EU-NATO Relationship in Today's Security Environment
Ambassador Jaromir Novotný
Czech Ambassador to India
On this panel we have representatives from three new NATO member countries. From Latvia we have Mr. Edgar Rinkevics, the State Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Defense. From Romania we have Mr. Ion Mircea Plangu, the State Secretary for Defense Policy from the Romanian Ministry of Defense. And from Estonia we have Vice-Admiral Tarmo Kouts, the Commander of the Estonian Defense Forces. I know all three from their involvement in Partnership for Peace negotiations.
While you have heard from so many good speakers over the course of the workshop, and this panel will add to the discussion, please allow me to preface our panel’s time with some remarks.
SIX POINTS CONCERNING GLOBAL CONFLICT
First, the world is less predictable now than it was sixteen or seventeen years ago. At that time, the time of the Cold War, the world was stable: Enemies were known and the world was divided into good guys and bad guys. Everyone knew who was who. But now there are whole lists of hot spots on today’s map of the globe. There is the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. These conflicts are many years old, and we are more or less used to them. But in the 90s we added the Balkans conflict, from which were created two international protectorates, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, plus one artificial state called Serbia and Montenegro. The inhabitants of these protectorates do not like them.
Second, we did not solve the basic problem, and these territories’ statehoods are not defined. A question I must ask is, “When shall we define them? How long will their populations have to wait?” The ethnic riots in Kosovo in 2004 fully showed us what the Kosovars think about human rights. In Macedonia, too, there is a very fragile peace between Macedonians and Albanians, and again we must ask how long it will last. If the Balkan countries lose the chance to enter the EU—if the enlargement process stops because of the no votes in France and the Netherlands—the ghost of nationalism may appear on the scene again.
Third, we have a list of new live conflicts: In Afghanistan the growing gap between the Tajiks, the Uzbeks, and the Hazars in the north and the Pashtuns and the Taliban in the south, and in Iraq and in Darfur in Sudan. There is also Chechnya and the growing influence of Islam in Russia (in Tatarstan, for instance), which I am surprised no one has mentioned here. Islamic fundamentalism is also now spreading toward Central Asia, lately in Uzbekistan, and to southern Thailand.
Fourth, something that the Bulgarian Minister of Defense mentioned: The frozen conflicts in Moldova (the separatist province with a Russian-speaking population), in Georgia (in South Ossetia and Abkhazia), and in Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenia-Azerbaijan). I could add the problem between India and China, the border problem that resulted from the war in the 1960s that has still not been solved.
Fifth, there is a whole list of new possible conflicts to add to the existing conflicts. Maoist groups are very active in the area from Nepal, where they already have control of over 70 % of the country, through India’s northern and eastern states down to Sri Lanka (the LTTE). Conflicts are also very possible in several areas over water issues.
Sixth, the new players, China, India, and Iran and an old player, a recovered Russia, have entered the unstable playing field. India is trying to create an axis of India, South Africa, and Brazil against the “rich north,” and the three states are also cooperating very closely in the defense industry arena. In addition, India and China are looking intensively for energy resources.
THE NEED FOR COOPERATION
In such an environment, the relationship between the EU and NATO is being redefined. Unfortunately both organizations have problems. They also have differing views on an arms embargo toward China vis-a-vis Iran and Iraq. But the good news is that NATO and the EU agree that we need to go outside the original Euro-Atlantic area of responsibility to prevent crises.
However, NATO has military tools and no political tools and the EU has political and economic tools but very limited military tools. Still, all agree that we must cooperate—we just need to figure out how. That is the task of the day for politicians from all NATO and EU countries.