"Political and demographic changes within Europe, as well as the United States, also ensure that the transatlantic alliance will lose prominence. In Europe, the E.U. project still consumes the attention of many, but for others, especially those in southern Europe facing unsustainable fiscal shortfalls, domestic economic turmoil takes precedence. No doubt, Europe’s security challenges are geographically, politically and psychologically less immediate to the population than its economic ones. Mounting financial problems and the imperative to cut deficits are sure to limit what Europeans can do militarily beyond their continent.
Moreover, intimate ties across the Atlantic were forged at a time when American political and economic power was largely in the hands of Northeastern elites, many of whom traced their ancestry to Europe and who were most interested in developments there. Today’s United States — featuring the rise of the South and the West, along with an increasing percentage of Americans who trace their roots to Africa, Latin America or Asia — could hardly be more different. American and European preferences will increasingly diverge as a result.
Finally, the very nature of international relations has also undergone a transformation. Alliances, whether NATO during the Cold War or the U.S.-South Korean partnership now, do best in settings that are highly inflexible and predictable, where foes and friends are easily identified, potential battlefields are obvious, and contingencies can be anticipated.
Almost none of this is true in our current historical moment. Threats are many and diffuse. Relationships seem situational, increasingly dependent on evolving and unpredictable circumstances. Countries can be friends, foes or both, depending on the day of the week — just look at the United States and Pakistan. Alliances tend to require shared assessments and explicit obligations; they are much more difficult to operate when worldviews diverge and commitments are discretionary. But as the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya all demonstrate, this is precisely the world we inhabit.
For the United States, the conclusions are simple. First, no amount of harping on what European governments are failing to do will push them toward what some in Washington want them to do. They have changed. We have changed. The world has changed. Second, NATO as a whole will count for much less. Instead, the United States will need to maintain or build bilateral relations with those few countries in Europe willing and able to act in the world, including with military force. Third, other allies are likely to become more relevant partners in the regions that present the greatest potential challenges. In Asia, this might mean Australia, India, South Korea, Japan and Vietnam, especially if U.S.-China relations were to deteriorate; in the greater Middle East, it could again be India in addition to Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and others.None of this justifies a call for NATO’s abolition. The alliance still includes members whose forces help police parts of Europe and who could contribute to stability in the Middle East. But it is no less true that the era in which Europe and transatlantic relations dominated U.S. foreign policy is over. The answer for Americans is not to browbeat Europeans for this, but to accept it and adjust to it."
Dividere l'Europa occidentale dall'Europa Centrale per riportare quest'ultima sotto la propria influenza. E' questa la strategia russa secondo la Stratfor (qui e qui):
"Russia is using the concept to both plant doubt in Central Europe about Germany’s commitment to the Intermarium and to give Berlin the sense that diplomacy is an effective tool in dealing with Moscow. The more Russia can convince Germany that Berlin can manage Russian aggression in Europe, the less Berlin will support the Intermarium’s efforts to counter Russia with military alliances. Russia thus wants to give Germany the confidence that it can handle Moscow. Germany sees the EU-Russia Political and Security Committee as a diplomatic success and proof of its influence over Moscow, whereas the Intermarium countries see it as proof of Germany’s accommodationist attitude toward Russia.
(…) the overall balance between the United States and Russia in Central Europe will depend on another country: Germany. The question at this point will be the extent to which Germany is willing to see the Intermarium draw in a U.S. military presence. Like Russia, Germany does not want to see a U.S.-dominated continent, especially when Berlin is strong enough to command the region politically and economically. Nor does Germany want to see a more aggressive Russia in a few years. Berlin has limited options to prevent either scenario, but it could use NATO and EU structures to stall the process — though it would cause an identity crisis for both institutions. It will be important to watch how the United States and Russia use Germany against each other in the fight over Central Europe"
… nelle parole di saluto del Ministro della Difesa Gates.
"With respect to Europe, for the better part of six decades there has been relatively little doubt or debate in the United States about the value and necessity of the transatlantic alliance. The benefits of a Europe whole, prosperous and free after being twice devastated by wars requiring American intervention was self evident. Thus, for most of the Cold War U.S. governments could justify defense investments and costly forward bases that made up roughly 50 percent of all NATO military spending. But some two decades after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the U.S. share of NATO defense spending has now risen to more than 75 percent – at a time when politically painful budget and benefit cuts are being considered at home.
The blunt reality is that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the U.S. Congress – and in the American body politic writ large – to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense. Nations apparently willing and eager for American taxpayers to assume the growing security burden left by reductions in European defense budgets.
Indeed, if current trends in the decline of European defense capabilities are not halted and reversed, Future U.S. political leaders– those for whom the Cold War was not the formative experience that it was for me – may not consider the return on America’s investment in NATO worth the cost. What I’ve sketched out is the real possibility for a dim, if not dismal future for the transatlantic alliance. Such a future is possible, but not inevitable."
• NATO should remain predominantly a regional alliance. NATO should develop a more cooperative relationship with Russia and other neighbours in the Euro-Atlantic area. However, NATO should remain able, in exceptional circumstances, to deploy beyond its perimeter if the vital security interests of a member state(s) are at risk. Afghanistan is the exception, not the rule.
• Collective defence must remain the core business of NATO. The crucial corollary of this is that every one of its members should enjoy the same level of security guarantee. Particular attention should be paid to instability along NATO’s Eastern border and beyond the Turkish border.
• A military tool for a comprehensive political strategy. As a military alliance, NATO must develop its missions in close collaboration with organisations with a strong civilian component like the EU or the UN. The comprehensive, strategic approach needed to confront conflict and crisis should be at the core of a reinforced EU-NATO political dialogue.
• EU-NATO cooperation on military capabilities should be improved. In a constrained budgetary environment, neither the EU nor NATO members can afford to waste ever scarcer defence funds. Separately, both organisations are encouraging their members to cooperate on developing capabilities, but they should work much more together.
• NATO should eventually become a military component of a stronger EU-US strategic relationship. The EU and the US increasingly work together on security issues as well as non-security issues (which sometimes overlap). A much stronger and more strategic EU-US partnership is likely to develop in the coming decade, due to the combination of the emerging multipolar world and the bedding in of the Lisbon Treaty institutional reforms. In that context, NATO would remain a vital military component of the Euro-Atlantic relationship.
Dalla Suddeutsche Zeitung apprendiamo che non vi è accordo tra gli alleati NATO sull’inclusione delle aggressioni informatiche nei casi coperti dall’art. 5 del Trattato il quale prevede una risposta collettiva ad attacchi subiti da uno degli alleati.
Il draft del nuovo Concetto Strategico predisposto dal Segretario Generale Rasmussen includerebbe nella protezione offerta dall’articolo 5 anche gli attacchi informatici ma ciò sembra incontrare resistenze da parte di alcuni alleati europei.
Sarà interessante vedere come va a finire la vicenda anche in un’ottica di analisi dell’evoluzione del concetto di deterrenza nel XXI secolo.
E' ciò che afferma Stephen Walt. Secondo il docente di Harvard (ma non solo secondo lui, ovviamente) il crollo dell'URSS, facendo venire meno la ragione sociale dell'Alleanza, ha profondamente minato le basi della NATO la quale, anche sull'onda della crisi economica, del probabile fallimento afghano e della crescente divergenza tra gli interessi degli alleati (ad esempio, la Turchia) è destinata a diventare irrilevante.
PS …ammettendo che l'analisi di Walt sia corretta (per me lo è) ed in considerazione dell'importanza capitale che la NATO ha per il nostro sistema di difesa sarebbe interessante - per il nostro Paese intendo – avere un dibattito serio e "realista" sull'argomento.