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.