Sunday, July 02, 2006

NATO More Active on Global Security: From Brussels to Riga

NATO had a defense ministers meeting on June 7 and 8 in Brussels. This was a preparatory meeting for the summit meeting in Riga, Latvia on November 28 and 29. At the meeting, defense ministers discussed present dangers and realignment. NATO is expanding its operations worldwide. More nations in Eastern and Central Europe are joining. Troops for urgent response are necessary to intervene regional conflicts. For these purposes, NATO defense ministers came to talk of the following issues at the headquarter in Brussels.

Regarding present dangers to the world, big issues at the defense ministers meeting was Afghanistan and Ukraine. Currently, both countries are not NATO members, but they are important for NATO’s mission in the post-Cold War era. In Afghanistan, NATO forces will make further commitment for stability. Ukraine is applying for NATO membership, despite pressure by Russia. Therefore, Defense Ministers, Abdul Rahim Wardak of Afghanistan, and Anatoliy Grytsenko of Ukraine, were invited to Brussels.

As to Afghanistan, NATO reconfirmed to increase the number of security forces. According to the Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Afghan issue is “not just a security story”, and “NATO will help provide security for reconstruction and development.” At this stage, NATO forces operate in Kabul, northern and western regions. NATO will take additional tasks in southern area.

German Defense Minister Franz-Josef Jung advocated NATO’s mission to stabilize Afghanistan. For Germany, Afghan operation is the first time to send troops out of Europe, since the end of World War Ⅱ.

Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak thanked NATO decision for further operation in his country, and concluded the press conference as follows.

I'm quite confident that what will happen, it is so simple, that as the Secretary General put it, I mean, the number of the international forces and also the Afghan forces, is going to be so many times more than what was there before.

The NATO-Ukraine Commission was another important session at the defense ministers meeting. Currently, Ukraine is applying for NATO membership. NATO will help modernization of Ukrainian forces. Also, NATO provides special trust funds for Ukraine to destroy surplus weapons since the Soviet era. This is a great help for global arms control as well.

In addition to the above issues, Darfur and Kosovo were discussed at the meeting.

Realignment is also discussed. NATO has established a rapid action force, called the NATO Responsive Force (NRF) at the Prague summit on November 22, 2002. This is a joint force, rapidly deployable over long distances. British Defense Secretary Des Browne announced further commitment to NRF. A staff of US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said that the United States was encouraged to see this progress.

Also, it is noteworthy that NATO is exploring global partnership with non-member states like Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. As NATO is evolving toward a world police force from a regional security organization, this is essential. Australia and New Zealand have already joined the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. NATO-Japan partnership in the future will enhance world peace and stability.

The Riga summit in this November at the capital of Latvia will be a landmark in history. NATO is evolving to step toward new era, and discuss vital agendas in a capital of “New Europe.” The outcome of this summit will have significant effects on global security in this century. Don’t miss the Riga summit, and keep alert to preparation processes. Presidents, Prime Ministers, and the Chancellor, make important decisions for the post 9-11 world.

NATO E-generation: Recommended from beginners to advanced levels. Also, useful to learn “native speakers” English and French.

"Submitted to Carnival of German-American Relations"