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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs