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Searching for a new NATO strategy

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Searching for a new NATO strategy

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The war in Afghanistan and the relationship with Russia are just some of the issues NATO is trying to grapple with as it defines its new strategy for the next decade. euronews’ Paul Hackett spoke to Sarwar Kashmeri, a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington and author of NATO: Reboot or Delete.

Paul Hackett:
‘‘It’s 61years since NATO was forged. Do we still need it in today’s world?’‘

Sarwar Kashmeri:
‘‘I believe we still need NATO. It’s a very valuable organisation but it is increasingly becoming irrelevant.’‘

Paul Hackett:
‘‘Do you think it can survive the next decade?’‘

Sarwar Kashmeri:
‘‘My feeling is unless the United States talks directly with the European Union and sets up a long range plan, connects NATO to CSDP, turns over a large part of the on-going European security to the Europeans but still remains connected, NATO will continue to fade.’‘

Paul Hackett:
‘‘Afghanistan remains the organisation’s biggest mission to date. Has this exposed NATO’s limits?’‘

Sarwar Kashmeri:
‘‘I think it has not only exposed NATO’s limits but in my opinion exposed its disfunctionality. And how we manage the exit of NATO from Afghanistan is an increasingly important issue. I think if we are not careful we will find that the credibility that remains with NATO will also start to disappear.’‘

Paul Hackett:
‘‘At the heart of NATO’s strategy is still the core commitment of collective defence. Would this work for the likes of a massive cyber assault?’‘

Sarwar Kashmeri:
‘‘You know, that’s a really good question. I don’t believe it can. Because if you go back to Estonia just a few years ago, when Estonia was brought to its knees within a few hours with a cyber attack, and the Estonian presidency went to NATO and asked for help, they very quickly found out this was not considered an article 5 event for NATO. And NATO was unable to help and it is still unable to help.’‘

Paul Hackett:
‘‘Washington has a number of reform plans regarding security, for example the missile defence shield. Is this project a realistic aim?’‘

Sarwar Kashmeri:
‘‘You know I’m very sceptical about the entire missile defence for a number of reasons. One, who is going to pay for it? The latest information I have is that the entire bill is going to be underwritten by the United States. The other issue is of course Russia, which is being asked to join. I think it’s a good idea to engage Russia in conversations. But I’d like to tell you about a conversation I had with a senior Russian official in Brussels, not too long ago, and I asked him about the newer, kinder, gentler NATO and he looked at me and he said: ‘‘There is an old Russian saying, if your grandmother grows whiskers does she become your grandfather.’‘ So I just offer that for some of the difficulties that we will face going forward. In my opinion this is the wrong thing to discuss at the top of the agenda in Lisbon. What President Obama ought to do is discuss connecting NATO to the EU and initiate a project where the American Secretary of State, the Canadian Foreign Minister gets together with Baroness Ashton and works out the details.’‘