quarta-feira, 2 de dezembro de 2009

Rome Atlantic Forum, November 23rd

Report on the Rome Atlantic Forum
‘NATO New Strategic Concept and The Future of Transatlantic Relations’, held in Rome November 23rd 2009.

The Conference was divided in two parts (morning and afternoon) and aimed to promote the discussion on the challenge that represents the drafting of a NATO New Strategic Concept, as well as the relations between the two shores of the North Atlantic region[i].
Towards a New NATO Strategic Concept

During the morning several speakers shared their opinions, suggestions and comments on what should be included in the new NATO Strategic Concept. For that matter one of the most repeated idea was the importance of knowing what is today’s NATO’s, and what is its purpose regarding a new strategic environment, both internal and external.
In fact environmental scanning is the first phase of the strategic process of drafting a strategic concept that both emphasizes the strengths of the organization, knowing its weaknesses, and, thus, allows it to take advantage of the opportunities and minimize potential threats that other actors might constitute to its existence and activity.
One of the factors identified has having gained weight in comparison with the former process of drafting the NATO’s strategic concept is public opinion. In fact the importance of civil society was emphasized by most of the speakers who underlined the importance of the legitimacy of governments’ decisions, particularly regarding the deployment of national troops into war/conflict scenarios.
The importance of civil society is not only related with the support or not that it might give to the organization’s actions. Indeed there is a new understanding of what security means which has implications in the interpretation of one of the NATO’s bedrocks: Article 5.
Article 5 of the Washington Treaty was also highly discussed. Although its existence and importance were not questioned, many argue that its meaning has changed.
Defense has overcome a geographical meaning and became more “individualized”. States have not only the need to protect its territory but also their citizens. That fact changed the type and scope of interventions, and some say the very nature of war. What is exactly an ‘armed attack’? How preventive and out of area can NATO go? How can NATO remain effective as a political-military organization in a ‘world with no borders’, in a new strategic environment?
These are some of the questions that defy the geographical feature and a restrictive interpretation of the nature of the action that triggers Alliance’s actions. Hence, and regarding the changed and changing strategic environment, what should be NATO’s role in terms of its capabilities and operations?
The scope of NATO’s actions is, thus, highly debatable. Indeed, Ambassador Aragona (Member of the NATO Group of Experts on the New Strategic Concept) emphasized the non-traditional feature of international security and international threats, which lead to the need of the maintenance and revision of the comprehensive approach. Nonetheless, NATO shall avoid become a global police. Instead the solution might be a more effective interlocking with other actors which will allow NATO to act globally, protecting its interests and pursuing its objectives without becoming too wide and, potentially, void.
The danger of ‘acting global’ is precisely the lack of capabilities, but also of political will to do so. No speaker supported a global NATO (in scope and action). Nevertheless a better balance between article 5 and 4 of the Washington Treaty should assure a better approach to new threats and conflicts, which is then complemented by a multilateral dimension based on cooperation with other international actors.
Very succinctly Dr. Stephen Flanagan (Director of International Security Program) divided the issue of the new Strategic Concept in two dimensions. First it shall be determined the very own need of a new strategic concept; and secondly the type of threats it should address.
The fact that threats reflect “the dark side of globalization” – as said by Dr. Karl-Heinz Camp (Director of the NATO Defense College Research Division) - leads to the need of NATO to redefine itself as a collective defense organization. Thus, and again, the linkage between article 4 and 5 is needed in order to respond to a ‘continuum of security’. For this matter the speaker underlined the importance of creating a more effective consultation mechanism between the member states that covers essentially crisis prevention, crisis management and defense response issues.
The balance between the political and military components of NATO should be met, and, more importantly, NATO should define both its structure (eg: decision-making process; consultation mechanisms) but also its capabilities, meaning both its decision and executive/operational dimensions.
Indeed the mission, objectives and plans and policies are defined by the political leaders, but they have to be adequate, acceptable and attainable at a more operational level, by the military.
For this reason the formulation phase of the drafting of a new strategic concept must identify in a clear way the objectives of the Alliance, prioritize them, and make them commonly accepted and supported objectives of the North Atlantic community.
How can a growing Alliance accommodate the individual interests, objectives and threat perceptions of its members? How can the definition of a new Strategic Concept through the lowest common denominator make NATO a credible actor?
Nevertheless, the debate on the diversity of NATO member states is not only related to threat perceptions. Indeed an issue that greatly influences the performance and credibility of the Alliance is burden sharing, whose importance was argued by most of speakers, but particularly by General Vincenzo Camporini (Chief of the Italian Defense Staff). Indeed, General Camporini argued for the importance of the solidarity between member states, as it is crucial to the success of the operations on the ground, and thus affects NATO’s success and effectiveness.
The way pointed out by General Camporini to get over the budget issue is the integration of common capabilities, either by specialization of countries or by leadership of one coordinator.
Thus, the financial dimension is also to be taken into account when formulating a strategic concept, as it will be one of the proofs that will validate (or not) the formulation phase.
One of great challenges that was continuously mentioned is Afghanistan. The outcome of NATO’s involvement in this theatre has a crucial importance for the credibility of the Alliance as a remaining pillar of international security. For this matter it is important to evaluate the situation and consider the lessons learned, but also be simultaneously cautious and ambitious in what concerns the involvement in other operations.
In fact Afghanistan and the Lisbon Summit to be held in the end of 2010 will be the two theaters where NATO has to prove that it still is an important and effective organization. In these two places both the formulation and operationalization of a new strategic concept will have a major importance not only to the allies but also to the image of NATO and its position in the strategic environment.
Besides the debate on the diversity of perspectives about what is and should NATO be (that might turn out in a disappointing and rapidly inadequate strategic concept), the external environment, namely partnerships, Russia, BRIC countries, and also the EU seem to be points of disagreement between the member states.
Thus, the strategic position that NATO wants to assume might not be all that clear about with whom to cooperate and in what way.
To sum up, the first part of the debate was very fruitful and diverse. There was great agreement on the changing nature of threats, namely to include climate change, energy security, outer space, maritime security and the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Nonetheless each speaker, due to its functions or origins, offered different interpretations, comments and suggestions as to the strategy NATO as to engage in the post 9/11 world.
The main convergence was around the fact that NATO remains a pillar of international security. The guarantee of NATO’s adaptation to a new strategic environment is thus crucial to international peace and security.
Yet the way to get there might be difficult to find, and there is great danger that the lack of ambition of the Alliance’s member states in giving NATO the capabilities to act leads to an excessively flexible (or even loose) strategic concept.

The Future of Transatlantic Relations

The Mars vs Venus debate, i.e. USA-EU security approaches, was addressed in a more detailed manner in the afternoon session of the conference where it was debated ‘The Future of Transatlantic Relations’.
In this context the main actors referred were the USA, the EU, Russia, and the BRIC emerging powers.
In what concerns the USA, some speakers mentioned the potential increase of cooperation promoted by the Obama’s administration, which strengthens the multilateral approach of the new NATO strategic concept. The danger though, is the fact that the epicenter of American foreign policy might now be dislocated to the Pacific, rather than the Atlantic.
US foreign policy is of major importance for the definition of NATO’s attitude and policy, once the USA is the major contributor for NATO’s budget. Therefore, one has to acknowledge that unless this trend is reversed, that fact still grants the USA great leverage and legitimacy to set the Alliance’s agenda.
As for the EU, the definition of a clearer ESPD and the implementation of the changes brought by the Lisbon Treaty cause some skepticism or, to say the least, precaution as to if the EU wants to share the burden and assume (together with the USA) the transatlantic leadership in a more effective way.
The search for a balance between the two shores of the Atlantic is crucial for the effectiveness of NATO. Europe has given a positive sign in terms of its participation in a more operational phase, namely with the reintegration of France in NATO’s military structure.
Nonetheless there is a need to show political will to solve some issues that might weaken Europe, particularly the EU (e.g. Cyprus and Turkey issues), and commitment in what concerns the budget and the deployment of troops to NATO missions.
Ambassador Di Benisichi (Vice President of the Italian Atlantic Committee) mentioned three main issues in the relation between the USA and the EU: political commitment and attitude towards defense; structural differences (institutional framework); and at the operational level, the risk of duplication.
There is indeed a need to “update political ties”, as said by Min. Plen. Sandro de Bernardin (Vice Secretary General of the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs).
At the same time there are other actors that need to be taken into account in the new Strategic Concept. Russia is one important actor to be considered in the environmental scanning, but also to the definition of objectives and posture of NATO.
In fact Russia triggers both internal and external issues that might weaken NATO. On the one hand Russia is an important player when defining an enlargement strategy and policy (the sensivity of the ‘near abroad’), on the other hand the posture of NATO towards Russia as an external actor which can confront NATO by threatening the accomplishment of the Alliance’s objectives, or contrarily be engaged in a strategic partnership to guarantee a broader concept of North Atlantic security.
One way or another, Russia has to be considered and included in NATO’s strategic calculation and, therefore, in the new strategic concept.
A clear example of the importance of the improvement of NATO-Russia’s relations is the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and thus, the ability to reduce nuclear as a growing threat to international security, which can only be met if involving both actors.
Of course this is not an easy-to-solve issue. Convergence (or to say the least cooperation) seems difficult (but attainable). NATO has now 28 member states, and its most recent members came from the East Europe, their history of confrontation and oppression are still fresh in these nation-states’ memories. Russia-NATO relations seem, thus, a delicate issue, yet one that cannot be avoided if member states want to establish a clear strategy, and an effective NATO.
BRIC countries were also mentioned as actors which should be taken into account. This is so as it was strongly argued that NATO should seek global partnerships to make more effective and credible its actions, but also to deter possible threats.
Non-state actors were mentioned by Mr. Marco Vicenzino (Executive Director of the Global Strategy Project) as other aspect that might influence the future of transatlantic relations due to the importance of civil society for the success of NATO’s strategic concept.
This said, the future of transatlantic relations needs both a multidimensional and a multilateral approach which demands a greater engagement of all its member states and partners, but also other actors which are important for the maintenance of a more or less stable international security environment

The belief that NATO is and will continue to be an essential actor in the international security architecture was reinforced by this conference. Thus the exchange of ideas and values which allow that fact continues to be one of the most positive aspects national ATA’s and YATA’s generate, through the mobilization of civil society for the debate on the new strategic concept.

[i] The discussion was based on a discussion paper proposed by the Italian Atlantic Committee (Strategic Concept Working Group).

segunda-feira, 30 de novembro de 2009

Samuel de Paiva Pires (Presidente da AJPA) em entrevista ao Dezinteressante

(Artigo e entrevista por Ana Catarina Lobato)

O papel e a importância da NATO têm sido temas debatidos a nível internacional. A Organização do Tratado do Atlântico Norte tem-se tentado adaptar política e militarmente a um cenário em constante mudança. A concepção de um novo conceito estratégico é uma tentativa da NATO se actualizar e manter coesa no seio da comunidade internacional.

Em Portugal, a Associação da Juventude Portuguesa do Atlântico (AJPA) procura divulgar os valores atlanticistas juntos dos jovens e da comunidade em geral, com a ajuda da Comissão Portugesa do Altântico (CPA).

O Presidente da AJPA é Samuel de Paiva Pires, eleito recentemente Vice-Presidente Executivo da Youth Atlantic Treaty Association (YATA), a qual engloba todas as associações da juventude a nível nacional. Além da sua experiência na organização de eventos no âmbito da AJPA, como a SIMOTAN e o PAYS, Samuel de Paiva Pires conta no seu curriculum vitae com um estágio na Embaixada de Portugal em Brasília, onde colaborou com o Gabinete de Imprensa e com o ministro Conselheiro. Licenciado em Relações Internacionais, frequenta, actualmente, o mestrado em Ciência Política no Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas (ISCSP).

Samuel de Paiva Pires segue o exemplo do Secretário-Geral da NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, na utilização das novas tecnologias para chegar junto do público. A AJPA tem-se divulgado a si e aos seus eventos através dos "novos media", forma que garante ser bastante eficaz para atrair participantes.

Procurámos saber junto do Presidente da AJPA o que é a associação, como se dá a conhecer, qual a sua importância no seio da NATO e qual a sua perspectiva da Aliança Atlântica nos dias de hoje. São estes os temas abordados e desenvolvidos ao longo da entrevista publicada pelo Dez.Interessante.

Entrevista na íntegra aqui.

O Dezinteressante foi falar com Samuel de Paiva Pires, presidente da AJPA. A Associação da Juventude Portuguesa do Atlântico colabora com a CPA e encontra-se ligada à NATO. O presidente da AJPA pretende que esta desempenhe um papel relevante na defesa dos valores atlanticistas e na sua divulgação perante a comunidade nacional e internacional.

Catarina Lobato (CL): Começo por perguntar-lhe o que é a AJPA?

Samuel Pires (SP): A Associação da Juventude Portuguesa do Atlântico, mais comummente conhecida por AJPA, é uma associação de jovens, que está integrada na Comissão Portuguesa do Atlântico (CPA). Tem vários jovens, universitários, normalmente estudantes de relações internacionais ou de ciência política, em geral de ciências sociais, com interesse pelas diversas matérias da NATO e do atlanticismo. Procura no fundo, junto dos jovens, divulgar os ideais da própria NATO e do atlanticismo.

CL: É claro o foco que a AJPA dá a eventos como a SIMOTAN e o PAYS. Quer-nos explicar em que consistem estas actividades e qual a sua projecção a nível nacional e internacional?

SP: Aproveito para enquadrar um pouco a AJPA. A AJPA faz parte da CPA, e estas, por sua vez, fazem parte de outras duas associações. Há uma ONG, ligada à divisão de diplomacia pública da NATO, que é a Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA), a qual reúne todas as comissões e associações do atlântico nos diversos países da NATO e Parceiros para a Paz. A ATA tem uma associação de jovens, a Youth Atlantic Treaty Association (YATA), que reúne todas estas associações, como a nossa, também nos diversos países. É nesse quadro que organizamos, todos os anos, tanto a SIMOTAN como o seminário de Verão [PAYS], dois eventos internacionais, que contam com a participação de jovens vindos de outros países. A SIMOTAN tem a duração de três dias e é uma simulação de uma reunião de emergência do Conselho da NATO para resolver uma crise, aquilo que lá fora se chama uma "Crisis management simulation". Nós apresentamos aos participantes um determinado cenário de crise e estes têm por objectivo vir a alcançar uma "draft resolution", que de alguma forma tente resolver a situação em causa. Já agora, a SIMOTAN foi criada há quatro anos e neste ano lectivo decorrerá a quinta edição . O seminário já tem uma longa tradição e é, inclusive, muito reconhecido pela YATA e pela ATA. Já vai na sua 14ª edição e é uma semana numa base militar. Este ano foi na Academia Naval, no Alfeite, e o ano passado tinha sido na Base da Força Aérea, em Sintra. Temos novamente participantes estrangeiros e portugueses numa série de conferências, palestras de vários oradores que convidamos, tanto nacionais como estrangeiros. Este ano, por exemplo, houve uma "Policy making simulation", em que pedimos aos participantes que redijissem, o que seria para eles, o novo conceito estratégico da NATO.

CL: A AJPA está, como já referiu, integrada na YATA. Como se estabelece uma ligação AJPA/ YATA e mesmo AJPA/NATO?

SP: Como dizia há pouco, a ATA tem as respectivas ATAS nacionais, que, por sua vez, têm as suas juventudes, como a AJPA. Para que um país possa ter um representante na YATA tem primeiro que ter uma comissão que esteja representada na ATA. Só após a Assembleia-geral da ATA aprovar a participação de um país no seu seio é que esse possível membro pode vir a ter uma associação da juventude. É dessa forma que acaba por ser estabelecida a ligação com a YATA e com a ATA. Em relação à NATO em si, a ATA é uma ONG internacional que não faz directamente parte da NATO, mas estando ligada à divisão de diplomacia pública mantêm uma estreita ligação.

CL: Enquanto Presidente, considera que a AJPA é importante no seio da NATO, é ouvida como juventude?

SP: Sim e vou dar um exemplo do que está a acontecer agora. A NATO e este novo secretário-geral, o Sr. Rasmussen, querem ouvir os jovens, querem que este novo conceito estratégico, aprovado em 2010, além de mais conciso, inclua, de alguma forma, as visões, os pontos de vista das gerações mais jovens, porque vão ser essas gerações, daqui a 10 e 15 anos, a estar à frente das diversas instituições e que terão uma palavra a dizer em relação ao que se passa no seio da NATO. Neste momento há uma crescente motivação para as YATAS e para a AJPA, claro, em tentar fazer chegar à NATO os pontos de vista dos jovens.

CL: A NATO tem procurado as novas tecnologias como forma de chegar mais perto das pessoas. Como procuram a CPA e a AJPA divulgar-se junto da opinião pública portuguesa?

SP: Pegando apenas no início da sua pergunta, principalmente o novo secretário-geral tem tentado alterar o paradigma comunicacional da NATO e isto precisamente para poder chegar aos jovens. Dessa forma, tem vindo a utilizar crescentemente o Twitter, o Youtube, o Facebook, enfim, as redes sociais, os meios de divulgação na internet. Ao longo deste último ano, o que a CPA e a AJPA procuraram fazer foi, também, adaptar-se a este novo paradigma e entre as várias formas de comunicação, as mais visíveis são a nossa "newsletter" trimestral, o nosso canal no Youtube, o nosso blog, o novo site, os grupos no facebook. Tudo isso tem ajudado a aumentar o interesse por estas questões, temos tido mais pessoas nos nossos eventos, mais pessoas de outros pontos do país, pessoas que entram em contacto connosco, que querem saber aquilo que está a acontecer na NATO e o que nós temos a dizer sobre isso. É dessa forma que tentamos comunicar na sociedade portuguesa aquilo que se vai passando.

CL: Muito se tem falado no papel da NATO na actualidade e da sua necessidade de adaptação a um novo cenário internacional. O que pensa sobre este assunto?

SP: Eu iria um pouco atrás. Nós somos obrigados sempre a ir aos anais da história. Estamos no ano de 2009, a celebrar o 20º aniversário da queda do Muro de Berlim. Ora, quando o Muro de Berlim caiu e a União Soviética acabaria por se desmoronar, tal como se dissolveu o próprio Pacto de Varsóvia, que era a contra-parte da NATO durante a Guerra-Fria, muitos esperavam que a NATO também se dissolvesse. Depois de 1989, a NATO teve de se adaptar e embora muitos pensassem que a Organização fosse desaparecer, a NATO acabou por ganhar um papel cada vez mais importante no seio da comunidade internacional. É uma organização extremamente atraente para outros países, como vimos ao longo dos anos 90 e mesmo recentemente com a integração dos países da antiga orla soviética. Neste momento, são já 28 os Estados-membros da Organização. O novo conceito estratégico, que será formulado e aprovado depois do conceito estratégico de 1999, o qual ficou desadequado com o 11 de Setembro de 2001, será uma forma de a NATO se adaptar a uma realidade internacional em crescente mudança e cada vez mais acelerada. Isto acontece com a multiplicação da agenda internacional, das várias temáticas que são abordadas e a NATO, hoje em dia, para além de estar no Afeganistão, encontra-se a fazer operações no combate à pirataria na Somália, ajudou em missões humanitárias no Paquistão, aquando do furacão Katrina, nos Estados Unidos. Outro dos exemplo e um assunto cada vez mais premente ao longo dos próximos anos são as alterações climáticas e, mais especificamente, a temática da energia, da "energy security", que é um dos temas principais da agenda da NATO. Portanto, aquilo que a NATO está a procurar fazer é adaptar-se a esta nova realidade internacional e, dizem alguns, tornar-se cada vez mais global. Claro que aqui entra também a relação da Organização com a Rússia e podemos falar ainda de alguns interesses estratégicos divergentes entre os Estados Unidos e a União Europeia no seio da NATO. No fundo, a NATO tem tentado adaptar-se e isso tem sido feito não só a nível político mas também a nível militar através da transformação das capacidades da própria Aliança.

CL: Na sua opinião, e enquanto Presidente da AJPA, quais os principais dilemas com que a Aliança Atlântica se depara actualmente?

SP: Tal como lhe dizia há pouco, eu apontaria três grandes questões. A primeira, a questão do Afeganistão, o papel que a NATO lá tem desenvolvido e o combate ao terrorismo [no Afeganistão]. A questão das relações com a Rússia, que é extremamente importante. A questão da segurança energética e apontava ainda uma outra parte da questão, do ponto de vista da diplomacia pública e da legitimidade da própria Organização junto da opinião pública, que é precisamente uma nova estratégia comunicacional por parte da própria NATO para que as pessoas entendam porque é necessária a sua existência e a acção.

CL: Vai-se realizar em 2010, em Lisboa, uma importante Cimeira. Como é que a CPA e a AJPA se têm preparado para a acolher?

SP: A Cimeira que se vai realizar em 2010, e onde será aprovado, à partida, o novo conceito estratégico da NATO, terá lugar no Outuno, Outubro ou Novembro, ainda não há uma data precisa. O que acontece, neste momento, é que a Cimeira de chefes de Estado em si, chefes de Estado e de Governo, será sempre organizada pelo Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros (MNE). Toda a Cimeira em si, toda a lojística recai sobre a alçada do MNE. Da nossa parte, aquilo que estamos disponíveis para fazer, mas ainda não sabemos o que irá acontecer e o que se irá passar, é organizar a Cimeira para os jovens, porque há sempre uma Cimeira, a Young Atlanticist Summit, que precede a Cimeira dos chefes de Estado e de Governo. Foi o que aconteceu este ano, em Estrasburgo.

segunda-feira, 5 de outubro de 2009

Newsletter CPA/AJPA - N.º 3 - Setembro 2009

O n.º 3 da Newsletter da CPA/AJPA já está disponível, aqui.

Este é um número especial, em inglês, relativo ao 14.º Seminário da AJPA, que teve lugar na Escola Naval, Alfeite, entre 1 e 8 de Agosto, tendo como tema principal o Novo Conceito Estratégico da NATO.

terça-feira, 8 de setembro de 2009

Newsletter CPA/AJPA - N.º 2 - Julho 2009

O segundo número da newsletter da CPA/AJPA está disponível aqui.

No fim deste mês será lançado um número especial, em inglês, relativo ao 14.º Seminário da AJPA.

segunda-feira, 10 de agosto de 2009

PAYS Day 7 - Presentation of NSC Drafts and Seminar Reports by the participants

The seminar was concluded with the presentation of the New Strategic Concepts drafted by the participants and their reports on this week. The documents will be available soon in the blog and our site.

PAYS Day 7 - "The Lisbon Summit, the Lisbon Young Atlanticist Summit and the New Strategic Concept"

On the 7th of August 2009 took place the last day of the 14th Portuguese Youth Atlantic Treaty Association. This final day resulted in the most important day of debate, since the participants had the chance to listen the NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, Mr. Jean François Bureau, who gave an interesting lecture about the challenges NATO is facing and how is it being planned to cope with these new problematic. The panel of speakers was also composed by H.E. Ambassador Manuel Tomás Fernandes Pereira, Portuguese Permanent Representative at NATO and by Professor Carlos Gaspar, Director of the Portuguese International Relations Institute.

Both speakers tried to focus on different perspectives allowing a better comprehension about the topic in discussion: The Lisbon Summit, the Lisbon Young Atlanticist Summit and the New Strategic Concept. This conference must be seen as extremely important, once it was the first step, the first debate in the long run to the definition of the New Strategic Concept. As the speakers agreed, “The eyes of the World are in Lisbon today, and this Seminar is fundamental for the brainstorming and debate”. 

Accordingly with the topic in debate, Mr. Jean François Bureau raised some key questions, from the most importance to the future of NATO: How is it possible to manage the difference between Defence and Security (regarding the article 5 commitments); the new emerging threats, such as Energy, Terrorism, Ciberterrorism, augment of Arms of Massive Destruction; the relationship between NATO countries and the world. 

As such, Mr. Jean François Bureau believes that the discussion of this New Strategic Concept must be as wide as possible. NATO is trying to involve people, showing that everyone will be heard and their thoughts will be taken into account in the decision making. As so, Mr. Bureau presented an Organization with new objectives, open to the public debate, enrolled in the “battle of the new technologies”, searching for comprehension and legitimacy to ensure the evolving process of NATO.

Following this remarks, the Portuguese Ambassador stated that the future of the Organization and the future of the world was being discussed in this conference, by participants from different nationalities, whose different points of view are extremely important to better adapt NATO to the new challenges above mentioned. The Portuguese Ambassador focused on more practical speech, reinforcing the importance of a clearer and open debate. As so, the Lisbon Summit is going to be a huge event, with a large participation. Portugal is really important in all this process, because of its old History, which allows it to play an important role in creating and stimulating the proximity and the debate, not only between NATO member countries but also non-member countries and international organizations.

As so, the main topics in the Lisbon Summit of 2010 are going to be: Security and Defence; the acceptance of the roadmap designed by the 12 international experts (in this roadmap the public opinion will have the chance to attend several other events, debates, conferences, seminars, where the discussion will take place, contributing to the wider debate that is suppose to achieve); the importance of the definition of a shorter strategic concept, different from the one in 1999, with 65 paragraphs. To sum up stated that “people that are interested in this issue will give good ideas to be reflected by the decision makers”. 

Professor Carlos Gaspar gave a more academic speech, referring some polemic issues around this topic. The first note regarded the fact that since 1991 this is going to be the 3rd Strategic Concept. Secondly, stated that for the first time, the public debate is at NATO’s concerns. Bearing this in mind, the Professor reminded a paradox, emerging from the fact NATO needs to change but, at the same time, some people believe that NATO is a well succeeded organization, the one that won the Cold War. As such, it is quite complicate to combine both. Consequently, the debate around the New Strategic Concept is going to take place in a period of deep divisions, mainly related with the “nature of NATO”, as regional defence alliance or a global defence alliance; relation between NATO and other international actors, such as European Union and the role of the United States of America inside the Organization. 

Regarding the division between regional and global, affirmed that the first one can kill NATO due to its lack of ambition; the second one can kill NATO due to its excess of ambition. As so, a third way is emerging, related with deterrence, aiming to conciliate not only the interests of the member countries but also of the other international actors.

To sum up, it can be said that the main objective of the New Strategic Concept circulates around the need of legitimacy and recognition by the international public opinion, in order to better understand the role NATO in the world as a stabiliser, fundamental to the security of nations and their citizens. 

Jorge Piteira Martins

PAYS Day 6 - Policy-making simulation

In the 6th day the participants were divided in groups and worked on drafting the New Strategic Concept as well as on the Seminar Reports to be presented in the next day. The Drafts and the Report will soon be available online.

PAYS Day 5 - Visit to NATO Joint Command Lisbon

The fifth day of the 14th PAYS started with the traditional visit to NATO Joint Command Lisbon. After being welcomed by General Pinheiro, Deputy Commander of JCL, the participants were briefed on NATO's organization by Lieutenant Colonel Ciprian Radulescu. That intervention was followed by a more operational briefing by Lieutenant Colonel Chris Scully, who gave the participants an important and interesting insight in what concerns the anti-piracy operations that NATO is running in the Gulf of Aden.

domingo, 9 de agosto de 2009

PAYS Day 4 - "Insecurity in Africa"

Following the lectures about International Security and Security System Reform, the afternoon of the 4th day of PAYS, was about Insecurity in Africa.

The lecturer, Professor Pedro Borges Graça, started the conference by asking the public their thoughts about Africa. This raised the general interest and gave a very interesting dynamic to the discussion. Later on, after hearing all the different opinions, Mr. Borges Graça, summed them up and gave them a hint of his own analysis.

Evaluating the continent the lecturer reminded the public about the very different dimensions one finds there. Firstly he identified 3 critical points for security in Africa. The first is in the Horn of Africa, another one being the Guinea Golf and South Africa. This analysis was based on a basic division between North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, where he identified a basic difference in state consolidation and the notion of nation state. On one hand there was only one nation state in Sub-Saharan Africa to begin with, Botswana, whereas in the Muslim Arab countries most states had a national basis one way or the other. Therefore there were very few security risks involved. The real threat there lay in those shatterbelt states, situated right in the middle, those between one and another Africa, states such as Nigeria, Mali and others.

This continent has indeed two major structural damages. As we have said, there is the problem of nation vs state. African borders are not in accordance with the different ethnic identities which would be too many and too small in numbers to constitute viable states anyway. Thus, the consolidation of the state structures is a starting challenge still to be met in many countries.

This gave way to the second structural liability of these regions: a vicious cycle revolving around a series of other problems: social, economic and political. Where one cannot be solved without the other, and where one causes another. In a very simple way, Professor Borges Graça explained the reason for the never ending drama that Africa has been for the last forty years.
Before the session ended the lecturer tackled the present and future of the continent, this turn as a competition site for foreign powers in Africa. The argument appointed American difficulties and the European lack of resources, to establish the needed influence in the continent. Stating that the US have the means and some European countries (namely Belgium, France, Portugal and the U.K.) have the know how since they are more familiarized with the continent. That would be why the American government has been having problems negotiating an African location for the establishment of their military command, AFRICOM.

Jorge Wahnon

PAYS Day 4 - "International Security and NATO" and "NATO's role in Security System Reform"

The fourth day of the 14th Portuguese Atlantic Youth Seminar began with the morning presentations of Inês Narciso, from the Portuguese Atlantic Youth Association (PAYA), and Mónica Ferro, from the School of Social and Political Sciences.

Focusing on the topic “International Security and NATO”, Ms. Narciso made an interesting analysis, which was accompanied by a series of key questions related to the discussion around the new Strategic Concept of the organisation. 

The lecturer found that the post Cold War period meant several changes for NATO, globalisation, pandemics and terrorism being some examples. Considering that soon the security paradigm started to evolve, as international organisations and the individual join the State as providers, and that the international society faces “New Wars”, as today’s conflicts occur more and more on an internal level, there’s a necessity to update the concept of Collective Defence and of “armed attack”.

Several challenges arise, externally, the shift of power and the multipolarity of the international system, proliferation and energy issues, internally, the question of burden sharing, the importance of geography in threat assessment and the relations with Russia.
NATO’s scope was object of analysis too, questioning its either global or regional focus, as there’s a tendency to out of area operations, which will pose the question of future enlargements and of the ongoing close relation with the UN.

The second presentation, of Mónica Ferro of the School of Social and Political Sciences, focused “NATO’s role in the Security System Reform”. Since the late nineties the approach as slowly changed as the reform is to be put forward on an internal level by each State, with different objectives, as of assuring human security or development. This reform will naturally include cooperation with organisations such as NATO or the E.U.

Carina Machado

PAYS Day 3 - "The importance of the Atlantic South" and "NATO's military capabilites transformation"

In the third day of the Portuguese Atlantic Youth Seminar, Manuela Franco, former State Secretary of Foreign Affairs and research fellow at Portuguese Institute for International Relations, exposed her broad views on the new international order and the inevitability to reform the strategic concept. The speaker reinforced the importance of the Pacific area and the new emerging great powers; some of them with authoritarian regimes seeking for regional hegemony, also defending that NATO should open its door to new partnerships in latest geostrategic regions like Atlantic South, where after the end of Apartheid in South Africa and the democratization in South America, BRIC’s concept has been risen.

Thus, a whole new meaning for this region turned out to be relevant. This is not only because of the strategic resources but also due to its illegal activities spread potential, considering the lecturer that NATO and particularly the US will here concentrate its concerns for the next years. The Caspian Sea could potentially be another point of tension and competition between some of the great powers.

Manuela Franco also pointed out the civilization of security that threatens the basic principles of democracy, believing that the Atlantic Alliance lives an anachronism, which can only be improved on the basis of the full perception of the external challenges, political participation and international law expansion. For Mrs. Franco, NATO will be more necessary in the future than it has been in the last few years. Therefore, there is the obligation to deal with problems besides war that cannot be ignored, if we take into account that political issues lift bigger problems than economic ones. Border tensions, the possible misunderstanding between national interests and economic benefits, as also the confusion involving military force, police force and humanitarian action, were highlighted as well.

In the second half of this conference, Lieutenant Colonel Francisco Proença Garcia of the Portuguese Delegation at NATO, spoke about NATO’s military capabilities transformation. In this matter, the visiting lecturer underpinned the returning to a pre- Westphalia past, where actors as militias and guerrillas are gaining more and more control over the monopoly of violence, outside the dominion of states, bringing several political tribulations.

Regarding this, we live in an epoch where the distinction between civil and military is disappearing, besides the demilitarization of war, exploring resources and fighting against people. This question is even more evident in the so called failed states.

For the speaker, military transformation is a result of knowledge society that has propitiated new weapons, which are smaller, longer range, furtiveness and robotized. Currently, the main goal of this kind of operations is demobilize instead of destruct. The importance of information is vital for the military capabilities transformation, being a strategic resource which allows faster responses in a multilateral environment. A new concept of operation was also mentioned, with characteristics of integration, flexibility, modularity and initiative. This kind of action needs less human forces and is conducted by a remote control.

Daniela Rodrigues

PAYS Day 2 - "Outcome of Strasbourg/Kehl Summit" and "Communicating Atlantic Values in the 21st century"

The “Outcome of Strasbourg/Kehl NATO Summit” and “Communicating Atlantic Values in the 21st century” were the two lectures that followed lunch in the afternoon of the second day on the 14th PAYS.

Beginning the conference, Samuel de Paiva Pires, president of the Portuguese Atlantic Youth Association, pass forward to the participants his conclusions about the Strasbourg/Kehl NATO Summit. Having been present in the Summit that occurred in April, Samuel started by giving the audience a historic background on NATO, why it was created, the deterrence during the cold war ant its reconfiguration after the fall of the Berlin Wall, mentioning the mutation suffered by NATO during the 90s and its adaptations to the global challenges that pass beyond peace and stability, ranging from the nuclear proliferation, terrorism, enlargement and the new partnerships. Those were the challenges that led to the Summit and to the acceptance of the draft of the new strategic concept. Taking advantage of its political capital, Barack Obama, not only endorse the adjustment of NATO’s strategic concept, but also asked the Europeans for a larger support in Afghanistan and brought the need for “sharing burdens”, not only military, but human, political and financial. Other highlights of the Summit were: the French reconciliation within NATO and it’s reintegration in the military structure; the official membership of Albania and Croatia; the presentation of priorities to Afghanistan and the need to reestablish relations with Russia.

With the next lecturer, Giuseppe Belardetti, president of the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association (YATA), the participants got presentation/formation on how to communicate Atlantic values in today’s world. Speaking from his personal experience, Giuseppe believes that despite the efforts made by NATO, the organization still can’t get trough its message to the average citizen, being its mission and goals damaged by the lack of an understandable approach to the public. Due to that, it’s easier to dissociate the values from the institution, passing forward the common history, ideology and politics between USA, Canada and Europe. Focusing specially on young people, Bellardetti talked about the need to inform teenagers, college students and young professional about what is NATO, and told the audience how to make it efficient and appealing. In what regards YATA, he defends the importance of its national or regional role in getting people involved, spreading the importance of the organization and its goals. The YATA associations can, in some circumstances, be more effective spreading information to the public and especially reaching young people (a difficult target for NATO public diplomacy). The media role and the importance of positive information were also topics on his presentation.

The lectures were followed by an intense debate with contributions from many participants of different nationalities.

Catarina Falcão

PAYS Day 2 - "Insight to Portuguese culture"

The second day of the 14th edition of the Portuguese Atlantic Youth Seminar opened with a contextualization of the Portuguese culture, history and current foreign policy core objectives and current situation. Professor Victor Marques dos Santos (PhD, School of Social and Political Sciences) was this lecture’s speaker.

Assuming that Portugal is 866 years old (signature of the Treaty of Zamora), the country soon found three main geostrategic principles: geographical proximity to North Africa and consequently to Islam; geographical proximity to the Kingdom of Léon and Castilla; and the art of mastering the sea, led by a lack of opportunity to expand North, South and East. This curious external factor “turned compasses” West and gave “New Worlds to the World”. So, the process of colonization and the establishment of an Empire brought social and political integration.

However, the meaning of “Power” has changed through ages. On the 20th century, International organizations such as NATO, United Nations, the European Union, Council of Europe, or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and Globalization, stereotyped the West as a secure, democratic region, with stable governments and with ethic and moral values, where freedom prevails. Therefore, the West distinguishes itself from “the rest”.

Nevertheless, “everything is at stake”, once the major objectives and the own State sovereignty were moved to Brussels. The National Interests are modeled according to each organization in order to standardize the goals, so that it won’t interfere with the basic principles.

In this chapter, Portugal is analyzed in the international frame. Portugal’s non-isolation policy is strengthened by the participations in such organizations. So, the internationalization of Portugal’s politics and economics is prepared by an active diplomacy, throughout bilateral and multilateral relations. Nonetheless, Portuguese participation in the international scenario lacks the responsibility to protect, although the country uses as its instruments of foreign policy, diplomacy, negotiation, participation in decision-making and participation in out-of-area missions.

José Miguel Pires

domingo, 2 de agosto de 2009

PAYS kicks off

The 14th Portuguese Atlantic Youth Seminar, taking place in the Alfeite Naval Academy, started Saturday (1st of August), with more than thirty participants. The seminar presentation panel counted with Rear Admiral Luís Macieira Fragoso, Alfeite Naval Academy Commander, Mr. Bernardino Gomes, Executive President of the Portuguese Atlantic Treaty Association, Giuseppe Belardetti, President of the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association and Samuel de Paiva Pires, President of the Portuguese Atlantic Youth Association, as introductory speakers and with Professor António Vitorino as its keynote speaker. Professor Vitorino, former European Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs, is spoken of as a possible nominee for NATO’s wise-men group.

The keynote speech was, as is this seminar, focused on the Alliance’s new strategic concept that is scheduled to be discussed and adopted in Lisbon, during the next year. Professor Vitorino explained that it has always been the basic political guideline of the Organization and its members. It proved to be vital for the adaptation and evolution of NATO troughout it’s sixty years of existence. However unlike the time when the “Iron Curtain” fell, 9/11 proved to be a bigger challenge for NATO. In the Professor’s wording the Alliance hasn’t yet adapted as well to this new paradigm of the XXI century, where it is facing threats from both conventional and unconventional forces, where the line distinguishing defence and national security has faded.

Despite the apparent difficulties to adopt a new strategic concept, Mr. Vitorino believes that now is a better time than ever to give the Alliance the conditions it needs to adapt to a post-9/11 world. He stated that the change of the US’s views on an EU Defence Community since Istanbul, the French reintegration in the military command structure, and the personal charisma of Barack Obama are some of many contributing factors that demise a previously sore relationship, opening room for the strengthening of links.

The spokesperson introduced 4 main issues with which NATO is faced with and that should guide us throughout the upcoming week. First is the evaluation of the re-implementation of the collective defence policy adapted to today’s and tomorrow’s world. Then, he referred the urgent need for the redefinition of what are considered to be the alliance’s main threats. Thirdly, a question about whether NATO should remain mainly a political and military organisation or if it should broaden its nature and include other structures, with different specialties. Finally, he deemed it necessary to mention the way the European public opinion understands the Alliance and the need for that to be changed.

As the lecture finished, many questions were raised and a lot of discussion followed, fulfilling the objective of this first concept: to introduce debate over the new strategic concept among participants.

sexta-feira, 31 de julho de 2009

14.º Seminário da Associação da Juventude Portuguesa do Atlântico - Press Release

14.º Seminário da Associação da
Juventude Portuguesa do Atlântico

1-8 Agosto - Escola Naval - Alfeite

Press release - 31-07-2009
A Comissão Portuguesa do Atlântico e a Associação da Juventude Portuguesa do Atlântico organizam pelo 14.º ano consecutivo o Seminário Internacional da Juventude, este ano subordinado ao tema do Novo Conceito Estratégico da Organização do Tratado do Atlântico Norte (OTAN), contando para isso com 50 participantes representativos de 16 nacionalidades de Estados Membros e Parceiros para a Paz desta organização. O seminário decorre de 1 a 8 de Agosto na Escola Naval do Alfeite. 
A sessão inaugural, que terá lugar na Escola Naval, às 17.45 do dia 1 de Agosto, contará com a presença do Dr. António Vitorino como key-note speaker, estando a imprensa convidada a assistir. 
Agradece-se confirmação com a finalidade de se tratar da credenciação para aceder às instalações da Escola Naval (através do email samuelppires@gmail.com ou por telefone para Sofia Moniz Galvão – 915816611).
(o programa do Seminário encontra-se disponível aqui)

terça-feira, 28 de julho de 2009

Portuguese Atlantic Youth Association News Clipping Nr. 3

(Boing C-17 Globemaster III at PAPA Airbase)

Dear and Esteemed Friends and Colleagues,
The third news clipping is as follows:


Title: Russia Proposes Anti-piracy cooperation with NATO
Source: English People's Daily Online

NATO and Russia have suspended their military-to-military cooperation after Russia-Georgia’s war, but the recent events of piracy in the seas of Africa are changing this issue. Dimitry Rogozin, Russian ambassador to NATO, has proposed military cooperation with NATO to control piracy. Rogozin said that one of Russia’s plans is the creation of an international court to decide on those matters.

Title: Russia Warns Against Arms Sales to Georgia
Source: The New York Times

Georgia is expecting a weapon supply from the USA, but President Medvedev has recently announced that Russia will impose sanctions to those who dare to sell weapons to Georgia. President Medvedev has said that it’s more dangerous rearming Georgian people than Georgia’s entrance to NATO. After Russia-Georgia’s war, U.S.A. only supports Georgia’s army with training and organization. Despite these new events President Medvedev has said that Russia needs good and friendly relations with USA.

Title: EU's Solana in Afghanistan visits
Source: BBC News

The presidential election in Afghanistan is near and in order to assure the good electoral process, Javier Solana, the European Union foreign policy chief, will travel to Afghanistan. The EU will send an election observer mission for the presidential and provincial council elections. Mr. Solana will meet the Afghanistan foreign minister and the head of the EU mission in order to emphasize the EU support in Afghanistan.

Title: Biden in Ukraine to assure leaders of U.S. backing
Source: Reuters

The American vice-president Joe Biden arrived in Ukraine aiming to establish diplomatic talks and to assure the American presence in Eastern Europe. Biden has found internal problems in the country, due to manifestations against the government. The Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko wants to guarantee the American support in case of a Russian threat. The vice-president Joe Biden has declared that Ukraine needs some changes, mainly in energetic policies so that the country can reduce the energetic dependence on Russia.

Title: Obama’s Inheritance: Al-Qaeda in Retreat
Source: World Affairs Journal

One of President Obama’s speeches had some critics to George W. Bush’s national security policies, but president Obama might be wrong. George. W. Bush left USA presidency with a feeling of safety guaranteed by its 2688 days passed without a terrorist attack on its soil.
Analyzing the inheritance of George W. Bush, we can see that when Mr. Bush went to the White House, there were too many terrorist problems in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. Then, in 7 years, the great efforts of the Bush administration have made important changes in the leadership of those states and nowadays America can easily avoid the terrorism. Now it’s time to President Obama keep the safety left by George W. Bush.

Tiago Alfarroba
Portuguese Atlantic Youth Association

quarta-feira, 22 de julho de 2009

Portuguese Atlantic Youth Association News Clipping Nr. 2

(NATO Joint Command Lisbon)

Dear and Esteemed Friends and Colleagues,
The second PAYA news clipping is as follows:


Title: A Shared Security Strategy for a Euro-Atlantic Partnership of Equals
Source: Center For Strategic And International Studies

It's imperative, now that we are discussing the new strategic concept, that Europe and USA pursue the development of a shared Euro-Atlantic strategy. Combining the efforts, both USA and European Union, should create a new strategy that will combine soft and hard power to produce good answers for tomorrow’s problems. You can download a paper that explains the needs and the capabilities of this alliance. This paper shows why we should cooperate and what both USA and EU need to do to take benefits of the partnership, and why should we do it as fast as we can.

Title: World financial crisis: what it means for security
Source: NATO

Today we are facing a financial crisis that is changing the world. We fear that this financial crisis can be the heart of a more extended crisis since we can easily see the effects of the great depression in today’s crisis, the hardship and the formation of some political extremism.
In this edition of NATO Review, we will analyze this crisis, the need to choose between reduce the defense budget or keep it as it was, we will examine China’s economic growth and its subsequent political one, protectionism as one “twist of the knife” concerning the economical and political aspects, and the need of a bigger investment in the development of renewable energies.

Title: General Stoltz -- First French general to lead Joint Command Lisbon
Source: Allied Joint Command Lisbon

General Phillipe Stoltz is the first French to command a NATO headquarter since the announcement of the French return to NATO's military command structure. The general will be in charge of the NATO’s military base in Oeiras, Lisbon. The Joint Command Lisbon is the headquarter responsible for commanding NATO’s counter piracy operation in the African seas.

Title: The Future of the Atlantic Alliance
Source: NATO

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer made a speech in London explaining the Future of the Alliance. The speech started with a presentation of what he has done the position of America and Europe, the increasing number of members like Albania and Croatia, and the increase of NATO’s operations. Secretary General Jaap de Hoop has also made a list of important issues which NATO should take care of, in order to assure that the Alliance keeps going in a good track, such as political dialogue, a comprehensive approach to nowadays’ security challenges, the development of better troops, the improvement of the NATO-Russia relationship and the persistent development a global partnership. Jaap de Hoop finished his speech emphasizing the importance of the new Strategic Concept.

Title: Members of the NATO PA Science and Technology Committee visited the United States last week
Source: NATO Parliamentary Assembly

Seventeen members of the Science and Technology Committee had discussions with some American experts in nuclear and energy issues. The main themes on debate were the nuclear disarmament, energy security and security implications. During this discussion it was emphasized the non proliferation of the nuclear weapons, which was strongly supported by some experts. The technological innovations have represented another part of the main topics of the discussions.

Title: Flipping the Taliban
Source: Foreign Affairs (registration needed)

The Afghan war is far from the end, mainly because of some President Bush Administration’s mistakes. The mismanagement under Bush presidency had a very strong effect in the Taliban power. Now with president Obama everything is changing. With the deployment of more 21.000 U.S. troops, President Obama shows his strong will in ending this war as soon as he can. But this fact alone will not end the war, it’s also necessary a political intervention in the field, in order to create the conditions needed to weaken the Taliban power and persuade large groups of fighters to lay down their guns.

Tiago Alfarroba
Portuguese Atlantic Youth Association

domingo, 19 de julho de 2009

Portuguese Atlantic Youth Association News Clipping Nr. 1

(USS Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived in Lisbon the 14th July after a 3 months mission in the Arabic Sea supporting NATO troops in Afghanistan)

Dear and Esteemed Friends and Colleagues,

The Portuguese Atlantic Youth Association will be sending out news clipping to all participants in the 14th PAYS.

The first is as follows:


Source: NATO

NATO started in the past 7th July a session of dialogues with some experts from the strategic community in order to get a new strategic concept to the organization. The objective was to examine the relations with the rest of the world and analyze NATO's role in the new threats and challenges. This debate will create the new strategic concept that will be used as the guidance lines to the military and political issues. This will substitute the old strategic concept signed at the Washington summit in 1999.

Source: Daily Telegraph

A group of Central and Eastern Europe's most important political figures have written a letter to President Obama in order to explain the strong pressure and intimidation that Russia makes in those countries. The Antimissile system is the key issue. Now that the U.S.A are spreading their net to the Eastern Europe this countries demand diplomatic negotiations with Russia and European Union in order to weaken the energetic dependence and Russia's influence.

Source: New York Times

In the last few years the relationship between USA and Russia suffered some problematic issues mainly because of G.W. Bush presidency. Now with some change of tone showed by President Obama they have reached new grounds. The opening of Russia's airspace for the Afghan War is a very important step in the diplomatic ground. Some issues continue to concern the two countries, the antimissile defense system and the nuclear arms cut.

Source: The Economist

In the last few days the Afghan war has been very destructive to the British troops. Besides the recent efforts done by President Obama, some of the allies want to withdraw from Afghanistan. Gordon Brown has recently said that they should promote an emerging democracy, but the price of this strategy can be much more expensive. Now that Iraq is almost over control it's imperative to keep the troops in Afghanistan and this supplementary effort should be done not only by Americans but also by all their allies.

Source: i (article in Portuguese)

Severiano Teixeira, Portuguese minister of Defense, in an interview reminded that Portugal and other America's allies said no when President Bush asked for more troops to Afghanistan, he said " Our conception was different: we thought that the solution to the Afghan problem couldn't be exclusively military". But when President Obama was elected to the White House everything changed: "The President Obama's strategy is focused in a political dimension (…) the military safety should be followed by economic development and stabilization of the political institutions". Now Portugal will send more special troops to Afghanistan and this not only gives an important role to Portugal in the Atlantic alliance but also upgrades the relationship between Portugal and America.

Source: Foreign Affairs (registration needed)

In April 2009 a group of Somali Pirates tried to seize a U.S. cargo ship named Maersk Alabama. The crew fought back trying to protect themselves and the ship but Richard Phillips was caught. This episode finished with the marines killing the pirates and saving Richard. Piracy is becoming a real problem and now NATO is contributing to assure the safety of the African sea. In this essay we can understand how we defeated the pirates in the past and how we can do it now.

quarta-feira, 8 de julho de 2009

Reunião do NATO-Russia Council em Corfu

No dia 27 de Junho de 2009, ocorreu a primeira reunião a nível ministerial do NATO-Russia Council (NRC), na ilha grega de Corfu, por iniciativa do Primeiro-ministro grego Konstantínos Karamanlís e pelo Primeiro-Ministro Italiano Silvio Berlusconi.

Os Ministros dos Negócios Estrangeiros presentes tiveram assim a oportunidade de rever o actual estado das relações entre a Aliança e a Federação Russa e discutiram também qual o caminho a seguir pelo NRC. Consensualizou-se, que esta reunião marca o início das reuniões de alto nível entre estes actores, suspensas desde os dramáticos eventos de Agosto de 2008.

Como o Secretário Geral, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, afirmou ”The NRC which has been in the neutral stand for almost a year, is now back in gear...No one tried to paper over our differences in the meeting, on Georgia, for example. But we agreed […] not to let those disagreements bring the whole NRC train to a halt.” No que diz respeito ao Secretário Geral e sta reunião tem ainda um significado simbólico, uma vez que foi a última reunião do NRC conduzida por Hoop Scheffer antes de deixar o seu cargo no final do mês de Julho. Como tal, enfatizou a necessidade de um maior comprometimento por parte dos ministros dos negócios estrangeiros para um melhor funcionamento do NRC.

Neste seguimento, identificaram-se os interesses “securitários” comuns, tais como a estabilização do Afeganistão, controlo de armamento, a não proliferação de armas de destruição massiva, gestão de crises, luta contra o terrorismo, luta contra os narcóticos e o combate à pirataria.
Os membros do NRC encontram-se assim num processo de progressiva examinação da estrutura institucional do Conselho com o objectivo de o tornar num instrumento mais eficiente e válido para o diálogo político e cooperação.

Esta reunião reveste ainda especial importância no decurso da necessidade de uma maior aproximação entre a Aliança Atlântica e a Federação Russa, assente sobretudo numa maior transparência e compreensão relativamente aos objectivos da Aliança numa área cada vez mais próxima da tradicional e cada vez mais efectiva esfera de influência russa. Não é portanto de estranhar que tal reunião do Conselho tenha ocorrido alguns dias antes da visita oficial do Presidente Barack Obama à Federação Russa, onde o principal objectivo do debate circulou em torno dos avanços da Aliança e do polémico sistema de defesa anti-míssil norte-americano.

Assim, com o NRC, existe uma útil plataforma para discutir, clarificar e consequentemente coordenar os objectivos estratégicos da Aliança com os objectivos estratégicos russos, assegurando aquilo que está na essência da presença da Aliança nestas regiões: a estabilidade e segurança das populações.

segunda-feira, 6 de julho de 2009

NATO: Novo conceito estratégico: lançando o processo - 7 de Julho 2009 - Transmissão em directo

A NATO irá lançar formalmente o processo que levará à elaboração do novo Conceito Estratégico da Aliança, numa conferência em Bruxelas.

A Conferência contará com a participação do Secretário Geral da NATO, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer e com o Secretário Geral designado, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, juntando ainda um leque diversificado de representantes de países Aliados e Parceiros, da NATO, de organizações internacionais, sociedade civil, parlamentos, empresas, ONG's, think tanks, académicos e jornalistas.

Podem encontrar um programa detalhado aqui e visualizar a transmissão em directo aqui.

terça-feira, 23 de junho de 2009

sexta-feira, 19 de junho de 2009

"NATO and Afghanistan - To act or to collapse, that is the question"

Artigo de Bernardo Pires de Lima, investigador no IPRI, publicado na The Majalla:

As the new US Administration strategy for Afghanistan is being implemented, doubts arise within NATO.  Are the European members of the organization willing to uphold bigger responsibilities in the reconstruction and counter-insurgency effort, as the US eagerly but also sceptically expects them to? In the meanwhile, the bigger picture is the question of whether European leaders are ready to recognize the political and strategic relevance of Central Asia, and act accordingly.

More than twenty years after the Russian defeat in Afghanistan we may see the Atlantic Alliance with the same epilogue there. One may ask why history is so ironic, so repeated perhaps. The answer is quite simple: a powerful state like the Soviet Union, or a powerful alliance as NATO, weren't and are not prepared to act in anarchy. NATO, in particular, is confronted with a dilemma within its members: few of them are prepared to die in Afghanistan, but most of them are not. This is one of the current problems in Afghanistan, mainly in the south, where the insurgency is more visible and the political situation uncontrolled. To achieve a stable territory, NATO must give some proofs of existence, relevance, coordination and strength in Afghanistan and consider, as Obama Administration has done, the AfPak approach. If it does not so, the end of the most powerful and successful military and political alliance in history will be exactly the same as Soviet Union had two decades ago, its collapse. 

The global NATO already exists. What for?

NATO's recent strategic approach has nothing to do with the old one. Since the Balkan wars its global political dynamic has been followed by an ambitious military buildup in regions that are not euro-atlantic in classic terms. Today, roughly 70 000 military personnel are engaged in NATO missions around the world, in places like Afghanistan, the Gulf of Aden, Lebanon, Iraq, Mediterranean sea, Sudan, Somalia or Pakistan. NATO has deep partnerships with Central Asia, Caucasus, Eastern Asia, Australia, New Zealand, African Union and Latin America. This global approach, geographic and politically speaking, means that this strategy has worldwide security logic in the current international architecture. We should ask if this is the right way to achieve NATO's relevance after the Cold War, but we cannot deny that there is still a central place for NATO in international security environment. 
Is commonly accepted that Afghanistan is the greatest NATO's challenge, and that this global approach it's at stake there. I agree with that. But not for an afghan reason, so to speak: it's at stake because there is no such thing as NATO without the euro-atlantic alliance. And this could be the end of Europe's strategic relevance on the international security community.

The European answer

Obama strategy in Afghanistan is likely to include other states, involving some kind of dialogue with Iran and efforts to bring India, the Gulf states and central Asian countries into the field. Moreover, while US are placing demands on Europe to do more, as we saw during the last NATO summit, European governments are coming under increasing domestic pressure to do less.

Although the ISAF mission has grown from 32,800 troops in November 2006 (one month before Robert Gates replaced Rumsfeld at the Pentagon) to 61,960 in March 2009 (with many of these new forces coming from European countries), 18 out of the 25 EU countries participating in ISAF, have increased their deployment since late 2006 - 43% of ISAF's troops. But, as we know, these numbers don't mean stability, but two things: first, the military efforts are not the only answer to the problem; second, the European military buildup need more accuracy on the ground, courage to fight in the critical zones, and political will from all decision makers.

There are a number of ways Europeans can make a difference in Afghanistan, aside from simply sending more troops. They seem to implicitly agree on what it's needed: the negotiation's opening with some of the Talibans, a development-based approach to counter-narcotics, more civilian reconstruction and more and better training for Afghan security forces enabling them to lead the counter-insurgency effort, as well as regional initiatives that include Pakistan, India, Iran and Russia. This should be the medium-term vision.

But short-term approach should be focused to ensure that elections take place on an atmosphere of relative security, particularly at the country's south and east regions. So far, voter registration has been better than expected in southern provinces like Uruzgan, Helmand, Kandahar and Nimroz. But fraud in one part of the country could exacerbate regional and ethnic tensions, with serious implications for a new presidential mandate. Therefore, elections have the potential to undermine much of the progress that has been made since 2001, although being insufficient to provide on their own a new beginning. Conclusion seems obvious: what is needed it's an European military and economic effort during 2009 to ensure that the new President's political legitimacy could guarantee confidence amongst people, economy recovering, peace provided by security and military forces, and the exit door that NATO wants.

Central Asia is crucial to Euro-Atlantic future

There are three stages we should consider about the security link between central Asia and the Euro-Atlantic future.

Firstly, Afghanistan. NATO's role in this century needs a successful AfPak strategy for the next decade. It's not only crucial to its credibility as a multilateral organization at the globalized security architecture, but also to its members, particularly the United States and the preeminent European powers. In other words, the great coalition of the Cold War needs another victory to keep his importance in the global arena.

Secondly, energy supplies. Energy security is one of the core issues which could implode relations among states in the future. European dependence on Russian energy supplies shows how this weapon could be used as a political instrument to balance, divide and change the states behaviour. At the same time, former Soviet republics in Caucasus and central Asia are playing a major role on the dialogue between US and Russia, US and China, and between Russia and China. If one realizes how powerful these three states are and will be in the future, and how their economies will need energy for developing, we are looking to the most relevant region on earth.

Thirdly, the role of Middle East powers. I'm talking about Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel. They all have interests in central asian countries and some of them are intimately linked to United States. Saudi Arabia and Israel need US security umbrella against Iran, and Tehran need partnerships in central Asia to expand its political influence and improve his economic perspectives: it's the regime question.

We need an exit strategy for AfPak. But we also need to assume that an unsuccessful exit strategy could open a free way in central Asia to other powers. This must be the Euro-Alantic mindset, even if the current economic crisis is a strong reason to do nothing.