NATO to stay a regional alliance, but could increasingly look towards Indo-Pacific

A photo of an US Navy's McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 'Hornet' jet being prepared for a catapult launch from the flight deck aboard the 'USS Ronald Reagan' aircraft carrier at an unspecified position at sea off the coast of Hawaii, USA, on 21 July 2014. [EPA/BRUCE OMORI]

EURACTIV – By Alexandra Brzozowski | –  11 juin 2021

The West’s recent pivot towards Asia has heightened tensions in the Indo-Pacific. As NATO leaders are looking to update the alliance’s official master strategy document, its “Strategic Concept”, a more global role for the alliance seems to be emerging.

When launching the NATO 2030 reflection process about the alliances future, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg specified that “NATO should be stronger politically” and have a “more global approach”.

Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken encouraged NATO to “deepen” cooperation with its allies in the Indo-Pacific, including South Korea, as it seeks to confront “systematic challenges” from Russia and China.

“In a world of sophisticated hybrid threats, cyberattacks, economic coercion and strategic corruption, NATO can no longer be confined by geography,” former NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen told EURACTIV.

According to him, NATO’a “traditional” roles, such as protecting allies from Russian aggression, would be still relevant.

“However, the Alliance will need to look at far more political questions in the future, such as how we unite democracies around the world to counter autocracies; how we keep the Indo-Pacific an area of freedom and rules; and reducing our strategic and economic dependencies on autocratic states who abuse those dependencies to divide the free world and coerce democracies,” he explained, and added:

“NATO’s new Strategic Concept will need to respond to a rapidly changing world, but adaptation is part of NATO’s DNA and its historical success“.

As a possible indication of the shift, on China, a top political priority for US President Joe Biden, NATO’s roughly 40-page-long summit communiqué due next week, seen by EURACTIV, will have much stronger language than it ever had before.



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