A battle of minds

Same concept, different angles: video 1

How will the timing of this new Strategic Concept affect the outcome? Will it be able to deal with threats for decades to come? How will it change the way international organizations work together? And what will its changes mean for the men and women in uniform? All of these questions come under scrutiny in this section.

 Subtitles: On / Off

Same concept, different angles

How will the timing of this new Strategic Concept affect the outcome? Will it be able to deal with threats for decades to come? How will it change the way international organizations work together? And what will its changes mean for the men and women in uniform? All of these questions come under scrutiny in this section.

NATO is debating its future direction

or so-called Strategic Concept.

But it's also looking back at

what was written originally in 1949.

If there is anything inevitable

in the future,

it is the will of the people of the world

for freedom and peace.

Discussions turn to the key function:

an attack on one is an attack on all,

or the so-called article 5.

How important will article 5 be in

finalising the new Strategic Concept?

It’s very important to understand

what article 5 says.

We’re not in an exercise of changing

any of the wording of the Treaty.

The Treaty,

all 14 articles, 23 sentences,

is a remarkable document

of remarkable clarity.

The question that we all face is:

What do these words of 60 years ago

mean in the different world of today?

Article 5, with all new threats,

but not forgetting the old ones,

must remain the core objective

of the alliance.

Well, article 5 is

the centrepiece of NATO itself.

Therefore, it’s also the centrepiece

of the new Strategic Concept,

because that’s what NATO’s about...

NATO is a political

military defence alliance

and it’s just necessary to ask:

defence against whom

and defence against what?

There the allies have different views

and that’s why the debate on article 5

is the key of the entire process.

Some suggest that keeping

the Strategic Concept as narrow

and as specific as possible

is the best way forward.

Others suggest

that with so many new threats

and with the changing environment,

it would be best if the Concept was

as broad and as wide as possible.

The consensus is moving towards

keeping article 5 fairly narrow.

At the end of the day,

an armed attack is...

we’ll recognise it when we see it.

For us, to find the right balance

around article 5,

that means article 5-based operations

and out-of-area operations,

are probably the most important

element in the new Concept.

And whilst there will be

lots of talk of future threats,

such as climate change,

many other people remember vividly

what life was like just 20 years ago

in Central and Eastern Europe.

And they wonder:

Have those threats really gone away?

The war in Georgia in 2008 seems

only to have polarised opinions.

In August 2008 with the war

in Georgia, a schism opened in NATO.

But the debate, and that’s clearly

evidenced in the discussions to date,

is whether we should focus

almost exclusively on Afghanistan

and tailor our defence equipment

and budgetary guidance,

our force and command structure,

to fight Afghanistan-style wars

or whether we should continue

preparing for a more conventional

attack on a NATO territory.

The events of August 2008 changed

the security situation in Europe.

Because here we have,

you know, an attack...

the first incident of that type

taking place on Europe’s doorstep

since the collapse of the Soviet Union,

the end of the Cold War.

So, it’s a factor

that needs to be played

into the considerations

of the new Strategic Concept.

Well, clearly our historic experience

and recent events...

...in the Eastern part

of Europe have shown

that conventional threats

are still there.

Their probability is clearly low

but in the case

of conventional threats,

even a low probability event

must be addressed.

The more the allies in Central,

Eastern and Northern Europe,

that are most worried about Russia,

feel they're not getting real support

from NATO on their biggest worry,

Russia,

the more they’ll find it difficult

to justify spending money,

resources and lives on Afghanistan.

Because their public will ask:

Why are we there? And why doesn't

NATO do for us wat we do for others?

And this debate takes place during

the worst financial crisis in decades.

That means that people

have less money to spend,

but also that governments

have much smaller budgets.

Defence budgets are

expected to be hit hard.

So the next Strategic Concept will

have to make decisions on priorities.

The debate always promised

differences of opinion,

that was in part

the point of the exercise,

and they have already

clearly surfaced.

It is probably one of the most

divisive issues right now in NATO,

how Russia is seen,

and Russia is not always helpful

in making an effort

to avoid this impression.

We have NATO allies

who see it as a partner.

We have also allies

who see it as a problem.

Not aggressively, but Russia might

go down the drain economically

or with regard to stability.

Clearly there are differences

in the alliance.

That’s what democracies are about.

We talk about them,

we debate them and

openly we try to arrive in a new way

in which more of us can agree.

That’s what democracy is about.

We can’t hide our differences.

In fact, by exposing them

we may find new ways

in which we can work together

and move forward.

But even with these differences,

there is wide agreement in NATO

that Russia and working with Russia

remains crucial.

I don’t think

that anybody must give up...

...the process of engaging Russia,

trying to do that in a practical way.

And we are able to identify a number

of issues we can work on together.

There are things

where we need Russia

and we'll be able to work with Russia.

Demonization of Russia

or any other country is of no help.

We have of long agreed

that Russia is not a threat.

We signed a 1997 Founding Act

which says that we do not regard

each other as adversaries.

So the Concept is not going to look at

who threatens us

in terms of countries.

What it is going to look at is:

What’s the environment

in which the alliance operates?

What are the challenges

that confront the member states?

And how are they best positioned

to deal with those?

A lot depends on

the actions of Russia as well.

Whether Russia really wants

to be a true partner of NATO.

Latvia would very much support

the fact that it would be

a reliable and predictable partner

of the alliance...

However, when we look at

what’s happening in Russia recently,

then there are some doubts about

the reliability of Russia as a partner.

But it’s important that we should,

that the alliance should engage

Russia wherever possible.

What does Russia think of this?

Igor Yurgens is a Foreign Policy

advisor to president Medvedev.

We are the country on the borders

of which we have three super-giants.

European Union,

United States and China.

So to play in this triangle sometimes,

if somebody’s unfriendly,

gives you better chances then.

If we finally agree

on principles, values and interests,

with the US and Europe,

on a number of issues,

then China,

who will always be a great player,

will be of less importance

in this cooperation,

because we’re not Chinese.

He is confident that Russia’s path

will not conflict with the West’s.

Western Europe,

which is probably 50 years ahead

in terms of civilisation development,

has more developed values.

But basically the value of the family,

don't steal,

love your children, love your country,

all those basic Ten Commandments,

we have the same.

Reflections are different.

So when we place a little bit more

of an emphasis on the interests, okay,

because the values are

a bit more developed and refined

in your part of the world

and less in my part of the world.

But then I think they will converge.

The Concept could

also give greater clarity

on where, when and why

NATO launches its operations.

We must have criteria

and principles for our operations.

I think it would make

our life easier back home

in dealing with our governments

and parliaments,

with our political and social partners,

because each operation has

a severe, important impact at home.

There is a tendency to get involved

in things that are without end.

And... it’s not a wise approach,

even with a UN mandate,

with the broadest possible

international support,

as in the case of Afghanistan.

We see that we are stuck and don’t

always find the support we need,

both within NATO as well as outside.

And support in both resources

and political will is going to be vital

for the next Strategic Concept

to be a success.

In this context I would define

that a strategey is a kind of mind-set

forward for the NATO country,

regarding security aspects.

If you then have words

which either that you cannot execute

or you have not the budgets,

that’s a useless strategy.

We must be realistic

and realistically ambitious.

At the same time,

it’s also about our reliability.

Whenever we accept

a challenge or a commitment

we must be able to deliver.

If you say: We will take care of all

major security situations in the world

and that’s our vocation,

then let’s from the beginning decide

what will be the resource.

You cannot create solidarity

on a piece of paper.

You have to live and execute it.

But it can help a little bit.

NATO is debating its future direction

or so-called Strategic Concept.

But it's also looking back at

what was written originally in 1949.

If there is anything inevitable

in the future,

it is the will of the people of the world

for freedom and peace.

Discussions turn to the key function:

an attack on one is an attack on all,

or the so-called article 5.

How important will article 5 be in

finalising the new Strategic Concept?

It’s very important to understand

what article 5 says.

We’re not in an exercise of changing

any of the wording of the Treaty.

The Treaty,

all 14 articles, 23 sentences,

is a remarkable document

of remarkable clarity.

The question that we all face is:

What do these words of 60 years ago

mean in the different world of today?

Article 5, with all new threats,

but not forgetting the old ones,

must remain the core objective

of the alliance.

Well, article 5 is

the centrepiece of NATO itself.

Therefore, it’s also the centrepiece

of the new Strategic Concept,

because that’s what NATO’s about...

NATO is a political

military defence alliance

and it’s just necessary to ask:

defence against whom

and defence against what?

There the allies have different views

and that’s why the debate on article 5

is the key of the entire process.

Some suggest that keeping

the Strategic Concept as narrow

and as specific as possible

is the best way forward.

Others suggest

that with so many new threats

and with the changing environment,

it would be best if the Concept was

as broad and as wide as possible.

The consensus is moving towards

keeping article 5 fairly narrow.

At the end of the day,

an armed attack is...

we’ll recognise it when we see it.

For us, to find the right balance

around article 5,

that means article 5-based operations

and out-of-area operations,

are probably the most important

element in the new Concept.

And whilst there will be

lots of talk of future threats,

such as climate change,

many other people remember vividly

what life was like just 20 years ago

in Central and Eastern Europe.

And they wonder:

Have those threats really gone away?

The war in Georgia in 2008 seems

only to have polarised opinions.

In August 2008 with the war

in Georgia, a schism opened in NATO.

But the debate, and that’s clearly

evidenced in the discussions to date,

is whether we should focus

almost exclusively on Afghanistan

and tailor our defence equipment

and budgetary guidance,

our force and command structure,

to fight Afghanistan-style wars

or whether we should continue

preparing for a more conventional

attack on a NATO territory.

The events of August 2008 changed

the security situation in Europe.

Because here we have,

you know, an attack...

the first incident of that type

taking place on Europe’s doorstep

since the collapse of the Soviet Union,

the end of the Cold War.

So, it’s a factor

that needs to be played

into the considerations

of the new Strategic Concept.

Well, clearly our historic experience

and recent events...

...in the Eastern part

of Europe have shown

that conventional threats

are still there.

Their probability is clearly low

but in the case

of conventional threats,

even a low probability event

must be addressed.

The more the allies in Central,

Eastern and Northern Europe,

that are most worried about Russia,

feel they're not getting real support

from NATO on their biggest worry,

Russia,

the more they’ll find it difficult

to justify spending money,

resources and lives on Afghanistan.

Because their public will ask:

Why are we there? And why doesn't

NATO do for us wat we do for others?

And this debate takes place during

the worst financial crisis in decades.

That means that people

have less money to spend,

but also that governments

have much smaller budgets.

Defence budgets are

expected to be hit hard.

So the next Strategic Concept will

have to make decisions on priorities.

The debate always promised

differences of opinion,

that was in part

the point of the exercise,

and they have already

clearly surfaced.

It is probably one of the most

divisive issues right now in NATO,

how Russia is seen,

and Russia is not always helpful

in making an effort

to avoid this impression.

We have NATO allies

who see it as a partner.

We have also allies

who see it as a problem.

Not aggressively, but Russia might

go down the drain economically

or with regard to stability.

Clearly there are differences

in the alliance.

That’s what democracies are about.

We talk about them,

we debate them and

openly we try to arrive in a new way

in which more of us can agree.

That’s what democracy is about.

We can’t hide our differences.

In fact, by exposing them

we may find new ways

in which we can work together

and move forward.

But even with these differences,

there is wide agreement in NATO

that Russia and working with Russia

remains crucial.

I don’t think

that anybody must give up...

...the process of engaging Russia,

trying to do that in a practical way.

And we are able to identify a number

of issues we can work on together.

There are things

where we need Russia

and we'll be able to work with Russia.

Demonization of Russia

or any other country is of no help.

We have of long agreed

that Russia is not a threat.

We signed a 1997 Founding Act

which says that we do not regard

each other as adversaries.

So the Concept is not going to look at

who threatens us

in terms of countries.

What it is going to look at is:

What’s the environment

in which the alliance operates?

What are the challenges

that confront the member states?

And how are they best positioned

to deal with those?

A lot depends on

the actions of Russia as well.

Whether Russia really wants

to be a true partner of NATO.

Latvia would very much support

the fact that it would be

a reliable and predictable partner

of the alliance...

However, when we look at

what’s happening in Russia recently,

then there are some doubts about

the reliability of Russia as a partner.

But it’s important that we should,

that the alliance should engage

Russia wherever possible.

What does Russia think of this?

Igor Yurgens is a Foreign Policy

advisor to president Medvedev.

We are the country on the borders

of which we have three super-giants.

European Union,

United States and China.

So to play in this triangle sometimes,

if somebody’s unfriendly,

gives you better chances then.

If we finally agree

on principles, values and interests,

with the US and Europe,

on a number of issues,

then China,

who will always be a great player,

will be of less importance

in this cooperation,

because we’re not Chinese.

He is confident that Russia’s path

will not conflict with the West’s.

Western Europe,

which is probably 50 years ahead

in terms of civilisation development,

has more developed values.

But basically the value of the family,

don't steal,

love your children, love your country,

all those basic Ten Commandments,

we have the same.

Reflections are different.

So when we place a little bit more

of an emphasis on the interests, okay,

because the values are

a bit more developed and refined

in your part of the world

and less in my part of the world.

But then I think they will converge.

The Concept could

also give greater clarity

on where, when and why

NATO launches its operations.

We must have criteria

and principles for our operations.

I think it would make

our life easier back home

in dealing with our governments

and parliaments,

with our political and social partners,

because each operation has

a severe, important impact at home.

There is a tendency to get involved

in things that are without end.

And... it’s not a wise approach,

even with a UN mandate,

with the broadest possible

international support,

as in the case of Afghanistan.

We see that we are stuck and don’t

always find the support we need,

both within NATO as well as outside.

And support in both resources

and political will is going to be vital

for the next Strategic Concept

to be a success.

In this context I would define

that a strategey is a kind of mind-set

forward for the NATO country,

regarding security aspects.

If you then have words

which either that you cannot execute

or you have not the budgets,

that’s a useless strategy.

We must be realistic

and realistically ambitious.

At the same time,

it’s also about our reliability.

Whenever we accept

a challenge or a commitment

we must be able to deliver.

If you say: We will take care of all

major security situations in the world

and that’s our vocation,

then let’s from the beginning decide

what will be the resource.

You cannot create solidarity

on a piece of paper.

You have to live and execute it.

But it can help a little bit.

Videos in Same concept, different angles:

1. A battle of minds

2. Timing is Everything?

3. New age, new threats, new responses

4. What does it mean for the military?

Share this    DiggIt   MySpace   Facebook   Delicious   Permalink