Symposium INDEX

Japan Peace Conference 2009
International Symposium


Hannelore Tölke

German Peace Council / Bonn City Council Member


NATO – a security risk

In the last 20 years since the end of bipolarities NATO changed it strategies and area of operation. I would like to speak about these changes and I will speak about concepts of security that could guarantee security in the 21st century and which could be an option for Europe.

The NATO summit that took place in April 2009 decided to work on a new strategic concept for a new long-lasting strategy for NATO in the 21st century. The decision about this new strategic concept will be made assembly on the next NATO Summit 2010 in Portugal.

One important point in this concept of the new NATO Strategy is the so called Comprehensive Approach which means an involvement civil actors and international aid organisations in the so called deployment of stabilisation. Military and civil actors will work hand in hand so in this CIMIC (Civil-Military Co-operation) civil actors will become part of the military deployment of NATO.

The Afghanistan strategy is an enlargement of troops in Afghanistan. The aim which was announced this week is to bring 100.000 soldiers to Afghanistan.

Another point of new NATO strategies is the change of he for communication structures and decisions. It proposed to renounce on decision making by consensus, member who will not bee part of NATO-wars will to part in decisions but NATO member have to pay for all deployment coast, not only those who take part in the action. Experts are in the opinion that this will change the proportions of power completely. It will give the adventure to bigger countries and will significant enlarged the ability of warfare for NATO.

Despite NATO declares just the opposite it is in confrontation with Russia. NATO and especially the USA want that Georgia and Ukraine will become NATO members. In future NATO will work closely with Non-NATO-Democracies such like Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea.
This change NATO will be a competitor organization to UNO. The aim is to avoid the Russian and Chinese veto right against military deployment in the UNO. This remoulding of NATO has the aim to be ready for new war around the world.

NATO an organisation for warfare up from the beginning

A retrospection to the past shows, up from the beginning NATO was military alliance not for warfare and not for defence.

Even the foundation of NATO in April 1949 is only understandable in connection with the confrontation of USA and Soviet Union that starts 1945 and expressed the increasing system confrontation between two political systems.

Germany’s accession to NATO was a milestone of warfare. Germany became NATO Member in 1955. For this German Bundeswehr was founded in the west part of Germany. The remilitarisation was accompanied by a bitter struggle in the Western German society and a broad political debate. The question discussed with great passion not only by politicians but also among people in Western Germany was the following: would Germany have the right for a special way of neutrality or would integration in the western systems be the best way?

Stalin tried to prevent the remilitarisation of Western Germany and its integration in the NATO by proposing limited military forces in whole Germany, reunifying Germany, free elections and a neutral Germany. In connection with a non-allied Yugoslavia, a neutral Austria, Sweden and Finland a so-called cordon sanitaire between both blocks in Europe would be possible in this case.

In May 1955 the Allied High Commission, which included USA, Great Britain and France in Western Germany, signed the proclamation for the removal of the Occupation Statute of Germany and the Allied-High- Commission law that forbade an army in Germany was suspended in Western Germany. In June 1955 the German army “Bundeswehr” was founded and Germany became a member of NATO.

After Western Germany became NATO Member the Warsaw Treaty was founded and a further level of system confrontation was reached.

A process of rapprochement started not until 20 year in 1975 with the Conference for Security and Cooperation“.
During the KSCE Summit in Paris from 19th to 21st November 1990 16 NATO States and 6 Warsaw-Treaty states executed a common declaration in which they defined them self not as rivals but as partners.
The Charta of Paris was the last point of this process. The idea of the Paris Charta was to create a regional system of mutual collective security. A mutual and collective security should be guaranteed by OSCE, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Europe was regarded as a geographical Europe form the Atlantic to the Ural in which Russia without any question was a member. The OSCE declared that it want a Europe from which comes peace, which is open for dialogs and cooperation with other countries und ready for sharing experiences and for searching common security. If this principles and aims would be transformed, a change in the history of world could be possible. Europe could be an independent and peace orientated force, in which the former European member states of NATO and Warsaw Treaty would find a place in a common house Europe.
But in the same time the 2 plus 4 agreement destroy the idea for a common house Europe, 2 plus 4 agreement 2 Germany states, and the 4 allies in the word war II USA, Great Britain, France and Russia which is practically the peace treaty. In the 2+4 agreement GDR joints FRG as a part of NATO area, even a few months after the Warsaw Treaty were dissolved. NATO states decided in November 1991 on the NATO Summit in Rome a new strategic concept. They confirmed the NATO politics of determent and the option of the first strike for the use nuclear weapons. To justify to ongoing the existence of NATO the summit detected a number of threats.

  • The instability of Eastern Europe,
  • A possible treat of nuclear weapons in Eastern Europe and
  • A possible treat coming from the Middle East and the Mediterranean Sea

With this scenario Eastern Europe, especially Russia, and the Middle East was identified as a possible treat, the responsibility of NATO was enlarged from the North Atlantic area to Middle East. The Security of this alliance has to be regarded in global framework.

In April 1999 in the Summit in Washington NATO changed it strategies to a worldwide acting military instrument. Just one month after the NATO-war against Yugoslavia started.

Just in the same moment when the NATO treaty was reinterpreted the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe CFE was put on hold. The chance to build a European Security System was given up and Europe subordinate to the hegemony interests of the USA.

Divergences between Europe and USA

But a conflict of interests and divergences were existing and they are existing even now. These divergences are caused by different safety needs.

Since 1990 especially the US are carrying out an enlargement to the east. The accession of Georgia and Ukraine is one important point of divergences. This accession means that not only in Baltic, but also in the south NATO will approach to the Russian frontiers. Nowhere else are nowadays the divergences between US and Western Europe so obvious than in the conflict about Georgia and in the gas clash with Ukraine. It is important the notice, that since 1992 and 2001 the UN Security Council mandated Russia as a stabilisation force in the Caucasus. Russia is regarding this region as its region of interest. Despite the European resistance USA is making pressure and is claiming for a membership of Georgia and Ukraine in NATO.

Another divergence of Interests was visible in the coalition of the willing during the Iraq war in March 2003, when the axes Berlin-Paris refused the fellowship to the US. Also in the relationship to Iran are significant differences of interests and behaviour are visible.

Also a very hot topic of competition is the engagement Africa. An very important in Africa to have resources such like Oil and Gas, Water and mineral resources, under control. The UN mandated EU-Military intervention in Tschad is only one spotlight to this. USA and Europe are also competitors to in Congo and Darfur.

Rivalries do not only exist concerning resources but also because to control pipelines. This is visible in the latest crisis about Georgia. This country The Russian Southstream leads from Baku in Aserbaidshan via Tbilisi in Georgia over Russian territories to the Balkan and from there to the North. The Nacucco leads as well from Baku-Tbilisi to Turkey via Balkan to Vienna and Prague.
The control over the petrol-bottleneck Georgia completes the picture that also in case US tries to control the energy transport to Europe.


Nowadays Europe has two Options.

  • The first is to follow NATO and USA leaded military actions in order to be allowed to take part in decisions. This is what EU states are doing in the Operation Enduring Freedom and Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • The second option could be to create an own cooperation with Russia, just what Europe did in the Ukrainian-Russian gas-clash, Iran and Georgia.


 A clear political line is until now not visible. But a combination of alt strategies and the will for global military interventions will provoke a heavy security problem and will continue the division of Europe.