NATO’s secretary general has flown in to join over sixty world leaders who have gathered in Cardiff and Newport today for the NATO summit. It is the biggest event Wales has seen for years, and one which has brought 10,000 extra police onto the streets.
Protests are planned and the police have taken delivery of some new vehicles featuring the latest in crowd control technology.
This summit was to cap the alliance’s efforts in Afghanistan with the formal handover of security. Instead that plan is crumbling in the face of an election scandal, and NATO has a crisis on its backdoor in Ukraine.
“NATO will try to do two things. It will try and send a message of reassurance to its own member states in the east that feel threatened by the new developments in Ukraine and it will try to send a message to Putin that Article 5 borders in Europe are safe and that you should not dare to go beyond that,” says the director of the Carnegie Europe think tank, Jan Techau.
NATO has spent much of the post-Soviet era wondering what its role should be. Now it is being challenged from the enemy it was designed to rebuff, all eyes are on it.
“Identifying the big security challenges will be the easy part for NATO leaders. The real question is whether they will be able to muster the political will and financial muscle to tackle them,” said euronews’ James Franey.