The Cold War is over. It doesn’t feel like it sometimes, but the likelihood of foreign tanks rolling into North America or Europe has decreased drastically. Instead, NATO must confront challenges ranging from terrorism and nuclear proliferation to piracy and cyberattacks. In this context, should NATO concentrate on traditional defence? Or should the Alliance be more active outside of Member State borders in confronting these threats?

We had a comment from Kroum, pointing out that the Obama administration in the US has placed a greater emphasis on security threats in Asia, primarily in response to what Kroum calls “China’s new assertiveness” on issues such the South China Sea.

The outbreak of war in Asia would have a devastating affect on the global economy. Europe would not be immune. And there certainly seems to be no end of potential conflict flashpoints: from the unpredictable antics of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, to historical grievances between Japan, China, and South Korea, to bitter territorial spats between China, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

In the interests of seeing of potential future threats, should NATO also have a stronger focus on Asia? Or is that completely outside its remit? To get a reaction, we spoke to James Mackey, Head of Euro-Atlantic and Global Partnership at NATO. What would he say?

We had a comment from Rui, who wondered how NATO would choose which regional threats to prioritise if it did focus more on tackling threats outside its borders. He agreed that “the USA and NATO are important key allies to keep the global balance, but the Americas are not Europe”, and they face very different geopolitical realities.

What would James Mackey say to Rui?

Should NATO have a stronger focus on Asia? Should NATO concentrate on traditional defence within its own borders? Or should the Alliance be more active outside of Member State borders in confronting these threats? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – U.S. Pacific Fleet

74 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    Pacific region is not quite near “Fortress Europe”. But what do we know, lately, with all this “globalization”, a sandstorm on Mars might have a devastating impact on stock market, resulting in million of job losses across the continent.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Costi Ciudin
      Well said!

  2. avatar
    Jürgen Küppers

    It is already wrongto believe NATO is a defense treaty. It is expanding in all dircions already in peacetime. And where there is defense they speak about being threatened!

  3. avatar
    Ivan P. Romagnoli

    A REAL EUROPEAN would never accept NATO, because it is an “alliance” just in name but in fact is ruled by USA and they have the last word over any decision, like it was for the USSR in the “alliance” of the Warsaw Pact.
    So only american puppets would defend and support NATO but not a nationalist and even not a federalist who, at least, would suggest the creation of an european army.
    We must shut down NATO and start again the creation of a common defense of European Union, like the EDC (European Defense Community) a treaty signed in 1952 and never went into effect because of Gaullist France.

    • avatar
      Paul X

      The EU as an institution is too inexperienced and immature to be put in charge of an army. ..anyway how would authority be given to deploy such an army, by a unanimous vote?..if so the diverse national interests throughout the EU will ensure it never gets deployed and it will be nothing more than a bunch of parade ground warriors whose only function will be marching past the EU president with the EU flag fluttering

      At least a NATO “ruled” by the US has so far managed to avoid WW3… give the EU control of an army and it would be like a kid with a new toy and set off sabre rattling throughout the world….. god help the planet if it ever happens

    • avatar
      Paul X

      Anyway, why should a “Real European” reject NATO just because it is “ruled” by the USA?
      Is it a qualification for being a “Real European” to ignore how America dug this continent out of real deep sh!t at least twice in recent history?

    • avatar
      Adrian Limbidis

      Until we HAVE such an “army” there can be no dismantling of NATO.
      We are not STUPID to destroy our only shield and HOPE we can replace it in time.

      Almost 90% of NATO countries DO NOT want to spend 2% for keeping their armed forced at NORMAL levels, nevermind more.
      NATO is 80% America and the rest EU.
      And out of that 20% the EASTERN EUROPEANS are the one pushing harder to keep it up.
      The lazy west is sitting comfy …complaining as always.

  4. avatar
    Боян Максимов

    Should USA go to… not NATO, EU.
    I don’t, should that page ask soo stuppid US policy question? Really, we are note soo stuppid, as you think!

  5. avatar
    Emilio Chile Acosta

    no se que decirte, soy Investigador DEPORTIVO INDUSTRIAL y de momento, LOS TERRORISTAS nos dicen que NO DEBEMOS abrir EMPRESAS en EUROPA, a este otro aspecto, NO TENEMOS EN COI Y UNICEF ni la mas MINIMA idea de como orquestan Uds, el ESCENARIO DE PREVENCION para la POBLACION INMERSA en esos POTENCIALES CONFLICTOS, asi que colega, LA PREVENCION hacia NOSOTROS LOS CIVILES que TRABAJAMOS con las VIDAS DE VUESTROS HIJOS es VITAL, ehhh nada de DEAD LINE, cuidado,uff saludos.

  6. avatar
    Alfredo Iannuzzi

    According to the aim of the original Treaty NATO should have nothing to do with far east and Asia. For that area of the world there was a similar organization named SEATO that due to inefficiency and internal disagreements was dissolved in 1977.
    Of course US still have interest to maintain a strong presence in the Pacific Area, especially now with the increasing China’s power and influence, but it’s meaningless for NATO Europe to extend its responsibility to that area which would imply new expenses.

  7. avatar
    Gino Muraca

    La Cina non è la Libia o l’Iraq, e non teme ne’ gli Usa ne’ la Nato!……. Non è un caso che nessuno conosce il suo vero armamento ed ha un alleato leale come la Russia, chi tocca muore!!!

  8. avatar
    catherine benning

    NATO is the US. Do we really want an unstable, agressive bunch who are totally unpredictable deciding on our military defence anywhere in the world? I don’t think so.

    This is their tomorrow.

  9. avatar
    Simeon Milanov

    I believe the best option for Europe’s security is cooperation and defense pact between EU members. Anyway a certain member of NATO is far larger treat to some european countries than China. And in some way there is no point of NATO existing after 1989. After all there is no USSR anymore, modern Russia would certainly not try to invade Europe. So dissolve this pointless organisation, make military alliance between EU states and let the yanks fight their wars if they desire so

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Simeon Milanov
      Ahhh, I see you want WW3.

  10. avatar

    NATO is not about self defence.NATO is a gang of powerful countries that use the strength of their armies against less powerful countries.They will never attack Russia,China or even North Korea. They have no real enemies except non State actors to fear like IS. And almost certainly NATO and its middle east allies are supporting Islamic jihadists against Assad in a un thought out policy of Regime change.NATO should stay the hell out of Asia,Africa,the Caribbean,Central and South America.NATO should stay in Europe and mind its own business and stop meddlig in other Countries business.Europeans need to wake up and understand that America is using Europe as a protective shield in case of nuclear war,a war that is more likely because of US Geopolitical strategies.Europe is would be canon fodder for the US Military Industrial complex.Without Europes strength America would behave much better in this world and things like the Iraq war would not have happened as the US would have been stretched thin and with no real political support.

  11. avatar
    Nguyễn Thức Tuấn

    NATO should play a significant role in preserving the order and peace of the world. Let keep an eye on China’s activities!

    • avatar
      Paul X one?

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Roland Mösl
      What wars?

  12. avatar
    Karina Markosyan

    45.Ігорь Мосійчук.
    46.Гєна Корбан.
    47.Олег Сенцов.
    48.Надія Савченко.Відпустіть Надю з російського поневолення,-нєхір возбуждаться з українок.Купіть краще журнал плейбой,о велікіє озабочєниє рускіє,які всеодно розграбувавши свою Росію,-уєхаєтє в Європу.Краще заберіть вполон Пєтюню Порошенко(походу росіянам подобаються пишнотілі,так і забирайте Пєтюню,-в нього сілітьорів і газів теж багато.І його нікому не жаль),і ніколи його не відпускайте,-у нього і грошей багато можете взяти.
    49.Олександр Кольченко
    Свободу Людям,що зараз політув’язнені!

  13. avatar
    Enric Mestres Girbal

    North Atlantic Treaty Organitzacion….Where is the South China Sea ? Don’t you have a map ? Does Europe have to be all the time an apendix of the american policy?. Europe should befriend Russia and close NATO.

  14. avatar
    Antonios Forlidas

    It΄ς about time that this terrorist organisation that is called NATO, to stop destibilising the world. Itς about time the E.U of Idealsμ Enlightment and Democracy to get rid of the stupid americans who are behind NATO. Ιt΄ς about time to stop bring disaster, misery and death, to destroy countries and civilisations and to create protectorates like Former Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo.

  15. avatar
    Miguel Silva

    Europe independent from Nato yes with a pacifist and non bligerant approach. Nato NO!!

    • avatar
      Adrian Limbidis

      There is no such thing as “independent from NATO” unless we replace NATO with an EU army.
      RUSSIA won’t stay put through words !

  16. avatar
    Adrian Limbidis

    What part of the NORTH ATLANTIC Treaty Organization did we miss?

    Or has the NORTH ATLANTIC changed its name to PACIFIC OCEAN or CHINA SEA?

    • avatar
      Jane Tse

      So, why Europeans have to pay for the toy?

  17. avatar
    John Mitchell

    Not unless they have forgotten geography. NORTH ATLANTIC Treaty Organisation. Try SEATO they should have responsibility!

  18. avatar
    George Yiannitsiotis

    NATO shall include the Russian Federation thus strengthening the bloc and stabilising Europe and the Middle East. There are other coallitions between the Superpower and locals at the Pacific to deal with regional Security threats there.

  19. avatar
    Jane Tse

    NATO should be an organization that safeguarding peace of North Atlantic. If focusing on Asia Pacific serves the American global interest, it is not necessary. While Europe is troubling by its economic recovery from the 2008 Financial Crisis broke out from the American Wall Street, troubling by the refugees problem led by the Obama-led Arab Spring, I do not see why Europe ought to waste its resources to backup American global dominance. It is better for EU to establish its own collective security system serving EU interest. Collective effort driving towards its own destination is the only way Europe can prosper.

  20. avatar
    Jane Tse

    European and American people have very different social, political and economic culture with very long history. I do not see why Europe needs to follow the American-led if it fails to contribute peace and prosperity.

  21. avatar

    The current amendment of PRC Constitution to scrap the leadership term limit is the direct consequence of the US military pressure on China since the Obama administration. With the set up of the THAAD anti-military system, deployment of 60% of the US military force and 2-3 carrier battle groups to East and South China Sea…. All these postures and pressure coming from the US has already forced North Korea to develop its nuclear power and PRC is actively preparing for war. It is stupid to increase further the military pressure in East Asia with NATO. Everyone seems to have forgotten that postwar international organization with the birth of the United Nations is with the aim to eliminate the outbreak of the Third World War. The Third WW is unavoidably a nuclear war, a war of mutual destruction, particularly when the Trump administration has announced to loosen the use of nuclear weapon. when nuclear weapon. Why Japan’s scrap of the Peace Constitution has aroused so much attention and antagonism? It is because the Peace Constitution is the first Constitution with which a country renounced the use of war to solve dispute.

  22. avatar

    NATO is an outdated organization which serves the superpower confrontation. It serves nothing when the Cold War is ended and when EU is on its way to strength the union. EU ought to have a military force independent command and serves only for the collective interest of the EU not that of the US. EU does not appear to have any intention for global military dominance like the US. With limited resources, EU ought to use it more independently and more intelligently.

  23. avatar

    If people have be rational and conversant with the current development of global political economy, they ought to see that the world’s future and potential threat is coming with the increasing unrest of the single military superpower US and its loosening deployment of nuclear weapon and its President Trump’s conflict perspective on everything.

  24. avatar

    NATO has been a collective security measure protecting European member states from Soviet aggression throughout the Cold War. The end of the Cold War marked a uni-polar system with the overwhelming dominance of the US. Yet, this has not made the world more peaceful for the US has been busy in creating a second century of US dominance by waging war everywhere, putting its missiles right at the door of Russia and China. This obliged a stronger coalition between Russia and China. NATO members are being tied to the US chariot of war in direct confrontation with Russia and China. What is the destination of Europe? To fight for American hegemony under the banner of democracy?

  25. avatar

    When ASEAN and China has already signed a Declaration on the Conduct of Parties and subsequently formulated a Code of Conduct in 2017, what can be the role of NATO? Are “self-determination” and “sovereign of state” lip services of Western democracy?

  26. avatar

    The US has already deployed 60% of its military force to East Asia. Are people of NATO member states ready to die for the America to dominate another century? EU should represent its own interest better with the formation of an independent military force. This is the only way, Europe can escape from fighting a third world war for the America.

  27. avatar

    The previous influx of refugees in Europe and the current development in Syria all have clearly shown that Europe has its own security issue need to handle rather than turning to Asia. NATO is only a regional organization. When it is a regional issue of Asia, Asian people ought to have the wisdom to solve.

    • avatar

      Further to the refugee and Middle East conflict, Europe has more pressing question to take care of. Europe is far from being recovered from the 2008 financial crisis broke out from the Wall Street. EU is still trying to save the union from breaking down after BREXIT. It is difficult to imagine why Macron has followed UK and the US to bomb Syria. It is very clear that BREXIT has rendered UK a serious security issue by standing alone in the northern sea. It is only with the disintegration of the EU, UK can maintain its comparative advantages above all other small states of the European continent. In this global era, small state has no bargaining power against nations of enormous size. EU has been created to overcome all difficulties of the global era. At the climax of this transition from the Cold War bi-polar system and before the birth of a new multi-polar system characterized by the development of a global political economy, change, uncertainty and instability are typical characteristics, Europe has to prevent itself from washing way by this powerful turbulent force of this global era, Europe needs to stay together as a stronger union for collective security reason.

  28. avatar

    When EU economies are still struggling to recover from the 2008 financial crises and well beings of EU citizens have not been secured, what is the purpose to thinking of NATO focus on military confrontation between China and the US? Why not putting a stronger focus on working for the peace of of the Middle East. European peace and stability is depending on that of the Middle East. NATO is a regional organization, which ought to take care of the region where it is created for.

  29. avatar

    When Trump is withdrawing the America from all international leadership and responsibilities, why the EU borders to sustain NATO which serves only the US military hegemony? EU political leaders ought to think over carefully what is their priority in this post-Cold War era. When the US is now aggressively to wages hot and war as well as trade war all over the world including its strong and long-term allies, a communist China is trying to diffuse US aggression and being forced to fill the void. The only way EU can prevent itself from declining with the US hegemony, EU ought to support the world system which has been built under the principle of collective security so as to prevent a devastating third world war. Without support of Europe, China would not be able to tame a military hegemon, which owes the nuclear weapon that can destroy the whole world several times, particularly when Trump has announced to release the restriction on the use of nuclear weapon.

  30. avatar

    Why China can rise to the second largest economy after shortly 40 decades but not Europe which has overwhelming support of the US. It is because EU has been following too much the focus of the US.

  31. avatar

    China’s Liberation Army has shown that military force should be saving lives rather than inducing conflict particularly during the outbreak of a pandermic. It is even more dangerous that military drills can spread the Covid-2019 and endanger lives of the soldiers, paralyzing the armed force in case of emergence.

  32. avatar

    Asia is not within the NATO region. If NATO nothing important to do in North Atlantic, it is better to dissolve this brain-dead organization. EU needs to have a stronger focus on its own citizens particularly at the midst of the pandemic. The America can turn a blind eye to the death of over 804000 people and staring at China. Is EU going to follow the US?

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