Version 4.0 Debate in NATO: Pact or Partnership?

Version 4.0 Debate in NATO: Pact or Partnership? 18 March, 2018

Preparing for its 70th anniversary in 2019, NATO undoubtedly differs from its original form in 1949, as it harbours other defence and security concerns today. With the end of the Cold War in early 1990s, NATO gradually moved beyond its usual military tasks to embrace political objectives, thus drifting away from its founding rationale. At present, NATO faces the trials and tribulations triggered by this inclination. Even its most ardent advocates are now entertaining the idea of internal revision. Anyway; is NATO a reliable pact undersigned by 29 member states or a debatable and flexible partnership, whose members can circumvent it through bilateral or multilateral relations? This is the most begging question. 

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the then NATO General Secretary back in 2010, was the person who launched the most important initiative on this issue and gave hints as regards NATO’s future vision. In his historical speech at the German Marshall Fund Transatlantic Centre, Rasmussen maintained that during the time of NATO Version 1.0, the organisation stood for a Cold War alliance composed of large, static armies, promoting defence against a single and apparent “enemy.” In his opinion, Version 2.0 signified the post-Cold War period, from the fall of the Berlin Wall up until 2010. Throughout this time, NATO helped peace and democracy to take root and flourish in Europe, managed the crises in Afghanistan and the Balkans and focused on new partners under a common goal. As for NATO Version 3.0, it was a novel “thing.” However, some “oldies”, would remain the same. This new version was named as the Strategic Concept to build the foundation of new NATO. There, the “collective defence”, which symbolises the starting point of the alliance and constitutes the basis of the widely-known Article 5, retained its place as an indispensable element. NATO’s military power also did not change. Another element defined as political consultancy would also continue. Indeed, the North America and Europe have produced together more than half of the total Gross National Product in the world and this trend must be sustained. Then, what was this new approach in NATO all about? 

Issue 86