The NATO summit marks a shift towards competition with Russia and China.

  • NATO is preparing for what leaders expect to be a “more competitive world.”
  • Coalition members are moving away from counterterrorism to a more traditional security confrontation.
  • NATO leaders see Russia and China as the challenges of the future and see the “technological age” as crucial to this competition.

In late October, the defense ministers of the 30 NATO member states met in person for the first time since the outbreak of the epidemic.

After the withdrawal from Afghanistan and as tensions with Russia Increase Increasingly, defense ministers aim to reshape the alliance and look forward to it.

The summit was a sign of the future of the alliance.

New and old challenges

US troops are patrolling west of Kabul, Afghanistan, as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

US troops patrol west of Kabul on January 28, 2012, with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

AP Photo / Hoshang Hashmi, file)


NATO forces have spent nearly 20 years in Afghanistan, training Afghan forces and fighting the Taliban, the largest mission in the alliance’s history.

All NATO troops have contributed to the war effort, and many have shifted their focus from conventional to non-conventional warfare to counter terrorism and disproportionate threats in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The end of the war has drastically changed the alliance’s priorities.

Rachel Elhos, deputy director of the Europe, Russia, and Eurasia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said: To be defended. ” A think tank told Insider.

This Russian aggression can be felt in the eastern part of NATO.

NATO and Russia have stepped up their activities in the Black Sea. Russia has also deployed troops on its border with Ukraine, keeping Western countries on high alert. Many also see that Moscow is allowing immigrants to make weapons on the Polish-Belarusian border, if not facilitating.

The dialogue is also going well. In October, Russia suspended its mission to NATO and closed the alliance’s offices in Moscow in exchange for the expulsion of Russian diplomats accused of spying by NATO.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference in a press conference introducing the summit that “relations between NATO and Russia are at an all-time low since the end of the Cold War. The reason is Russian attitude. “

But NATO’s only problem is not Russia.

NATO members recognize that the threat of terrorism remains and that Afghanistan still has a long way to go. As Stoltenberg said, the key to mitigating the threat is to ensure that Afghanistan does not again become a safe haven for international terrorism.

It will not be easy. Fighting ISIS and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan is difficult without shoes on the ground. Stoltenberg said that “the Allies have the capability to strike from a distance against the threat of terrorism” but that the effectiveness and accuracy of such capabilities diminishes without the assistance of ground forces at home.

NATO also faces limited resources. It can be difficult to maintain the gains made against terrorism as well as to effectively deter Russia.

Eli Hughes said that in order for NATO to do so, it would have to “take advantage of the intelligence assets and military capabilities of its individual members.”

Look ahead

Jens Stoltenberg, Joe Biden, NATO

Stoltenberg and then Vice President Joe Biden at the 51st Munich Security Conference on February 7, 2015.

Christoph Stitch / AFP via Getty Images


Stoltenberg said the “technological age” needs to be maintained in order to overcome current threats and prepare for the future.

“Future conflicts will be fought not only with bullets and bombs, but also with bytes and big data. We see dictatorial governments in the race to develop new technologies, from artificial intelligence to autonomous systems,” Stoltenberg told the press. “

To that end, 30 defense ministers announced the establishment of the NATO Innovation Fund and Defense Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic.

According to Stoltenberg, the ہوگی 1.2 billion fund will “support the development of emerging and disruptive technologies for dual use, in key areas for allied security,” through investments in startups. According to Stoltenberg.

Although the size of the fund will not make it a game changer, its establishment indicates an awareness of NATO’s rapidly evolving technological landscape.

The Accelerator, also known as DIANA, aims to enhance cooperation between sectors and member countries and enhance cooperation in key technologies. The fund will have offices and testing centers in several NATO countries.

At its October meeting, NATO also adopted its first artificial intelligence strategy, reflecting the potential of its leaders in AI.

These efforts underscore the importance that NATO has of gaining a technical advantage in order to better deter Russia, but the alliance is looking beyond Moscow.

East Side

Lloyd Austin in NATO

Austin at the NATO Defense Ministers’ Meeting on October 21, 2021 at NATO Headquarters.

REUTERS / Pascal Rossignol


NATO is concerned about China’s technological and military development.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin went to the summit in October in an attempt to raise the issue of China, and it was the subject of much discussion, although no part of the summit was explicitly about China.

Asked about China’s recent hypersonic missile tests, Stoltenberg said: “What we have seen in recent years is a significant modernization of China’s military capabilities.”

NATO tries to avoid painting China as an adversary, but the writing is on the wall.

“China is vigorously using its power and technological advancement to force other countries to control its people. It is expanding its global economic and military presence in Africa, the Arctic and cyberspace. Is investing in its core infrastructure, from 5G networks to ports and airports, “said NATO Deputy Secretary-General Marcia Giovanna at the Future of Democracy Forum in November.

Not all NATO countries have the same reservations about China, which is a major trading and investment partner for many members of the alliance – 15 of them participating in the 17 + 1 initiative, which aims at China and To promote investment and business relations between Central and Eastern countries. European countries.

This means that the alliance must proceed cautiously, “China must focus on building flexibility within the alliance rather than competing militarily,” Ellehuus said.

NATO’s forthcoming 2022 strategic vision will be a roadmap for years to come, and it hopes to present China as an emerging power with global ambitions.

“Our transatlantic alliance is the foundation of our security. And Europe and North America will stand strong together in NATO, as we face a more competitive world,” Stoltenberg said at the end of the October summit.

Constantine Atlamazoglou works on transatlantic and European security. He holds a master’s degree in security studies and European affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

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