By Corneliu Pivariu.
The end of the Cold War marked also the beginning of a campaign in which there were voices, mostly coming from Moscow but also European ones (not very many or very important, yet there were) saying that NATO is an outdated organization and once the Warsaw treaty disappeared it should disappear, too.
I wrote, indeed, ever since the beginning of the 1990s and argued about the necessity of NATO’s existence and of its importance for a peaceful and democratic evolution in Europe and in the world. I wrote as well about the organization’s special capacity to permanently adapt and improve starting even with the 12th NATO Summit in Rome (7-8 November, 1991) when the Alliance’s New Strategic Concept that mirrored the deep changes taking place on the European continent was adopted.
Here’s how almost three decades passed since then and the alliance proved copiously not only its necessity but also its capacity of being permanently present. We consider that NATO’s essential pillars are the transatlantic component and Article 5. That’s why mainly on these two elements it’s being tried to induce publicly certain doubt and incertitude factors for undermining the confidence and creating suspicions about the alliance’s capacities and possibilities.
Even Donald Trump’s election as the new American president, was used as an opportunity to this purpose without obtaining the anticipated result and we may say that, on the contrary, the result was the opposite as NATO and the USA proved again the capacity and the resolution of acting in accordance with NATO Charter.
At the end of the first weeek of November, the yearly meeting of NATO Ministers of Defence took place and, on that occasion, new decisions concerning the continuous adaptation of the organizations to the challenges it is confronted with were made. One of the important components of this adaptation is that of a robust and agile command structure which, according to the statements of NATO’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, “lies at the foundation of strengthening the deterrence and defence as well as the ability of projecting stability beyond NATO’s frontiers”.
It has been decided that two new NATO headquarters be established, one for the Atlantic – having as its main mission to ensure that the maritime communications lines between Europe and North America remain unobstructed and secure. The second new headquarters will have as its mission improving the movement of NATO troops on the European continent and strengthening the logistic within NATO’s command structure function. As NATO’s Secretary General said, it is about not only of mobility but also about the ability of rapidly moving troops and equipment with appropriate means of transportation and using the adequate infrastructure. Conclusions and steps to that purpose will be presented upon February 2018 meeting of ministers of defence. The importance of the cooperation in this field with the European Union was stressed and it has been appreciated that the military mobility may be a pilot element of NATO-EU cooperation.
A NATO’s important member, both by its geopolitical position and by its military capabilities is represented by Turkey. The 2016 summer supposed military coup attempt and Ankara’s rapprochement to Moscow (including initiating the actions of acquiring the Russian missile system S-400), the reactions concerning the German military presence at Incirlik military base and Berlin’s decision of moving its military contingent there to Jordan were presented as a possible Turkey’s intention of quitting NATO and even proposals that Turkey be excluded from NATO were circulated. The fact that Turkey cooperates with the French-Italian consortium Eurosam for producing the surface-to-air missiles system based on SAMP-T missiles that was initiated in July, 2017, was less reported. Turkey’s quitting NATO is out of the question.
Indeed and not the least, the last meeting of NATO defence ministers addressed the development and strengthening of cyber missions and operations considering that cyber will be part and parcel of any potential military conflict.
So, the answer to the question of the title is very clear: really NOBODY, yet there are forces wishing to promote this idea. And that without taking into account that such an idea makes NATO more determined in accomplishing its missions of developing the collective defence of all its members.
About the author:
Corneliu Pivariu, former first deputy for military intelligence (two stars general) in the Romanian MoD, retired 2003. Member of IISS – London, alumni of Harvard – Kennedy School Executive Education and others international organizations. Founder of INGEPO Consulting, and bimonthly Bulletin, Geostrategic Pulse”. Main areas of expertise – geopolitics, intelligence and security.