Global Insights: NATO’s Evolving Partnership Portfolio in Asia

Global Insights: NATO’s Evolving Partnership Portfolio in Asia

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen recently undertook a week-long visit to Japan and South Korea, highlighting NATO's growing role in Asian security in partnership with nonmember governments. Rasmussen is convinced that NATO needs to deepen cooperation with partner states to address global security issues that can negatively impact NATO members’ security. Conversely, NATO has unique capabilities and experience in leading multinational military campaigns, as in Afghanistan and Libya, which can be applied to joint efforts among NATO and partner states to address security concerns in Asia and beyond.

Since taking office in August 2009, Rasmussen has tried to induce alliance leaders to expand their security horizons beyond NATO’s traditional focus on the North Atlantic area. Rasmussen has tirelessly argued that NATO’s main security threats now emanate from global challenges, including failed states in developing regions, threats to international cyber networks, terrorists with global reach and WMD proliferation. In addition, adverse worldwide trends ranging from global climate change to maritime piracy and energy supply disruptions could affect allied security.

NATO’s updated Strategic Concept adopted at the November 2010 Lisbon summit calls on the alliance to become more versatile to counter novel dangers from sources that are geographically and technologically diverse, in particular by expanding partnerships with nonmember states. The approach “offers [the alliance’s] partners around the globe more political engagement with the alliance, and a substantial role in shaping the NATO-led operations to which they contribute.”

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