The United States and almost all other members of NATO are facing serious financial problems at the moment. Many are cutting their defense budgets, and the sums given to operations in Afghanistan will be under review. The operation in Libya only complicates the calculation.
Valdaiclub.com interview with Thomas Graham, Senior Director, Kissinger Associates
Does the transfer of control over Operation Odyssey Dawn to NATO entail a change in strategy and the beginning of a large-scale ground operation in Libya?
No, the transfer of control for the UN-sanctioned operation to NATO does not entail a change in the nature of the operation. None of the coalition partners, including the United States, France, the UK, and other countries, intends to send troops into Libya to conduct operations. Indeed, they have all explicitly said that they will not do so, and NATO as an institution is opposed.
Will NATO’s involvement in the active phase of crisis resolution in Libya come as a blow to the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), which has once again been proved ineffective?
No, it does not. The United States remains a critical partner in this operation, and NATO provides a framework for the United States continued involvement. That said, Europe’s Common Foreign and Security Policy has not advanced very far, in large part because of the unwillingness of the major European powers to cede much real power and authority to Brussels on foreign and security policy and because of considerable differences on the nature of the threats Europe confronts.
Will the spending increase resulting from the action NATO and its allies are taking to stabilize the situation in Africa mean there will be less money for training the Afghan army and police force, neither of which are fully effective, even though it has been a decade since Operation Enduring Freedom began?
The United States and almost all other members of NATO are facing serious financial problems at the moment. Many are cutting their defense budgets, and the sums given to operations in Afghanistan will be under review. The operation in Libya only complicates the calculation. So there is a danger that less money will be given for the purpose of training the Afghan army and police force. But a more important issue is spending effectively the money allocated for this task. The record so far has not been good.
The drug business in Afghanistan remains the largest threat to stabilization in the region and to the international community as a whole. Will increasing the number of NATO and allied troops in Afghanistan have any impact on this? What measures will be taken on this issue? Russia has repeatedly called for the struggle against the Afghan drug threat to be stepped up.
Combatting the narcotics business in Afghanistan is a complicated security, socio-economic, and political task, as it is everywhere else in the world, as the United States knows from its experience, for example, in Mexico. Despite close U.S.-Mexican cooperation, narcobusiness continues to flourish. Russia has a clear interest in success in combating the narcobusiness in Afghanistan, and it has a contribution to make. First, Russia should consider steps that reduce the demand, limit the market, for narcotics inside Russia through appropriate educational, health, and legal measures. Second, Russia should work with other countries in identifying the drug barons in Central Asia and Russia and the routes and methods they use to move narcotics from Afghanistan to Russia and then work with other countries in closing down the routes and bringing the drug barons to justice. Third, Russia can step up help in conducting operations against drug laboratories inside Afghanistan.
Robert Pszczel, head of NATO’s Moscow Information Office, in a recent interview with RIA Novosti, said that we can expect to see the alliance expand Cyber Defense cooperation with a number of partners, above all Russia, in the near future. What form would this take, and what principles could underpin any such cooperation between Russia and NATO?
Cyber Defense is a most sensitive issue, and the lack of trust will limit the quality of cooperation on this issue between NATO and Russia in the near term. Each side sees the other as a potential threat. The starting point for cooperation is a focus on confidence building measures. One possibility is work on combating cybercrime against commercial organizations, which is commonplace in Russia and NATO countries. This issue has fewer immediate national security implications to complicate cooperation.
Both Russia and NATO view cyber attacks as a global threat. The alliance has opened a Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (CCDCOE) in Tallinn, Estonia. What countries pose the greatest threat to NATO’s cyber security?
Russia and China. And Russia sees NATO, including the United States, as a threat to its cyber security.