News / USA

NATO Redefines Role, Relationships in 2010

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks at the NATO summit in Lisbon (file photo – 20 Nov 2010)
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks at the NATO summit in Lisbon (file photo – 20 Nov 2010)

Multimedia

Jennifer Glasse

NATO is remaking itself to meet the needs of the future. Yet for 2011, that means continuing the war in Afghanistan. Here's a look at the past year and what lies ahead for the world's oldest military alliance.

Strategy

NATO unveiled its new strategic concept in 2010, outlining the need to adapt to new challenges such as cyber-security and missile defense.

Perhaps NATO's biggest achievement of the year was resetting its relationship with Russia. At the NATO summit in Lisbon in November, Secretary-General Anders Foch Rasmussen outlined how NATO and Russia will work together in Afghanistan.


"Russia will allow more NATO supplies through Russian territory to support our mission in Afghanistan and now we will be able to bring equipment out as well," Rasmussen said. "We will enhance our training of counter-narcotics personnel, from Afghanistan and from the region."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen sign a declaration between NATO and the Afghan government on enduring partnership, as UN General Secretary Ban ki-Moon, centre, looks on at the NATO summit in Lisbon (file phot
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen sign a declaration between NATO and the Afghan government on enduring partnership, as UN General Secretary Ban ki-Moon, centre, looks on at the NATO summit in Lisbon (file phot

Afghanistan remains a pressing priority for NATO. The alliance has thousands of troops there and has invested years in trying to save the country. Michael Clarke is the director of the Royal United Services Institute, a London security research organization.

"From now until 2014-2015, it is still the main game, and NATO somehow has got to be seen to have been effective in helping to implement Western policy so that whatever happens in Afghanistan is judged a basic success," Clarke said.

Expansion

Differences over NATO expansion and missile defense had hampered NATO's relationship with Russia. Expansion is on hold for now, and in Lisbon, NATO invited Russia to join in building a missile defense shield. Rasmussen was optimistic.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, left, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev are seen prior to participating in a NATO Russia Council meeting at a NATO summit in Lisbon (file photo)
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, left, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev are seen prior to participating in a NATO Russia Council meeting at a NATO summit in Lisbon (file photo)

"For the first time in history, NATO nations and Russia will be cooperating to defend themselves, Russia will know without a doubt that the system cannot be directed against her," Rasmussen added. "Our citizens in Europe will share enhanced security that is unprecedented."

But in his annual address to his nation in December, Russian President Medvedev warned there could be a new arms race if Russia did not feel it is an equal partner with Europe and the United States in missile defense.

Security

NATO's traditional military role is only part of its focus. Cyber-security is another concern. Again Michael Clarke of the Royal United Services Institute.

"The things that NATO has to cope with even in its own neighborhood are more variable than they ever were in the past, and so NATO has got to be much more agile, and frankly it's got to better at deciding where to put the weight of its forces and effort," Clarke added.

In December, NATO's biggest member, the United States, took stock in Afghanistan.

"In many places the gains we have made are still fragile and reversible, but there is no question we are clearing more areas from Taliban control and more Afghans are reclaiming their communities," Mr. Obama.

As the year draws to a close, the fragility of those gains is evident in Afghanistan, where forces continue to battle militants. Training Afghan forces to take care of their own country is at the heart of NATO's strategy to leave Afghanistan.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More