domingo, 9 de agosto de 2009

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

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