NATOs new vision and new frontier: The greater Middle East from Iraq to Afghanistan

Posted in NATO , Iraq , Broader Middle East , Asia | 13-Aug-03 | Author: Klaus Naumann

General (ret) Klaus Naumann:
Former Chairman NATOs Military Committee and Chief of Staff German Federal Armed Forces
Europe must understand, and I believe it does, that it is in Europe's best interest if the US succeeds in their efforts to stabilize Iraq. The US on the other hand must understand that it needs more than allies. It needs an alliance full of reliable allies whom are ready and capable of taking on risks together with their American allies. This means, however, that decisions have to be taken collectively.

Therefore the US and Europe should see the stabilization of Iraq as a common responsibility and should, based on a new UNSCR, agree that NATO should run the security part of the show and EU / US cooperation should lead the economic recovery. NATO has much to offer in running post conflict stabilization operations and it has a lot to gain if nations once again rallied behind a common course.

In a follow-on step the US and their European allies should work together to draft a NATO strategic concept for the stabilization of the greater Middle East of which both Iraq and Afghanistan are parts.

This huge long term task of stabilizing the entire region from North Africa through the Levant, the Middle East to Central Asia and the Indian Ocean is tomorrow's challenge for Europeans and North Americans alike. Both have no alternative but to take it on shoulder to shoulder. This task should mark both, NATO's new vision and NATO's new frontier. If this were to happen then the mistakes made over the Iraq crisis would have transformed the crisis into a chance.