NATO summit “most important” since fall of Berlin Wall

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen addresses the media ahead of the NATO summit in Wales, at the Residence Palace in Brussels, Monday Sept. 1, 2014. Russia and Ukraine will be the top story this week when NATO heads of state attend the NATO summit in Wales, starting Wednesday. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)

With the multitude of security crises occurring at the present time, many feel the world is on the brink of chaos. The 28-nation military alliance, NATO, will be meeting this week to discuss escalating concerns and events challenging global peace.


According to USA Today, Admiral James Stavridis spoke of the NATO summit occurring September 4-5 as “clearly the most important one since the fall of the Berlin Wall because of the clear level of multi-crises” unfolding around the world. It will bring together President Obama, German President Merkel, French President Hollande and 60 other leaders and diplomats from all over the world.


NATO’s highest-ranking military officer in 2013, Stavridis outlined several of the major trepidations, which included the Islamic State movements in Syria, Iraq and along the Turkish border. He also expressed concern over the fallout from the Arab Spring, territorial arguments in the South China Sea, the spread of the Ebola virus, and the continual execution of cyber threats to world’s security and banking industries.


But amongst all of these concerns, he felt that the topic of major discussion at the summit will be the “Russian adventurism” in eastern and southern Ukraine.


“If NATO is not seen to react meaningfully then it doesn’t much matter what it says about the Middle East or events in the Indian Ocean or anything else. In one sense this is a summit with a long agenda, but actually, there’s only really one item on it,” said Michael Clarke, the Director General of the Royal United Services Institute. “NATO has to come up with a set of policies that can deal with Russian subversion.”


USA Today reported that Xenia Wickett, who runs the USA program at Chatham House, an international affairs institute in London, said to the press that the summit in Newport should be seen as a “way station” rather than an “endpoint” in terms of dealing with NATO’s current and emerging security challenges.


“There’s a risk that the summit becomes all about putting out fires rather than a more strategic one,” she said. “The summit needs to pay attention to current events, but it also needs to look much further ahead in terms of where NATO is going.”


A statement about NATO spending is also expected, according to USA Today. Very few NATO members are currently spending the target of 2% of GDP on defense. According to World Bank data, the USA spends nearly 4%.


However, Robin Niblett, Director of Chatham House, stated the nature of the threats are not necessarily as grave as in previous years. “The existential threat that NATO members faced through the Cold War we do not face today, even from terrorist attacks as dreadful and bloody and damaging as they can be,” he said at a debriefing in London.


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