NATO foreign ministers are marking the 70th anniversary of the transatlantic military alliance in Washington.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used the occasion to point out the alliance must work together to confront other emerging threats. It’s no longer just the spectre of Chinese and Russian military advancements and cyber warfare that make the list.
‘Today, across the world, new challenges are confronting us,’ Pompeo said in his opening address, ‘Russian aggression, mass migration, vulnerabilities inherent in new technologies, along with older, persistent ones.’
It’s official then…migration is now a threat to the ‘business of achieving a fuller and happier life’ which NATO works for.
Why? Because ‘they’ve created a geopolitical environment that is increasingly unstable and even more competitive,’ says Pompeo.
So how can NATO fix this?
Up defence spending (to get more wall funds)
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg says all allies must commit to increased defence spending, to avoid uneven burden-sharing within the NATO.
‘The ultimate expression of burden sharing is that we stand together,’ Stoltenberg said, in his address to the NATO meeting.
‘We will face new threats,’ he added, harking back to Pompeo’s opening words, ‘We need a strategy to deal with [them]’.
As such, Trump has called to up the NATO defence spending guidelines to at least 4%, noting the US currently pays 4.3% of its GDP to NATO.
In regards, to the president’s pledge, Stoltenberg said, ‘We didn’t make this pledge to please the United States. We made it because we live in a more unpredictable and uncertain world.’
Though considering Trump did move funds from military spending to put towards his border project, upping the price on defence may give him even more wiggle room in the piggy bank.
Russia and China at heart of new defence strategy
As for Russia and China, their threats to NATO were heavily discussed.
Stoltenberg described Russia’s breaching of the Nuclear Forces Treaty, as a ‘pattern of destabilising behaviour’.
As a result, the US said they will withdraw from the treaty soon unless Moscow ends its violations of the pact, which rid Europe of land-based nuclear missiles.
‘We will not mirror what Russia is doing,’ said Stoltenberg.
‘We will be measured and co-ordinated, and we have no intention of deploying ground-launched nuclear missiles in Europe.’
China’s threat is more grounded in the World Wide Web.
With regards to cyber warfare, Washington refuses to partner with any companies who adopt China’s Huawei Technologies systems.
Huawei has been flagged by Western intelligence agencies for potential ties to China’s government, meaning its equipment could be used for espionage.
The European Union, however, has disregarded the US’ pledge to ban the company across the bloc. This isn’t ideal, considering most of NATO is comprised of EU members.
And when the NATO rely on their unity for their strength, any differing of opinion would be weakness.
But at least the EU will understand a thing or two about hard borders…
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