Domestic and Global Security Threats

Current domestic and global security threats: The impact on The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed to cope with the challenges of a bipolar world. However, today’s global environment faces multi-polar challenges from non-state actors such as terrorists. Threats once considered domestic concerns now affect the world, like global warming and the need to rebuild the infrastructure of unstable states such as Afghanistan and Bosnia.

The globalization of modern society has meant the globalization of modern technological threats, including cyberterrorism, as well as increased international competition for scarce energy resources. All of these problems affect NATO members but cannot be addressed with a regionally specific focus. To create a more secure world “NATO will need to start working in partnership with other multilateral organizations, like the UN, if it hopes to find effective permanent solutions to the security challenges facing the world.

Although NATOs presence is often a condition of success, it is increasingly insufficient” by itself when dealing with global security (Goldschmidt 2009). Domestic state concerns, such as internal instability and a lack of resources can have global repercussions. Domestic concerns: Domestic peacekeeping in Afghanistan and global warming Because of the terrorist threat posed to NATO nations by terrorist non-state actors harbored in Afghanistan, NATO cannot shirk the critical role it must play in creating a more stable government, despite Afghanistan’s non-European location.

In Afghanistan, “there is a need for a coordinated effort with development and reconstruction agencies. NATO currently must play both a security and nation-building role. It was not designed for the latter, and cannot hope to create the conditions for military withdrawal without a concerted development effort” with other regional and international organizations such as the United Nations (Goldschmidt 2009).

Recently, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stated that while Afghanistan security and internal integrity is still challenging and “Afghanistan will likely face security threats for years to come,” NATO alliance forces within the nation have begun “transferring security responsibilities to the Afghan government” and can begin a slow withdrawal (Fedynsky 2010). Afghanistan security will remain of grave concern for the Alliance, but the approach taken by NATO has been seen as a useful template for its future 21st century fforts. Said Secretary General Rasmussen: “It will not be a run for the exit…What will happen is that we hand over lead responsibility to the Afghans, and our soldiers will then move into a more supportive role. But I foresee that the Afghan security forces will need our supportive assistance for quite some time” (Fedynsky 2010). NATO will increasingly assume the role, suggests Rasmussen, of a peacekeeping force—keeping the domestic peace for Afghanistan in the interests of global peace.

Global warming is of grave concern for all of NATO members, given that wars for the earth’s scarce energy resources can become a fertile source of interstate conflict. Nations with historical animosity to NATO members, such as those in the Persian Gulf, often harbor the greatest reserves of the world’s fossil fuels. Climate change can also result in critical reductions in the food supply and politically destabilizing natural disasters. Global warming has even intensified competition for territory: “Russia, the US, Canada, Norway and Denmark have all been attracted to the energy supply in the Arctic.

Relations between these states has intensified after evidence revealed that global warming was melting the polar ice making, access to the energy supplies easier as jurisdiction over the region is still under dispute” (“Russia,” Press TV, 2009). “Climate change could confront us with a whole range of unpleasant developments — developments which no single nation state has the power to contain…. dwindling water and food supplies, global warming, and mass migration cause international tensions. [Climate change will] sharpen the competition over resources, notably water.

It will increase the risks to coastal regions. It will provoke disputes over territory and farming land. It will spur migration and it will make fragile states even more fragile” warned NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (Waterfield 2008). Unspoken by Scheffer was the fact that Russia “aims to be among the world’s top five economies in medium term” and has a strong “reliance on natural energy supplies such as oil and gas” and a strong interest in expanding its reserves (“Russia,” Press TV, 2009).

Global concerns: Russia, missile shields and cyberterrorism Thus domestic concerns such as internal instability and even energy scarcity have global repercussions that affect NATO nations. That is why, despite the end of the Cold War, tensions between NATO member and non-member nations remain bubbling so close to the surface. It has not been forgotten by the Russian leadership that NATO was founded to address the security concerns raised by the now-defunct institutions of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.

Fears of ‘Star Wars’ shield defense systems were reignited in March when Secretary General Rasmussen, warning of the “looming threat of weapons of mass destruction,” made a case for a missile shield system for all NATO alliance states against “unconventional weapons and the missiles that [they] could carry…Should Iran produce intermediate- and intercontinental-range missiles…the whole of the European continent, as well as all of Russia would be in range,” he stated (Brunnstrom 2010).

Rasmussen’s deliberate mention of Russia as a potential target for rogue states and terrorist organizations did little to allay the Russia’s fears that a NATO missile shield system would pose a threat to its security. In 2009, before the US announced its abandonment of a missile defense system in the Czech Republic, “a national security document released by Moscow describe[d] the US and NATO as major threats to the security of the world and Russia” (“Russia,” Press TV, 2009). Along with its disputes with Russia, cyberterrorism and terrorism have been pressing concerns in framing NATO’s global agenda for the future.

The most visible aspect of NATO’s anti-terrorist campaign has been in terms of its military capacity through efforts such as Operation Active Endeavour (OAE), “a maritime surveillance operation led by NATO’s naval forces to undertake anti-terrorist patrol, escort and compliant boarding in the Mediterranean,” as well as NATO policing assistance protecting the public during high-profile events such as the Olympics and other international sporting events (“Topic: Terrorism,” NATO, 2010).

NATO has also made every effort to deploy new technology in its efforts to subvert terrorist threats such as its Defense Against Terrorism Program of Work (DAT POW) which created the precision air-drop technology currently used in Afghanistan. Since 2007 cyber attacks in Estonia swamped government websites shortly after the Estonian government challenged the Russian government regarding the possession of a national monument, NATO’s awareness has been heightened about the security risks posed by cyberterrorism. The protection of NATO’s key information systems in general, and cyber defense in particular, are integral parts of the functions of the Alliance” (“Topic: Terrorism,” NATO, 2010). In addition to specifically-coordinated military efforts, NATO has attempted to promote information sharing between member nations regarding terrorist threats and counter-terrorist efforts.

However, the maintenance of hostilities between NATO and Russia continues to be of concern, given Russia’s fears of NATO missile defense systems, Russia’s desire to expand its territorial outreach for energy reserves, and Russia’s lack of willingness to engage in information exchanges with the Alliance. Russia is a critical partner in fighting global warming and terrorism, particularly because of its size, resources, and the fact that many cyber attacks have been traced to Russia.

Building stronger relationships with Russia without compromising NATO’s domestic and global agenda will be a critical challenge for the Alliance in the 21st century.

Works Cited

Brunnstrom, David. “Missile Defense Needed Against Growing Threat, NATO Chief Says. ” Reuters. March 26, 2009. May 14, 2010. http://www. globalsecuritynewswire. org/gsn/nw_20100326_9638. php Fedynsky, Peter. “NATO to Transfer Security Tasks to Afghan Government. Global Security. April 23, 2010. May 14, 2010. http://www. globalsecurity. org/military/library/news/2010/04/mil-100423-voa01. htm Goldschmidt, Pierre. Garry Hindle, R. Andreas Kraemer, Fabrice Pothier, Jamie Shea, Michael Stopford , Ashley J. Tellis & Brooks Tigner. “The Next Generation of Security Threats: Reprogramming NATO? ” Carnegie Mellon: Europe. February 24, 2009. May 14, 2010. http://carnegieeurope. eu/events/? fa=1255 Russia: US, NATO main threats to global security. ” Press TV. May 13, 2009. May 14, 2010. http://www. presstv. ir/detail. aspx? id=94616§ionid=351020602 “Topic: Terrorism” NATO. 2001. May 14, 2010. http://www. nato. int/cps/en/natolive/topics_48801. htm Waterfield, Bruno. “NATO Chief warns of climate change developments. ” The Daily Telegraph. 2008. May 14, 2010. http://www. nysun. com/foreign/nato-chief-warns-of-climate-change-developments/79215/

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