Talks on NATO. The first two seminars were for students and were held at the Universities of Prizren and Prishtina on March 12th. On the next day there was another, closed session, in the New Government building, with representatives from institutions such as the Ministry for the kosovo Security Force (KSF), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Parlamentarians, as well as representatives of KFOR. The headline for the seminars was the New Strategic Concept of the NATO Alliance, with presentations by Colonel Dr. John Andreas Olsen, Deputy Commander at NATO HQ in Sarajevo, and Ambassador Jan Braathu. In addition to informing about the new ten year strategic plan, the seminars also provided general information about NATO, the organization’s history and development through the last six decades. The presenters also informed about Norway’s relationship with NATO.
Ilir Deda, Executive Director from the KIPRED Institute moderated the two university seminars, while Ms Besa Kabashi-Ramaj, Senior Political Advisor to the Minister for the KSF, moderated the closed session. After the presentations the audiences were encouraged to ask questions and to comment, the audiences were active participants and interesting discussions followed each seminar.
University of Prishtina. Photo: Hilde L. Sandvik, MFA
“The Manifesto of Nato”, as referred to by Colonel Olsen, is the result of the summit held in Lisbon in 2010, and is an updating and revision of the strategic concepts initiated in 1991, then renewed both in 1999 and 2010. The new strategic concept reconfirms the Alliance’s fundamental basis as an instrument for peace and security. As emphasized several times by both presenters, the most fundamental purpose of NATO is maintaining peace and security, and that the Alliance is based on a common set of shared principles and values agreed upon by all its member countries. The most fundamental values are regarding democracy, Rule of Law, and respect for human rights, protected through the principle of collective defense. These are as important in the New Strategic Concept as they were more than sixty years ago.
So what is new about the New Strategic Concept compared to the last one from 1999? The presenters highlighted the broadening of the concept of “security” and the development of new threats, such as Cyber-security, anti-terrorism, anti-piracy and other security threats that had not been envisaged ten years earlier. Both presenters emphasized the growing importance of partnerships in NATO’s relationship with countries outside the Alliance. As pointed out by Colonel Olsen; the better and broader cooperation between countries, the smaller are the odds of conflict or war breaking out.
University of Prizren. Photo: Hilde L. Sandvik, MFA
The Madonna curve. Ambassador Braathu characterised NATO as “the most successful international organisation in our time” and went on to explain that this is due to the Alliance’s openness and receptiveness, as well as its willingness to adapt to new circumstances in order to remain relevant to evolving security concerns. Some have characterised this as the “Madonna curve”, or the ability to change with the times. NATO’s new Strategic Concept is a perfect example of this. The Ambassador highlighted the enormous shift we have seen in Europe since the establishment of NATO in 1949, especially after the fall of the Soviet Union, and points out how this has also demanded great changes in security and defense strategies. The interest for security is expanding to new areas, as previous threats have been rendered less pressing, while new threats have arisen.