From Sarwar Kashmeri, the Hill: So what can be done to modernize the transatlantic security equation? The starting point is for the United States to step back from the leadership of NATO, transfer the responsibility for the defense of Europe and its periphery to the European Union, and take the initiative to set up a high level transatlantic task-force to redesign the “O” in NATO, including steps such as:
· Europeans to replace Americans in all key NATO positions.
· NATO’s board of directors, the North Atlantic Council (NAC) is comprised of Ambassadors and their staffs from 26 European countries, the United States, and Canada. It is an antiquated and expensive bureaucracy that takes no account of Europe’s integration. The NAC’s membership should be changed to one representative each from the United States, the EU, Canada, and NATO states that are not EU members, such as Norway and Turkey. The NAC’s future mission would be to serve as the transatlantic security bridge for an event that requires a combined European-North American response.
· NATO’s planning and operating division (Allied Command Operations) should be merged into CSDP and serve as the EU’s planning, command, and control staff.
· NATO’s third entity, Allied Command Transformation, largely duplicates the functions of the European Defense Agency and should be merged with it.
The task force should be directed to finish its work in a reasonably short amount of time: 3-5 years. Once America makes the decision to leave the defense of Europe to the European Union I have no doubt the EU will streamline its defense capabilities using the billions the EU states already spend on their militaries.
The North Atlantic Treaty is an important link in a transatlantic relationship that is a vital American national interest. But it is time for NATO 2.0 with an “O” redesigned for the economic and geopolitical realities of the 21st century.
Sarwar Kashmeri is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center for International Security, and author of "NATO 2.0, Reboot or Delete?" (photo: NATO)