Change and continuity
Lord Robertson

NATO's founding charter, the Washington Treaty, was drafted so that it could be understood by a milkman from Omaha. If around today, that milkman would probably be surprised to find the Alliance was still in business. The challenges have changed. So has NATO. And the milkman would understand and approve. The impulse to transform the Alliance came from 9/11, but the process rapidly became deeper and wider. The Prague Summit encompassed transformation across the whole spectrum of Alliance business from new members and new partnerships, through new capabilities and new missions to the restructuring of NATO's internal processes. NATO emerged from a crisis over differing attitudes among Allies towards the Iraq campaign to take over the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and then to provide support to Poland in setting up a multinational stabilisation division in Iraq. The challenges are enormous, but I am optimistic for the future because of NATO's track record and, in particular, the Alliance's performance in the Balkans. As Secretary General, I have seen a transformed Alliance doing what it has done best since 1949: delivering safety and security where and when it matters. This is a simple message that everyone should understand.

Reviving European defence cooperation
Charles Grant

France, Germany and the United Kingdom appear to have put disagreement over Iraq behind them and prepared the groundwork for more effective EU defence cooperation. The new defence deal between Bonn, London and Paris that was agreed at the end of November involves three elements. Firstly, the European Union is to establish a small cell of operational planners at SHAPE, NATO's planning headquarters near Mons. Secondly, the European Union's inter-governmental conference should amend articles of the draft European constitution on "structured cooperation" to make the rationale of any defence avant-garde group the enhancement of military capabilities. And thirdly, articles on mutual military assistance have been deleted or amended to ensure that the European Union is not seeking to become a collective-defence organisation to rival NATO. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has played a crucial role in breathing new life into European defence cooperation and will now have to reassure other interested parties and especially the United States that the new agreement is not harmful to their interests. But the best way for EU countries to convince Washington of this is to deliver new military capabilities.

NATO's Balkan Odyssey
Robert Serry

Less than half a decade ago NATO waged an air campaign against Yugoslavia for the best part of three months. Today, Serbia and Montenegro, the successor state to Yugoslavia, aspires to join the Alliance's Partnership for Peace programme and has even volunteered soldiers to serve alongside their NATO peers in Afghanistan. The turnaround in relations between NATO and Serbia and Montenegro is probably the most spectacular security-related development to have taken place in the former Yugoslavia since the 1999 Kosovo campaign. But progress has been encouraging almost everywhere in the intervening period. Today, Bosnia and Herzegovina is also a candidate for the Partnership for Peace; Albania, Croatia, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* aspire to Alliance membership and are already contributing personnel to NATO operations beyond the Euro-Atlantic area; and it will probably be possible to reduce the number of troops in the NATO-led operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo to around 25,000 next year. To be sure, the challenges that remain should not be under-estimated. But as the Alliance takes on new missions beyond the Euro-Atlantic area, it should take heart from its achievements in the Balkans.

Debating security strategies
David S. Yost

Disagreement among NATO members over the Iraq campaign suggests that there is a need for a wide-ranging transatlantic debate on strategy. The thinking advanced in the United States since September 2001 in various documents — above all, the Quadrennial Defense Review, the Nuclear Posture Review and the National Security Strategy — and in particular three concepts — dissuasion, deterrence by denial and pre-emption — deserves critical analysis and could serve as a point of departure. The EU security strategy drawn up by EU High Representative Javier Solana is another useful document in this context. But while it is constructive to debate the issues in general terms, concepts will only carry us so far. In the end, decisions will have to be made about specific cases that do not fit into tidy conceptual categories. Accordingly, the Allies should initiate a determined effort to develop a common assessment of the most dangerous threats to Alliance security and possible responses, on the occasion of NATO's Istanbul Summit.

Aspiring to NATO membership
Zvonimir Mahecic

Croatia has come a long way since elections in January 2000 brought to power democrats aspiring to deeper and closer relations with the European Union and NATO. In the intervening period, many security-related constitutional and legal reforms have been passed, including the Defence Act and the Military Service Act, both of which helped establish appropriate civilian control of the armed forces and security agencies. Resources devoted to the military have declined every year for the past six years. However, as the economy improves, it might be possible to increase military spending without changing the proportion of national wealth allocated. The mid-term projection for the military budget is 2.2 per cent of GDP. Since joining the Partnership for Peace in May 2000, Croatia has intensified its dialogue with NATO and made the most of Alliance expertise, structures and programmes to assist and guide the military reform process. Croatia remains focused on the Membership Action Plan and intends to maintain the pace of military reform in the coming years in the expectation that NATO's door will remain open and one day soon the country will be invited to join the Alliance.

* Turkey recognises the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.