From Peni Hanggarini, the Jakarta Post:  Over the past 62 years, a military alliance of democratic states called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has demonstrated institutional change by expanding into 28 member states since its establishment in Washington DC on April 4, 1949.

NATO has transformed from a collective defense organization into a collective security organization. The transformation indicates a big leap from just defending member states from external threats to handling various types of domestic and non-military security threats. …

The relationship between the North American and European member states of NATO can be seen as a “marriage,” thus there should be a balance of burden and benefit while obtaining relative gains from the alliance. …

What is significant about this “powerful marriage” under the name of NATO to Southeast Asia? Will this alliance complicate or contribute to Southeast Asia’s security?

The most evident lesson drawn from the evolution of the alliance is that NATO’s development would somewhat contribute to the security of the region.

However, such an evolution has no direct implications. Southeast Asia has its own dependent security cooperation, but this is not also to suggest that any security cooperation in the region could perform as the best security guarantor.

One of the aims of the alliance’s establishment as Brzezinski (2009), a former US national security adviser, suggests is that NATO can be “the hub of a globe-spanning web of various regional cooperative-security undertakings.”

Therefore, ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) may be one of the actors that can link to this hub.

However, with bureaucratic institutional problems developing as the group gets larger, it appears that Brzezinski expectation is too good to be true — at least for now, unless regional and international security organizations and NATO are more willing to cooperate.

They took the first step when a NATO official met for talks with senior political and military leaders from Asia-Pacific which gathered in Jakarta for Jakarta International Defense Dialogue on March 23-25.

Since we do not intend to build military alliances in the region, it is still important to observe this evolution of NATO, if not call it a development of a collective defense organization.

The writer is a lecturer at School of International Relations, Paramadina University, Jakarta. She is also a Fulbright-DIKTI doctoral degree student at the School of Political Science, Northern Illinois University.  (photo: PTNI.TV)