Aligning for the Future: How an Expanded Transatlantic Alliance Fosters Peace and Prosperity
The dynamic complex of relationships established by the transatlantic community is exactly what will prepare us for current and future challenges. We must evaluate current relationships and join together to establish new ones in order to present the breakthrough ideas necessary to strengthen our alliance for the future. Having survived the Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), I experienced the power of transatlantic cooperation firsthand. It was in Bosnia and Herzegovina that NATO launched its first air campaign, known as Operation Deliberate Force. This operation ultimately helped end the war that took over 100,000 lives and displaced 2 million people.
Today, BiH is working towards becoming a member of NATO and has shifted from being a security consumer to a security provider. In a time of political and economic instability, smart defense is a necessary precondition for a strong transatlantic alliance. For example, Russian encroachment into Ukraine threatens the stability of a unified Europe that is free and at peace. As we witness the belligerent rhetoric from Ukraine to the Middle East, it remains essential that the transatlantic community renew its relationships and expand the Alliance by offering membership to countries such as Georgia and Macedonia.
It also must put pressure on political leaders in BiH to resolve the issue of military defense. Apart from smart defense, economic partnerships should be established in order to foster prosperity. Economic cooperation will reduce the trade dependency on nations that are failing to uphold democratic values. For example, Putin’s doctrine should be an alarming indication to the transatlantic community of future challenges ahead. Russia is the largest exporter of gas to the European Union. The transatlantic community, however, cannot address the problem in Ukraine with such a high dependency on gas imports from Russia. Trade agreements should not be a burden in sanctioning regimes that do not value peace, human rights and territorial integrity. North America and Europe must come together to create new and effective trade agreements with nations rich in vital resources such as Norway, Canada and Azerbaijan in order to curb the dependency on Russian gas. By ensuring that agreements like TTIP are implemented, we can create a strong transatlantic bond.
We must not take for granted the alliances we have built and we must continue to strengthen them by reaching out to nations that aspire to promote and protect peace, human rights, and the rule of law. Leading up to the NATO Summit in Wales, an emphasis must be placed on facilitating new membership. Nations such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Georgia, Ukraine, and Montenegro must be given the green light to join the strong unity of nations. Challenges facing the world are transatlantic and we can strengthen the alliance by welcoming countries committed to the pursuit of peace and prosperity.
Elvir Klempic is a Fellow at the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The views expressed in GMF publications and commentary are the views of the author alone.