"Transatlantic Security in the Age of Insecurity – The Road to Warsaw 2016"

Mar. 04, 2016

"Transatlantic Security in the Age of Insecurity – The Road to Warsaw 2016" marked the first seminar of the Project's annual Europe Week. Speakers, Douglas Alexander, former UK Shadow Foreign Secretary and Senior Fellow with the Future of Diplomacy Project; and Kori Schake, former U.S. Deputy Director of Policy Planning and Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, led a panel discussion, moderated by the Project's Executive Director, Cathryn Clüver, on February 22, 2016.

NATO's Effectiveness

Kori Schake opened the discussion by expressing great pessimism about the future of NATO and the European Union. “I’m extremely pessimistic about whether Europe as an idea can hold together for another two years given the pressure that it’s had in the past six years," stated Schake. Speaking about NATO's effectiveness, Schake predicted that there will be a a lot of "friction" and that it will be "really hard to fight in a meaningful coalition." She argued that European NATO members were simply not "serious about" their security commitments and that the "accruing of greater and greater responsiblility to the United States" will "not [be] a stable equilibrium in the long-run." On NATO's interoperability, Schake maintained that the U.S. is the "biggest violator of those [interoperability] standards [...] it’s very hard for us to work in close proximity with other countries.”

Challenges for Warsaw

Douglas Alexander revealed that "the fundamental challenge in Warsaw is to try to import an urgency from external events to internal leadership.” Speaking specifically on the migration crisis and the conflict in Ukraine, Alexander argued that the vision of “Europe, whole free, and, at peace after 1990 is challenged by Russia in the East and whole-scale migration flow.” Alexander made the case for the European Union citing a "complimentary" between the EU's "soft power" and NATO's "hard power." Criticizing Ian Bremmer's recent argument about the "hollowed [transatlantic] partnership," the former UK Foreign Secretary stressed that “Crimea is also a very big deal for the US" and insisted that the "U.S.'s capacity to act as system-operater is the "keystone" of the transatlantic relationship. Alexander added that Europe also had an obligation to help African nations declaring "if Africa fails, Europe can't succeed." In light of recent destabilizing events in North Africa, including the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria and the toppling of Mohamed Morsi in Egypt, Alexander expressed fears of “an extraordinary destructive and dynamic force on Europe’s borders" and supported the development of a "prevention strategy" to deal with the "generational challenge of migrations aspiring to a better life in Europe." Alexander concluded that one prevention strategy would be to help "build better institutions and conditions" in troubled neighbouring regions and countries.

“The coalition to defeat and destroy ISIS is wholly ineffective"

Schake argued that the coalition to defeat ISIS is "failing" because of the the neglect of the "challenges of governance, of helping people see a future that they actually want to have.” Schake proposed one solution of dealing with ISIS, citing the example of the protection of Kurdish areas in Northern Iraq in 1991 through the "successful creation of a safe-zone" in Iraq. "That would take pressure of Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon," stated Schake. "[We have to] acknowledge that these [would be] resettlement camps. [We can] protect them and have a military-humanitarian program." The former U.S. Deputy Director of Policy Planning said she could envisage military forces "assisting NGOS and other humanitarian aid organizations" and staying there long enough to "grow a generation of leaders that [we] can deal with [in the future]." The fact that Kurds are a big success today, Schake argued, is proof that "we know how to do it [but] we’re just not doing it [now].”

For more information on this publication: Please contact Future of Diplomacy Project
For Academic Citation:"Transatlantic Security in the Age of Insecurity – The Road to Warsaw 2016".” News, , March 4, 2016.