NATO and the Crisis in Ukraine: Changing Priorities for Leaders at the NATO Summit 2014 April 23, 2014 / Brussels, Belgium
On Wednesday, April 23, The German Marshall Fund (GMF) and the United States Mission to NATO launched the first of a new series of discussions across Europe aimed to reflect themes that will be featured at the next NATO Summit. The first event was held in Brussels and focused on “NATO and the crisis in Ukraine: Changing priorities for leaders at the NATO Summit 2014.” The discussion was moderated by Dr. Ian Lesser, senior director for Foreign and Security Policy and executive director, Transatlantic Center, GMF; and discussed by Ambassador Douglas Lute, permanent representative of the United States to NATO, Ambassador Daniel Baer, permanent representative of the United States to the OSCE. Ambassador Sorin Ducaru, assistant secretary general for Emerging Security Challenges, NATO HQ and Dr. Rob de Wijk, director, The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies.
The on-the-record discussion began with each panellist presenting what they found to be the most challenging aspects of the situation in Ukraine and its effects on the Alliance and what it could mean for the upcoming summit. Ambassador Baer began the conversation with stressing OSCE’s commitment to the Ukrainian situation and that it essentially serves as a wakeup call for the OSCE in terms of their approach to security in the region. Ambassador Lute outlined the three main strategies that have emerged in light of the crisis in Ukraine: supporting the transitional government, the international reactions towards Russia, and specifically NATO’s role in reassuring security to its members. Ambassador Ducaru framed NATO’s approach to the Summit and how the Ukrainian crisis is shaping the current security landscape. Ducaru stressed that while Ukraine is currently the top priority, other issues such as terrorism, cyber threats and piracy are still present and the Summit should try to rebalance these issues while focusing on territorial defence, crisis management, and interoperability. Dr. de Wijk took a broader approach to the subject and indicated that the Ukrainian crisis showcases the return of power politics and that the EU should do more themselves within their neighbourhood but specifically in terms of its security.
The concluding remarks of the conference set the overall tone for the series as it was agreed that while Ukraine will be an important and driving force within the summit, many vital aspects of NATO still need to be discussed such as a post-Afghanistan NATO, capabilities, and future members and partnerships. This event gathered the foreign policy community, diplomats, policymakers, and journalists.
Listen to a podcast with Ambassador Lute about Ukraine and the Alliance.