NATO and global partnerships – to be global or to act globally?

Author (Person) ,
Series Title
Series Details No.7, March 2008
Publication Date 27/03/2008
ISBN 978-87-7605-258-4
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The report investigates NATO's relationship with non-NATO countries and NATO's journey from being an alliance firmly located within a Euro-Atlantic geographical set-ting to an alliance that actively contemplates its global role.

The report distinguishes between two very different interpretations of 'global' – NATO being global or NATO acting globally – and links these two interpretations of 'global' to NATO's integrationalist and interventionist roles. Integration is seen as a strategy pursued actively by NATO especially since the end of the Cold War in its relations with non-NATO countries (partner, contact, dialogue and initiative countries).

However, although the integrationalist strategy so far is judged to have been highly successful, the report nevertheless cautions against taking the strategy onto a global level. Doing so is likely to open up difficult issues of hierarchy and legitimacy, which will have an adverse effect on NATO. On the other hand the report argues in favour of a development of NATO as an alliance that is able to act globally.

This, it is argued, implies further development of NATO’s interventionist strategy and further considerations about the legality of interventions and the obligation to intervene to protect. Neither option therefore offer any easy solution and clear cut answers to NATO’s role in a global security environment, although it does seem clear that going only – or too far – down the road towards a Global NATO consisting solely of democracies is likely to be self-defeating and to have an adverse effect on NATO’s legitimacy.

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