Alliance Asymmetries

From  The secretary’s critique of Europe was aimed at what he sees as a potential hollowing out of the alliance if it does not have the capabilities and the structures to carry out missions such as the one in Afghanistan. And if one assumes that the future threats to NATO members are not going to be found so much in Europe but in other areas of the world such as Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, then the mission of the alliance needs to be correspondingly clarified.

Yet even if that is accomplished, there will still be questions about an issue which has been part of NATO since its inception: the asymmetry of burden sharing within the alliance…

If NATO’s future relevance is being measured by the success or failure of its engagement in Afghanistan, then it should also be measured by how the member nations view it as relevant to their own security. When it was founded, NATO was based on a commitment to collective defense. Today, the questions are: defense against what threats and with which tools? Once these tough issues are solved, we then need to decide how to share and sustain the burdens. That is not a new challenge, but it is getting more and more difficult to meet.  (photo: NATO)

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