DIE DEUTSCHE VERSION FINDEN SIE HIER.
Despite its uncontested achievements, NATO has been steadily losing significance and acceptance in recent years – not least of all in the eyes of the public. But we can’t afford to let this unique alliance among European and American powers just expire – we have to make sure there is an alliance, with revised structures, in place in time to meet the new challenges of a world in which the geopolitical balance has shifted. Today, NATO is becoming an intrinsic Alliance – without reflecting the fundamentally changed global environment; it has not developed a political strategy for preserving its relevance.
The alliance has given no indication of whether – and how – it wishes to address the urgent questions posed today by new circumstances. The way things stand today, NATO is not capable of positioning itself geopolitically so as to define a new political and strategic covenant between Europe and America in accordance with contemporary needs while at the same time taking on the logic and central task of including Russia in this effort.
During the Cold War, NATO successfully withstood the expansion of aggressive Soviet communism. The USA could not have prevailed in this global maneuver without Germany: the confrontation between East and West took place eye to eye on German soil. In the political process which led to the reunification of Germany, the question of Germany`s membership in NATO turned out to be a decisive factor. Today, Germany’s strategic importance to the USA has significantly decreased.
Moreover, the expectations in both Europe and America that Germany would assume an appropriate strategic role within and on behalf of Europe were bitterly disappointed by Germany’s abstention in the UN-Security Council and its stance with respect to the humanitarian intervention in Libya. Germany’s position at that juncture was diametrically opposed to what it needs to be in order to build a future oriented security structure in and for Europe. Since America is shifting strategic priorities towards the Pacific, the Europeans will have to shoulder much more weight and responsibility and will increasingly left to deal with crises arising in their own backyard by themselves.
Germany’s initiative in 1993 to open the doors of the alliance for neighbors in the East had a two-fold purpose. It was meant to provide an adequate framework of stability in connection with the integration of future EU candidates through allowing them membership in NATO; this process was complemented from the beginning by the concept for a strategic partnership with Russia. Access to NATO and to the EU has enabled nearly all countries to find their place in Europe – with the exception of Russia. The alliance has by far too long neglected Russia, and failed to devote to it the same degree of positive attention devoted to EU member candidates.