A Conversation on the Results of the NATO Warsaw Summit
On July 19, with the backdrop of the NATO Summit in Warsaw, the attacks in Nice, and the attempted coup in Turkey, The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) hosted Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero, permanent representative of Italy to NATO, Ambassador Kerry Buck, permanent representative of Canada to NATO; and Ambassador Douglas Lute, permanent representative of the United States to NATO, for a conversation on the results of the NATO Warsaw Summit. The panel discussion was moderated by GMF President Dr. Karen Donfried.
In their opening remarks the ambassadors highlighted how the NATO Summit, held in the shadow of the British referendum to leave the European Union, has helped to show the transatlantic community’s willingness to act. In order to understand the full importance of the Summit, it is necessary to realise the changing security environment throughout the last 20 years, and especially key events since 2014. The illegal annexation of Crimea, the destabilization of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, the fall of the city of Mosul to the so-called Islamic State (ISIL), brought about the need to understand an unprecedented new phase of NATO activities, coined as ‘NATO 3.0.’
The representatives emphasized the need for NATO to further enhance cooperation with the European Union and its partners, as well as to be able to react to both challenges and threats that appear from whatever angle. The solidarity of the Alliance is pivotal in going forward and dealing with bigger threats such as terrorism, failed states or uncontrolled migration. These were only a few examples mentioned by the ambassadors to highlight that many issues impact on our own security. At the heart of all comments and questions, it was increasingly emphasized that the principles of the Alliance - located in the Preamble of the Washington Treaty – in upholding democracy, individual liberties, and the rule of law is the bedrock that binds all 28 members together.
The discussion was dominated by questions on NATO-Russian relations, reflections on how to better turn the words of Warsaw Summit Communiqué into actions, and inquiries on what will be NATO’s reaction to the recent event in Turkey. The audience complied of members from other Representations to NATO such as Ukraine and Russia, as well as the European Parliament, European External Action Service, and journalists amongst others.
On the Turkish issue, the ambassadors highlighted that all of the individual allies were extremely responsive to the attempted coup on July 16, and despite concerns over the overthrowing of a democratically elected government, the situation had resolved itself and NATO had no need to intervene to assist the government. Since tensions between Turkey and Russia emerged, after the 2015 downing of a Russian plane in Turkish airspace, NATO has played a key role in moderating the strain between the two countries. NATO also expands its commitments to other operations such as its Maritime ventures as well as Operation Sophia. On the Russian questions, the representatives continued to reassure that NATO is and has always been transparent in its military operations and drills (Operation Anaconda being the latest on June 7 in Poland for two weeks,) and that Russia has always been invited to observe NATO operations, even in those cases that would fall below the threshold for observation.
The decisions and action plan of Warsaw sets a major precedent for seeing both action and reaction. The 2017 Summit to be hosted at the new NATO Headquarters in Brussels will be an opportunity to assess and see how far the Alliance has moved during the coming year and the place to discuss the results.