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NATO's Di Paola says time to change focus

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NATO's Di Paola says time to change focus

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Admiral Gianpaolo Di Paola, as the chairman of NATO’s military committee, is the highest military authority in the alliance and euronews’ correspondent in Brussels talked to him about where the alliance is heading.

euronews:
“What are the challenges ahead for NATO in the 21st century?”

Gianpaolo Di Paola:
“The challenges are quite clear. In the 21st century the challenges and the threats to the alliance, therefore to its citizens, are no longer the ones which we knew during the cold war. Actually they are called terrorism, they are called fragile states, they are called failing states, they are called cyberthreats, they are called energy security.These are the threats, along with proliferation.

“Fundamentally NATO has to change its strategic concept – I expect it will do in Lisbon – and recognise that these are the new security challenges for which we have to adapt. We have to adapt to this situation where there is no longer a threat to our borders, but actually there are threats without borders. This recognition is the fundamental issue.”

euronews:
NATO is going through an important reform, but we see in cases, like for instance Afghanistan, where foot soldiers are still important, and it’s a matter of numbers sometimes. So isn’t it a sort of contradiction that NATO is going to reduce the number of its units?”

Gianpaolo Di Paola:
“We are not cutting soldiers, we are not cutting into the muscle, we are cutting into the fat. And the fat is the overstructure, the superstructure in the case of NATO headquarters, NATO’s command structure or agency structure. Each nations superstructure is looking at cutting overheads, not soldiers. They need to stay.”

euronews:
“Is Afghanistan a defeat for NATO, or the West in general?”

Gianpaolo Di Paola:
“Not at all, I must say this with full conviction; as a matter of fact in Lisbon, I expect a new phase will be launched. Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, and the international community, not only NATO, will probably decide to launch a new phase next year, the transition phase, when we will start a process, condition driven, in which the Afghans will take more and more responsibility for their own security. This is a process that will last a number of years, but in the end, the result will be leadership of Afghan security forces by Afghans.”

euronews:
“Don’t you have the impression that the Americans, with this administration, look more interested in what is happening in Asia than in Europe? And one day there will be a sort of shift, from a strategic point of view, with strong implications for NATO?”

Gianpaolo Di Paola:
“We will go where the alliance decides, where the security of its citizens is in danger. We are in the heart of Asia, because Afghanistan is in the heart of Asia. We are already there, that’s a fact, so we have to have forces which are deployable. Today we are in Asia, tomorrow I don’t know. But, by the way, why do we talk about the Far East? Why don’t we say Africa, or one day South America or one day the South Pole? We go where, we together, decide there is a challenge to our security.”