As geopolitical headwinds continue to redefine the nature of alliances and partnership, NATO is taking a proactive approach to engaging with nations outside of its usual core jurisdiction. At the UN General Assembly, NATO’s Secretary General met with a plethora leaders to reiterate the importance of political and defence cooperation to ensure both peace and stability. With the institutionalized coalitions like the BRICS asserting more agency internationally, GLOBSEC asks experts from its Future Security and Defence Council and executive team; What are the current political priorities for NATO when it comes to its relations with strategic partners outside of the Euro-Atlantic area?
Gen. (Ret.) Sir Richard Shirreff, Former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, NATO
It strikes me that how NATO should deal with its partners outside the Euro-Atlantic region must be driven by its priorities: the direct defence of the transatlantic region against the long-term threat from Russia; defence against threats of instability and terrorism in regions close to NATO and the long term challenge posed by China. This means; strengthening partnerships with close allies, such as Australia; building partnerships with countries in regions of strategic importance to NATO, in particular the Sahel (particularly Morocco and Mauretania) and influencing nations in the global south who have, thus far, supported (directly or indirectly) Russia in its war in Ukraine (India, Brazil, South Africa).
Samira Braund, Chief Executive Officer, UK Defence Solutions Centre
Engagement beyond the Euro-Atlantic arena is key to maintaining NATOs position. Dialogue with People’s Republic of China is important to mitigate their increased alignment with Russia. Broader engagement in the Indo Pacific region will further strengthen political ties. More close to home, support to countries in the Middle East and N. Africa who face an extant threat from terrorist organisations is vital in striving to achieving greater security within NATO borders. NATO must take a lead and, through the application of innovative technology must play its part in combatting climate change on a global scale. NATO must not shy away from supporting partnerships and political initiatives that will deter military aggression and promote peace and security anywhere.
Federica Mangiameli, Programme Manager & Policy Fellow, Future of Security, GLOBSEC
During his visit to the U.S., Stoltenberg's primary objective is to garner support for Ukraine, particularly from countries that still perceives European affairs as relevant solely to Europeans and NATO. Given the emergence of global threats, NATO must strengthen ties with Asian partners through intensified joint exercises and enhanced cyber cooperation to send a clear message to Beijing. At the same time, the Southern Flank of NATO demands immediate attention and increased dynamism to foster stability in the Allies’ immediate neighborhood. Finally, the conflict in Ukraine underscored the critical role of satellites in wartime, highlighting their vulnerability. It is imperative for NATO to delve into discussions on space security and engage with key stakeholders.