VP and Brent Scowcroft Center Director Barry Pavel and Brent Scowcroft Center Deputy Director Magnus Nordenman write for the German Marshall Fund on why NATO needs to develop a renewed deterrence strategy as a result of Russia’s aggressive policies:
Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has focused primarily on its crisis management and cooperative security tasks, with operations and efforts in places such as the Balkans, Afghanistan, Libya, off the Horn of Africa,and in the Mediterranean. This expeditionary era for NATO was enabled by a relatively permissive security environment, with an absence of great power competition not only in the Euroatlantic arena, but across the world. Furthermore, the United States was viewed as virtually unassailable,and NATO could operate essentially unimpeded at long distances on the back of its superpower member.Today, however, global competition between great powers is back, not only in the transatlantic region due to a newly assertive Russia, but also globally with a more extensive Chinese presence in the South China Sea, as well as across the Pacific, the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Gulf, and even the Mediterranean. At the same time, new arenas of competition are opening up, including the Arctic and the African continent. NATO is not a global alliance, but it is a powerful regional alliance that finds itself in, and must relate to, a very dynamic global context. And in a world of great power competition, with Russian aggression in Europe’s neighborhood, once again NATO must bring collective defense in general, and deterrence in particular, to the top of the Alliance agenda. Much suggests that this will, once again, become NATO’s raison d’etre over the next decade or more.