Papiers d'actualité/ Current Affairs in Perspective
Fondation Pierre du Bois
November 2010, No 8/ 2010
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NATO summits are rarely exciting events. Yet, past weekend’s meeting in
The changing nature of security was indeed reflected in the
But the real meat of the summit focused on two items: NATO’s future role in
The significance of the agreement goes beyond reassuring Hamid Karzai’s troubled government in
What then of
In fact, the warming of Russia-NATO relationship has been in the making for quite some time. Most significantly, American-Russian relations have improved significantly since Barack Obama’s inauguration in January 2009. The clearest sign of the rapprochement came in April of this year, when Presidents Obama and Medvedev signed a new START agreement, pledging to cut down their respective nuclear arsenals by a third. Throughout 2010 the Russian president had similarly sunny meetings with key European leaders, including
But while a reset of NATO-Russia relations was evident for all to see, none of the agreements reached at Lisbon should be interpreted as a prelude to full and unfettered co-operation. Before anyone starts expecting
Most importantly, one should not forget that Russia-NATO relations remain, to a large extent, subservient to Russian-American relations. And in that realm things remain potentially volatile.
On Missile Defense, the current NATO version is acceptable to
In addition, Medvedev made it clear that his country expects full exchange of information if it is to co-operate with NATO. This, clearly, left the door open for a later return to a more antagonistic Russian attitude. ‘Full exchange’ is, after all, a relative concept.
Ultimately, the factors that are most likely to limit the extent of the sudden love affair between NATO and
NATO is, after all, the alliance that kicked
Today, though, NATO faces a more self-confident
Yet, despite all the hyperbolic rhetoric, the summit did not change the world. National ambitions and concerns – be they Russian, American or European – still overshadow NATO’s everyday activities and future direction. What
* This article appeared in Le Temps in French on 23 November 2010.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Foundation.
Last Updated on Friday, 01 April 2011 16:00