Global Dynamics

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  1. Introduction, Research Question, and Hypothesis:

The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union were held up as watershed events within the discipline of international relations. This means that the ending of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union had an enormous impact on international relations and International Organizations (IOs) that assist in the functioning of international diplomacy. During the period of the Cold War the power of the United States was balanced by the power of the Soviet Union. Now that the Soviet Union is no longer, at this point in history there is no nation that has the ability to balance the power of the U.S. meaning that the U.S. has an ever increasing level of influence on the state of international affairs. The United States has become so dominant on the international stage there is some suggestion that both the United Nations and NATO have become a puppet the desires of the United States. This research report will indicate that while NATO is now involved with the United States GWOT, NATO is also in independent organization that has re-tasked it’s original mission to remain relevant in an ever chaning world.

While NATO was not needed to maintain safety and security in Europe and was therefore able to assist in anti-terrorism operations, it would appear that the time has come for NATO to step back into their original security role in Eurpope. This is due to the fact that the violence occurring in the Ukraine is escalating and has the potential to destabilize Europe, “For three months, anti-government protesters were involved in a stand-off with the authorities that oscillated between calm and violence. On 18 February, the violence escalated dramatically, with policemen being shot, and riot police moving in to clear the peaceful protest camp on Independence Square.” (Why is Ukraine in turmoil?) The population of the Ukraine has sought a closer relationship with the European Union (EU) while the government of the Ukraine seeks closer relationships with Russia. Recently the Russian military has begun an invasion of the Ukraine “Ukraine accused Russia of preparing for a “full-scale invasion” on Wednesday, as the G7 nations warned Moscow that the “annexation of Crimea” would break international agreements. “In addition to its impact on the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea could have grave implications for the legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all states,” a statement from the G7 countries says. “Should the Russian Federation take such a step, we will take further action, individually and collectively.” (Associated Press and Canadian Press)

These events seem to indicate that Russia is once again attempting to annex nations that surround Russia and will have a broader impact on Europe, the EU, and the United States. In addition, “The U.S. Navy detected and tracked a Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine less than 300 miles from the southern U.S. East Coast last month, according to U.S. defense officials. While the submarine did not enter U.S. territorial waters or follow any U.S. Navy ships, its arrival came while a Navy carrier strike group was training off Florida, according to defense officials who could not speak publicly because of the sensitivity of the issue.” (Navy detects Russian sub off U.S. East Coast) These events would seem to imply that Russia is saber rattling and trying to influence the United States and the broader international community to remain neutral in regard to the events that are occurring in the Ukraine. These events will have an increasing impact on the nature of international relations in the 21st century.

All of these events will have an impact on how International Organizations (IOs) function. The remainder of this research report will focus on the history of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and how NATO has been able to re-task its mission in order to remain viable in a “new world order” such as taking action and assisting in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) as well as a review of how NATO will continue to function in its original capacity of protecting the peace and security of Europe of Russia once again attempts to become a dominant power in the region. The research question that will be addressed in this report is, can NATO continue to function effectively in its expanded role in the GWOT without this role impacting NATOs ability to maintain the safety and stability of Europe in the face on increased Russia aggression.

The hypothesis of this work is that NATO will find itself stretched thin while being deployed in Afghanistan to assist in the GWOT and the need to offer security and stability in Europe. There was not enough forethought given to the idea that Russia may attempt to assert dominance over Europe again which allowed NATO to re-task its mission and now may find itself unable to maintain security operations in both Central Asia and Europe.

  1. Review of the Literature:

War has the unintended consequence of changing the political landscape of a region, for example at the end of World War I the Treaty of Westphalia altered the political landscape by creation of the modern nation-state and the fracturing of the Ottoman Empire thusly creating modern Muslim states of the Middle East. The end of World War II was not much different. As the war ended, a security organization was put in place so as to maintain the peace and security of mainland Europe and to check the power of the Soviet Union as it began to acquire more land (nation-states) throughout Central and Eastern Europe.

To prevent the Soviet Union from gathering too much power and in order to maintain safety and security of Europe after the end of World War II, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was created. “It is often said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded in response to the threat posed by the Soviet Union. This is only partially true. In fact, the Alliance’s creation was part of a broader effort to serve three purposes: deterring Soviet expansionism, forbidding the revival of nationalist militarism in Europe through a strong North American presence on the continent, and encouraging European political integration.” (History) During the initial years of NATO the organization had the threefold mission of keeping the Soviet Union in check (by not annexing more nation-states throughout Europe) allowing for security and stability to thrive in Europe so that another organization the European Council (EC)/European Union (EU) could be established which led to a much more organized and stable Europe which allowed for larger and greater economic development. The EU through assistance of NATO has also maintained stability in Europe to the point that major developed nations of Europe have not fought a war with one another since World War II.

NATO was also able to demonstrate its ability to maintain security in Europe when it intervened with the military conflict that occurred in Bosnia during the early-mid 1990s. “NATO conducted its first major crisis response operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR) was deployed in December 1995 to implement the military aspects of the Dayton Peace Agreement and was replaced a year later by the NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR). SFOR helped to maintain a secure environment and facilitate the country’s reconstruction in the wake of the 1992-1995 war.” (NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organization) The war in Bosnia holds another interesting aspect for NATO as Bosnia had recently been freed from the oppression of the Soviet Union and had become an independent nation which led to ethnic and nationalist strife. As per NATOs established mission they stepped in to assist in the stabilization of Bosnia.

However, as with all organizations, they either evolve or die. As the Soviet Union was no longer and the EU had managed to maintain stability in Europe the mission of NATO began to alter and/or evolve. As the introduction of this research report indicates, beginning in February of 2014 and continuing on through the writing of this report the Ukraine and Russia have been locked in an armed conflict as the Ukraine attempts to express more economic freedom and join the EU while the Ukrainian government attempts to maintain control and of the Ukraine while keeping strong ties with Russia. NATO has found itself on the forefront of this conflict “Among its new post–Cold War tasks and goals, NATO focused on developing constructive relations with Russia in order to promote understanding and establish practical forms of cooperation on a long-term basis. Other important goals included the development of NATO’s distinctive partnership with Ukraine, launching cooperation with other partner countries throughout Central and Eastern Europe, and preparing the path for further enlargement of the alliance in the coming years.” (Assenova 2003) The very fact that NATO has yet to become involved in this conflict calls the new and evolved mission of NATO into question including the question of, will NATO be able to maintain security assistance as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan while still maintaining safety and security in Europe.

NATO finds itself deployed in Afghanistan in support of the GWOT and offering assistance to the interim Afghan government and to support safety and security in Afghanistan “NATO’s primary objective in Afghanistan is to enable the Afghan government to provide effective security across the country and develop new Afghan security forces to ensure Afghanistan can never again become a safe haven for terrorists. The 49 nations which make up the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) are supporting the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in the conduct of security operations throughout the country. Since 2011, responsibility for security has gradually been transitioned to the Afghans and ISAF’s mission has shifted from a combat-centric role to a more enabling role focusing on training, advising and assisting. The launch of the final stage of the transition process in June 2013 means that Afghan forces are taking the lead for security across the whole country.” (NATO and Afghanistan) While this mission is important the question does arise as to whether NATO will be able to maintain security in Afghanistan while being able to maintain security throughout Europe and intervene in the crisis in the Ukraine.

As indicated earlier the end of the Cold War and the events of 9/11 have had a major impact on the nature of International Organizations (IOs) in general and NATO in specific. IOs and NATO have to evolve to remain relevant in the post-modern world. “The structure of the international system after the end of the Cold War and the 9/11 attacks has clearly and deeply changed and, more than a no polarity system a kind of unipolarity-Multipolarity complex has finally arisen, although several of its characteristics, actors and interactions still have to be defined. It is clear that there is a military unipolarity a redistribution of economic polarity and finally the world governance system is under reconstruction.” (Cantalapiedra and González 2010) The world is finding itself in a state of flux with the United States being a major world power, but instead of having one balancing power there are several nations that are poised to become a balance to that power, as such NATO must also alter its mission to assist in maintain safety, security and stability in larger regions of the world.

As an example “In spite of the absence of military conflicts among great powers, the actors in the international system seem prone to the use of force or the threat of the use of force in conflicts. At the same time, however, the "soft power" or "power of attraction" is now much more important than ever in international politics. Soft power, getting others to want the outcomes that you want, persuades people rather than coerces them. “A country may obtain the outcomes it wants in world politics because other countries admire its values, emulate its example; aspire to its level of prosperity and openness”. Soft power lies in the ability to attract and persuade, and the attraction and image of success of the European Union abroad (as a model of economic integration), is a good example of this strategy. In addition, the center of world affairs has moved from the Atlantic to the Pacific.” (Cantalapiedra and González. 2010) As nation-states are less likely to engaged in armed conflict with one another, these nations still require a security organization(such as NATO) to maintain safety and security to allow for greater economic development. While the mission of NATO will become more important in intervening in potential armed conflict, it should be understood that NATO should not spread itself too thin to the point where the original mission of NATO (the protection of Europe) is not completely neglected, as NATO no longer function in Europe may in fact lead to the armed conflict that NATO was created to avoid.

In addition not only is NATO finding itself deploying to nations such as Afghanistan to assist in the support of the GWOT and may find itself having to intervene in the crisis in the Ukraine, NATO may also find that it will be required to intervene in what is known as energy security. As nations continue to grow and develop there will be an increased drain and resources, as such oil and other resources will become a commodity that nations may be willing to go to war over. It will be up to NATO to also intervene in these conflicts. “The issue of NATO’s role in the field of energy security appears on the political leaders’ agenda in the half of the past decade. Therefore, the US Senator Richard Lugar, the president of Foreign Relations Committee of the US Senate, has stressed, a day before the Riga NATO Summit, that the risks and threats toward the energy security of a member state shall be related to the category of aggression covered by the 5th Article of the North Atlantic Treaty. Another important name for the security politics, NATO General Secretary - Jaap de Hoop Scheffer declared, in a speech from February 2006 at the Munich Conference for Security Policy47, the NATO option “to protect the vital supply lines” (Scheffer, 2006) making possible the use of force if energy-supply lines were threatened (Bahree, Cummins, 2006) as a part of the general security policy assumed by the will of the member states.” (Hlihor 2010) For lack of a better term NATO may be asked to become the international security guards that maintain member-states ability to have access to oil and other natural resources that are required to run a nation. In addition to this NATO may find itself in the middle of armed conflicts between developing nations and developed nations over access to natural resources. Instead of simply maintaining the economic safety and stability of a region, NATO will also become protectors of natural resources.

What is most interesting about the idea of NATO becoming involved in emergency security and therefore taking on a more “security guard” role than a military role can be seen in this bit of research “"During the meeting, Mr. Stamatopoulos said the alliance is changing its philosophy and is turning from an organization ensuring the defense of their members into an organization ensuring their security. This is new and important, because it opens up opportunities for more active cooperation between Russia and NATO," Margelov told journalists in summing up outcomes of the meeting with Stamatopoulos.” (Interfax 2013) In addition to offering assistance to the GWOT, NATO is finding itself increasingly required to engage in a security function that will protect both member states and non-member states safe from non-state actors in the area of overall security.

The primary question that this research report has attempted to answer is whether NATO can sustain a prolonged deployment in Afghanistan and assistance in the GWOT while attempting to maintain security and stability in Europe, especially in the face of increasing violence between Russia and the Ukraine. “A fundamental continuity remains, namely that NATO has and will continue to be shaped by American influence. That said, the global agenda which U.S. policy favors could well be NATOs undoing. Surveying the post-cold war period, the further out of area the alliance has gone the worse its problems have become a state of affairs that has culminated in the imbroglio of Afghanistan. As with previous crises in its 60-year history NATO will not doubt live to fight another day, but where and how it does so remain open questions.” (Webber 2009) NATO in support of U.S. foreign policy have broken with the traditional role of offering security and stability to Europe and have moved into the area of assisting with the GWOT and deployment in Afghanistan. The question remains as to whether NATO will be able to maintain a deployment in support of the GWOT while also maintain a presence in Europe that will prevent the destabilization of Europe. The crisis in the Ukraine is an excellent example of this. As yet NATO has not become involved in the conflict; this poses the question as to whether NATO has the ability and resources to remain deployed in such divergent regions.

  1. Methodology and Research Strategy:

The research methods used in this report was of the case study variety, both historical and recent information of NATO have been utilized. This information gives a broad review of what NATO had managed to do historically in addition to the functions that NATO now finds itself involved with. While a statistical analysis would lend more support to the analysis of this document it would be difficult to offer any sort of statistical significance to the work done by NATO in the last 60 years, this is why it becomes important to conduct case study research on both the modern and historical NATO operations.

The wide variety of case studies that were utilized in this work indicate that NATO was effective in the early years of its existence by providing safety, security and stability in Europe that allowed for Europe to develop economically and to create the EU which has also increased the ability of Europe to develop economically. In addition to this, NATO with the assistance of the EU has prevented major armed conflict from breaking out among members-states of the EU. NATO proved less successful in ending the violence in Bosnia in the early 1990s but was successful in keeping the violence from crossing over or spilling over into other nations. Give this; the NATO mission to Bosnia was successful since conflict was contained.

A review of current NATO deployments indicates that NATO has moved almost completely away from its original mission (of providing security to Europe) and is now assisting the U.S. in the GWOT. This is where a statistical analysis would be most helpful. Between ethnic violence taking place in Bosnia, the Balkans and the Caucuses region of Europe it would be interesting to analyze what impact growing insurgent groups have had on the larger deployment of NATO, meaning that if NATO were able to remain operating in Europe, would the region have opened up to insurgent groups?

The final research method used was a review of current events and how regional security organizations may have had an impact (positive or negative) on violence. NATO most likely would have had a positive impact on preventing the growth of insurgent violence in Europe if they were allowed to remain deployed in that region. It is difficult to say that NATO or any security organization would have an impact on violence that is occurring in Central Asia.

While case study research is interesting it only shows part of an overall larger picture. Statistical analysis would have offered more validity to information contained here.

  1. Analysis and Findings:

The end of World War II and the start of the Cold War was the linchpin that caused the creation of NATO, therefore it is only fitting that the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union led to the re-tasking of NATO.

During the initial years of NATO after the end of World War II the mission of NATO was largely positive in the fact that the stability that NATO caused allowed for the establishment of the EU and for greater economic integration of the nations of Europe, NATO and the EU have also been able to prevent a major armed conflict from occurring among major power nations of Europe, however, NATO much like other organizations have to evolve or die. Over time NATO saw the need to being to evolve in its mission, possibly to the detriment of continued safety and security in Europe.

As the Cold War became a footnote in history NATO found itself an IO without a mission as NATO witnessed it’s mission in Europe decreasing the new millennium with the events of 9/11 gave NATO a new mission, that mission was to support United States forces in the GWOT. NATO now finds itself deployed in Afghanistan as part of the ISAF.

While NATO has or had proven to be an effective security organization in Europe, they have not become as effective in Afghanistan, stability and security has not been brought to the region and the Taliban have been able to influence larger sections of Afghanistan and therefore create larger insurgent groups that NATO and U.S. forces must face off against. The question of how to bring stability to Afghanistan is difficult. Due to the fact that there isn’t currently and never really was one unified Afghanistan. The road to unification of Afghanistan will be long and will involve humanitarian action, not military action that is supported by NATO, the UN or the U.S. Military intervention only serves to indicate to the Afghan people that yet another outside nation is trying to influence Afghan policy and politics. This has not been well received.

It should also be noted that while Europe remains stable and there has not been a war fought among major nations of Europe, fracturing and conflict is on the increase. As NATO has been forced to spend so much effort on Afghanistan they have not been able to end low intensity conflicts that have occurred in the Balkans, The Caucuses region of Europe, Bosnia, Kosovo the Ukraine. While these low intensity conflicts have been contained to the regions where they are being/have been fought this does not mean that low intensity conflict will remain low intensity and will not over-flow into other nations causing instability in Europe.

In addition to the potential instability in Europe due to the absence of NATO forces, insurgent groups have been about to move from regions in the Middle East into regions (mostly into the Balkans) to assist in ethnic conflict with Russian forces. This has led to the moving of insurgent training camps from the Middle East into Europe. Again, with a NATO deployment in Afghanistan there is no consolidated military force that can keep these groups in check and maintain the security of Europe.

Continued and escalating violence in the Ukraine would seem to indicate that Russia is attempting to regain at least some of its former glory and may make an attempt to reacquire some of its satellite nations. Again, NATO is busy with the GWOT and will be unable to sustain a deployment in Europe as well in an attempt to keep the new Russia in order.

Add to this the belief that NATO is nothing more than a puppet of the United States and is deployments are formed by U.S. foreign policy, NATO finds itself as a major cross roads. Remain assisting the U.S. with the GWOT or resuming its rightful reason for existence and return to Europe and continue to provide safety and security.

What is interesting at this point is the idea that NATO may be required to take on the role of security guard in Europe instead of a military type situation. This may be the case as nations have to increasingly compete for energy security(or the ability to maintain the energy needs of independent nations). NATO will increasingly be called about to end disputes and to maintain the security of locations that offer resources to a variety of nations. Also, knowing that nations will increasingly concern themselves with energy security, these locations will become prime insurgent targets meaning that NATO forces may be used to maintain the security of these locations.

The question remains as NATO continues to assist the U.S. in the GWOT, will they also be able to maintain a presence in Europe to prevent against violence, maintain security and protect against armed conflict over energy. The final question becomes is NATO able or will NATO become able to maintain the new and varied missions that it has become required to fulfill.

  1. Conclusions:

It is hard to say what impact NATO will have on the future of Europe, it is increasingly difficult to pin point what the future of Europe will be. By that I mean it is hard to tell if the EU will become one large political body and/or one large nation state instead of an organization of self-governing nation-states. If this will occur NATO will be required to take on its old mission of keeping Europe stable and Security.

However, NATO has constantly been influenced by U.S. foreign policy which has required that NATO deploy to Afghanistan leaving Europe to maintain its own security, which has allowed for Russia and former satellite nations of the Soviet Union to engage in low intensity conflicts with one another on the European continent.

At this point with all of the violence that is occurring in and around Russia there is a real probability that Europe will become unstable in the face of a new and violent Russia. To keep NATO and the U.S. allies in order in case or a larger war between a potential new super power (China, North Korea or Japan) will require a stable Europe, a stable Europe means NATO forces that should re-deploy where they were originally intended to function.

The final question should be, will NATO be able to maintain its original mission or has NATO become an IO of international conflicts past that has outlived its usefulness and instead should be used as a template for a new security organization that can maintain the safety and security of Europe while also assisting the United States with the GWOT.

  1. Reference List:

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Assenova, Margarita. The debate on NATO's evolution: a guide. Washington, D.C.: CSIS Press, 2003.

Cantalapiedra, David García, and Javier García González. 2010. "The Changing Nature of NATO: Towards a Regional Security Organization?." UNISCI Discussion Papers no. 22: 130-141. International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center, EBSCOhost (accessed March 14, 2014)

"History." NATO. http://www.nato.int/history/nato-history.html (accessed March 14, 2014).

Hlihor, Constantin. 2010. "It's time for a NATO Energy Security Strategy." Romanian Journal Of Security Studies 1, no. 2: 43-50. International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center, EBSCOhost (accessed March 14, 2014).

Interfax. 2013. "NATO turning into organization ensuring security of its members - assistant secretary general." Russia & FSU General News, November 12. 1. Regional Business News, EBSCOhost (accessed March 14, 2014).

"NATO and Afghanistan." NATO. http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/69772.htm (accessed March 15, 2014).

"NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organization." NATO. http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_52122.htm (accessed March 14, 2014).

"Navy detects Russian sub off U.S. East Coast." CNN Security Clearance RSS. http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11/06/navy-detects-russian-sub-off-u-s-east-coast/ (accessed March 15, 2014).

Webber, Mark. 2009. "NATO: The United States, Transformation and the War in Afghanistan." British Journal Of Politics & International Relations 11, no. 1: 46-63. International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center, EBSCOhost (accessed March 14, 2014).

"Why is Ukraine in turmoil?." BBC News. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-25182823 (accessed March 13, 2014).