During last year’s Munich Security Conference, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke about facing an increasingly more uncertain and unpredictable security environment. Speaking from the perspective of NATO, he argued that although allies disagree on certain issues, such as climate change, it is crucial to stand together. Regardless of whether Stoltenberg considers climate change to be part of this changing environment or not, NATO is paying the issue increasing attention. To coincide with this year’s Munich Security Conference, this blog explores NATO’s current position in the growing debate on climate change and related risks.
Rickard Söder is a Research Assistant with the SIPRI Climate Change and Risk Programm
Recently, I participated in a conference on NATO’s approach to communications. Apart from NATO officials, the meeting involved academics, think tankers, representatives from PR and social media companies as well as members from the various Atlantic Associations that promote the Alliance in their home countries. It goes without saying that the event took place against the backdrop of mounting tensions within the organisation, caused by serious doubts about American leadership and Turkey’s independent behaviour, to name but two of the most pressing issues.
The stepping up of NATO’s military presence in the Black Sea region has been observed since at least 2014. It has been implemented as part of a broader agenda related to the aggravation of relations between Russia and the West, and the deterrence policy adopted by the Alliance. Activity affecting the Black Sea region has historically been somewhat overshadowed by the standoff in the Baltic region. In particular, in the south, there is no direct land border between Russia and any of the NATO member states. Nevertheless, Romania is in the Black Sea region, which is one of the main lobbyists of the deterrence policy against Russia. It is no coincidence that when NATO Secretary General met with the leader of this country, ritual words were said about the strategic importance of the Black Sea region.
We have just had a good and important discussion with the Leaders of the NATO Allied countries. We have marked the anniversary of our Alliance. Which has guaranteed peace and security for all Allies for seventy years. And we have looked to the future. Our meeting has once again demonstrated that NATO remains the only place where Europe and North America discuss, decide and act every day together. On strategic issues that concern our shared security.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of NATO, which its 29 members will commemorate on 3 and 4 December in London. To be clear: this will not be a regular NATO ‘Summit’. The gathering has a less formal status and will not be concluded with a common statement on how to move forward. Rumour has it that changing the name to a NATO’s ‘Leaders Meeting’ was inspired by President Trump’s capricious behaviour during past summits. This development is indicative of a larger problem: disunity within the Alliance. NATO is the most important security organisation of our time, but is it aware of its most pressing threat?
Panelists discuss Turkey’s domestic politics, its recent actions in northern Syria, and the shifting nature of U.S.-Turkish relations in the three years since the attempted July 2016 coup.
Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle East Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Bernard L. and Bertha F. Cohen Chair in International Relations, Lehigh University; @hbarkey
Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH); Director, NATO Observer Group, U.S. Senate
Founding Director, Turkey Program, Middle East Institute
Director, International Security Program, George Mason University