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Five Things NATO Is Needed For

Recent events in Ukraine have highlighted the continued relevance of NATO. But what does NATO do? What is it needed for?

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1. Deterrence and Reassurance

Via commons.wikimedia.org

Particularly in light of recent Russian activity along NATO's eastern borders, defending the territorial integrity of members remains one of NATO's foremost tasks. It will require the alliance to deter aggression and reassure existing members of its collective defence commitments. However, deterrence was never easy to execute - and never will be. This requires NATO to demonstrate both capability and credibility.

2. Crisis Management

Via nato.int

Particularly since the end of the Cold War, NATO has become involved in a number of military operations designed to tackle challenges posed by failing states. Examples include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Libya. Looking forward, instability is increasing across the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa - areas deemed critically important to many NATO member states.

3. Early warning and intelligence

Many NATO member states - including the United States - recognize that their understanding of Russia has declined since the end of the Cold War. With better intelligence and early warning systems, allies might have been able to prevent Russian aggression in Crimea. Equally, improving our understanding of the Middle East and North Africa will be increasingly important in order to mitigate the potential for conflict.

4. Resilience

Via en.wikipedia.org

A necessary, but often overlooked, aspect of defense planning relates to a country’s ability to withstand a catastrophic attack or accident. Adversaries are less likely to attack NATO states if the alliance's members can demonstrate that such an attack wouldn't have any meaningful impact. Building resilience is therefore a critical task for NATO as a whole, as well as for NATO’s partners in Central & Eastern Europe and the Middle East. NATO can, and should, assist with the latter

5. Public diplomacy

Via theblaze.com

Russia is using media outlets to propagate its narratives in order to gain legitimacy for aggressive behaviour. NATO needs to help its members rapidly counter such narratives, as well build an argument explaining why shared resources and shared burdens are so vital to addressing the old and new challenges that members face.

This article was adapted from a Chatham House research report, authored by Xenia Wickett and Kathleen McInnis: NATO: Charting the Way Forward http://www.chathamhouse.org/publication/nato-charting-way-forward

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