russia and China, the two international institutions had to take a different stance to meet the then realities. The EU countered by solving the feuds and differences between member states, while NATO responded by extending its wings eastward and ensuring an effective coordination and collaboration between members. Despite EU influence, powerful Russia was already a national security threat to the eastward EU members; meanwhile, the western plank was faced with economic crisis and migration which the EU and NATO did little or nothing about. As China’s wings were growing in Asia, the US was quick to “code red” to the EU to scale up NATO for its security. As France is about to cling to the EU presidency in 2022, Paris is determined to strengthen the EU border defense.

Strategic autonomy seems to be the solution to the EU’s security problems. With the outpouring socio-economic problems, migration crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and the deteriorating security environment, EU member states must balance their interests in order to untangle their problems. Moreover, the US—despite its military strength—still tussles with its domestic problems and finding solutions to them. Nevertheless, Europeans need to make sure that the US can maintain its security guarantee to the eastern flank where Washington is determined to outweigh China.

In order for a European strategic autonomy, France, the UK and Germany must come to a consensus and Paris must lobby for that. Germany will not subscribe to any sovereignty except the sovereignty of NATO, and it will dedicate its commitment to NATO. The UK still wants to have relations with some EU countries such as Poland, however it shows little interest in build-up because of its NAVY and nuclear power. The US is a fan of a strategically responsible Europe, as Washington is convinced that Europeans will establish a collective defense that will be responsible for the western Mediterranean and North Africa and this will ease its burden. The EU and NATO’s strategic concept is unfathomable and difficult to forecast, however, the ultimate outcome may be strategic autonomy.


By: Alieu Jawo, CIGA Research Intern



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