General (ret.) Klaus Naumann: "The Gap between NATO Missions and Means is growing as we speak."

Posted in NATO | 15-Jan-08 | Author: Dieter Farwick

Former Chairman of NATO Military Committee and Former Chief of the Defence Staff Germany, General (ret.) Dr. Klaus Naumann—member of the International Advisory Board of the World Security Network Foundation: "The present NATO Strategic Concept was adopted in 1999, but since then the world has changed dramatically. NATO was at that time a regional alliance that concentrated on the reactive defense of the Treaty Area. Reaction no longer suffices; prevention of crises and armed conflict and war is today’s task."

- Exclusive WSN-interview with General (ret.) Dr. Klaus Naumann conducted by WSN-Global Editor Dieter Farwick -

Dieter Farwick: Why do NATO and the 26 NATO member states need a new or modified comprehensive Grand Strategy?

Klaus Naumann: The present NATO Strategic Concept was adopted in 1999, but since then the world has changed dramatically. NATO was at that time a regional alliance that concentrated on the reactive defense of the Treaty Area. Reaction no longer suffices; prevention of crises and armed conflict and war is today’s task.

Moreover, NATO agreed at Prague in 2002 that it will act where necessary and it thus abandoned the restriction of acting in the Treaty Area only. Finally, the lessons learned since 9/11 suggests that none of today’s conflicts can be mastered by military means alone, but NATO disposes of military means only. Therefore, our future strategy must include means other than military ones.

Dieter Farwick: What are the essentials of this coherent Grand Strategy?

Klaus Naumann: Our concept is global in its outlook; it is no longer regional like the current NATO Strategic Concept or the European Strategic Study. It seeks to prevent the concept and is proactive and no longer reactive. It applies escalation and de-escalation in the most flexible way. It avails itself of all instruments of politics and power – soft and hard – and its point of departure is that there will be no conflict that can be solved by military means alone. It is a strategy for alliances that uses a modular approach by integrating the capabilities of different international organizations as well as countries that are not members of any alliance. Furthermore, it requires a sustained commitment until the pre-determined objective is achieved. This concept is generic but could be used best by a truly transformed NATO.

Dieter Farwick: Why does the study stress the significance of an improved cooperation between NATO, the UN and the EU?

Klaus Naumann: As stated in the first question, military means no longer suffice. NATO must therefore find ways to avail itself of the instruments and resources other international organizations have at their disposal. To this end, cooperation between NATO and the EU in particular has to be improved. The UN will continue to play an important role since it is the body that can legalize inventions, be they non-military or military and in all cases that are not self-defense.

Dieter Farwick: How do you want to convince NATO member states’ governments – especially the Europeans - to improve their awareness of the current and future challenges and to improve their political resolve to implement your recommendations?

Klaus Naumann: This is the key issue and we do not have any illusion or high-flying expectations at all. On the other hand, a NATO that enlarges and enlarges without having the capabilities to meet the obligations to defend an enlarged treaty area runs the risk of becoming a hollow alliance. In addition, NATO is facing a real challenge in Afghanistan, where self-imposed restrictions deprive NATO of a possible success.

Moreover, the gap between missions and means is growing as we speak. We do not want to be prescriptive, but we saw it as our duty to speak up and to call for change since we are firmly convinced that there is no better answer to the challenges of our times than a vibrant and strong transatlantic alliance. We sincerely hope that our political leaders will note that there is an urgent need of acting and that they are aware of the first and foremost obligation: To do all they can to protect their nations’ citizens in the best possible way.

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