NATO adopts new long-term strategy to flex muscles

09:41, November 20, 2010      

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NATO's Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen addresses a press conference of the NATO Summit in Lisbon, capital of Portugal, on Nov. 19, 2010. Leaders from 28 NATO countries endorsed new Strategic Concept at the military bloc's annual summit held here on Friday. (Xinhua/Wu Wei)

NATO leaders on Friday adopted a new Strategic Concept that will serve as the alliance's roadmap for the next 10 years and that reconfirms the commitment to defend one another against attack as the bedrock of Euro-Atlantic security.

The document lays out NATO's vision for an evolving alliance that will remain able to defend its members against modern threats and commits NATO to become more agile, more capable and more effective.

"We face new threats and challenges. This Strategic Concept will ensure that NATO remains as effective as ever in defending our peace, our security and our prosperity," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at a news conference held here on Friday evening.

Stressing that the time has come for NATO to develop new capabilities and new partnerships, the new Strategic Concept paves the way for the alliance to modernize its ability to carry out its core mission of collective defense, while continuing to promote international stability.

The new Strategic Concept is a document outlining the guiding principles of the alliance to tackle the challenges of the 21st century. As radical changes have occurred on the global scene since the last strategy was adopted in 1999, leaders decided to revise the document to take into account new security threats, such as terrorism and cyber criminality.

"This is an action plan, which sets out clearly the concrete steps NATO will take. This action plan will put in place an alliance that is more effective, more engaged and more efficient than ever before," stressed the NATO secretary general, as he presented the new Strategic Concept in Lisbon.

Under the new strategy, allies reconfirm their engagement to ensure common defense against attacks.

If the Cold War is well and truly over, proliferation of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile, terrorism and cyber-attacks are posing a real and growing threat to the security of the alliance's member states.

"As long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance," the strategy states. NATO therefore commits to maintain nuclear and conventional forces, but also to seek cooperation with Russia and other Euro-Atlantic partners to develop a ballistic missile defense shield.

As societies are becoming reliant on information technology, the alliance will work on developing its capacity to prevent, detect, defend against and recover from cyber-attacks.

NATO will focus on the fight against terrorism through better international cooperation and development of adequate military capabilities.

Following missions in Afghanistan and the Western Balkans, NATO leaders have also committed to prevent crises, manage conflicts and support reconstruction missions through enhanced cooperation with the United Nations and the European Union. NATO will also engage in conflict regions outside the alliance as instability could pose a threat to the security of the organization's territory and populations.

The new Strategic Concept also offers partner countries and organizations around the globe more opportunities for dialogue and cooperation in an effort to enhance international security.

NATO therefore wants to reinforce cooperation with Russia in areas of shared interests, including counter-narcotics, the fight against terrorism and international security. Cooperation with Russia will also be enhanced through the use of the NATO-Russia Council to its full potential.

"NATO poses no threat to Russia. On the contrary, we want to see a true strategic partnership between NATO and Russia," the document states.

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