• “Is NATO Relevant?” Sarwar Kashmeri with UK MP Mike Gapes, on Skynews

  • What’s Next For NATO: A “Reboot or Delete?” Robin Young, host of Here & Now asks Sarwar Kashmeri

  • Sarwar Kashmeri & NATO 2.0 on Fox News

  • To preserve NATO bridge it to the EU

    NATO used to be the world’s most formidable military alliance. But, its original reason for existence, the Soviet Union, disintegrated years ago, and its dreams of being a world cop are withering in the mountains of Afghanistan.

    Meanwhile, the European Union’s Common Security & Defense Policy (CSDP) has deployed twenty-seven successful military/civil missions from Africa to Asia in the last ten years. Through CSDP, Europeans are increasingly taking charge of managing their own foreign and security policy. NATO is no longer the sole and preeminent Euro-Atlantic security actor.

    But watching NATO fade into irrelevance would be a mistake. It is a tried and true platform to harness the resources of North America and Europe. NATO’s future usefulness depends on its willingness to accept its reduced role, to let the EU handle the day-to-day security needs of Europe, and to craft a relationship with CSDP that will allow North America and Europe to act militarily together, should that ever become necessary.

    It is time for NATO 2.0, a new version of NATO, to fit the realities of an ever more integrated Europe in the twenty-first century.

NATO in America?!

Photo Credit Bernard Sidler


Allied Command Transformation (ACT) in Norfolk, VA is one of those stealth NATO commands. Not because NATO wants it to be a secret, it just never got the publicity that merits its important NATO function. ACT is NATO’s network for keeping up with the times. Lessons learnt from the battlefield are fed to ACT to be studied and turned around as improvements to NATO’s tactics, materiel and technologies. I had an opportunity to visit ACT a few weeks ago, and for a moment felt as though I’d been transferred to a French military base Including, that wonderful, strong, coffee!    

 General Stephan Abrial, the former head of the French Air Force now commands ACT and he has with him a complete compliment of French support staff. Abrial is a no-nonsense can-do officer who exudes confidence, elan, and vision. He is the first European officer to command ACT, is very sensitive to the impact of his command on transatlantic relations. and by all accounts NATO is lucky to have him in this position.     

 So what does ACT do? How does it do it? What is General Abrial’s vision for NATO?  Here’s my interview with the commander of ACT.  

  General Abrial’s conversation with Sarwar Kashmeri/ MP3      

OP Ed: NATO’s Existential Crossroad

Its come to this—military commanders in Afghanistan must consult an operations checklist before virtually every mission. They must be sure the NATO forces being sent out are properly fitted to the mission. Some NATO member countries don’t want their soldiers in a shooting zone, others won’t let military intelligence be shared between all NATO countries, and so on. A bit different from General Eisenhower leading his superb integrated fighting machine up the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.
If NATO can no longer deploy an integrated fighting force, for what can the venerable Alliance be used in the future?  It is a serious threat to NATO’s existence as a military alliance.
I continue my conversation with Mark Mardell, North American editor of the BBC to flesh out my thoughts. 
Listen to MP3 Podcast:

President Obama’s Afghanistan Strategy Speech at West Point: A European Perspective

Atlantic Council interview with Mark Mardell, North America editor of the BBC.  Sarwar and Mark spoke on Thursday, December 3, 2009. Two days after President Barack Obama’s Afghanistan strategy speech at the U.S. Military Academy/West Point.

Listen to the MP3 podcast

Andrew Bacevich Interview: Future of NATO Mission in Afghanistan

New Atlanticist Podcast Series/Atlantic Council| November 12, 2009

Sarwar Kashmeri, a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s International Security Program, interviewed Andrew Bacecvich, Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University, for the New Atlanticist Podcast Series. Bacevich discussed the recent election results in Afghanistan and the future of NATO‘s mission in the country.


Nato At Crossroads, The Important Message From Bratislava

The divisions between NATO members are illuminated in this FT column.  General McChrystal’s briefing made the headlines, the important message from the Bratislava NATO meeting lay hidden.  >>>

Nato suffers existential crisis in the face of Russian muscle

The Financial Times, October 27, 2009

Aghanistan is grabbing all the headlines within the Nato alliance these days – understandably. That is where Nato troops are engaged in their first expeditionary…unwinnable war is an even bigger question: what is Nato for?That was the issue lurking in the background…

Read Article>

2 NATOs? The Great Divide?

Research for my book on the future of NATO continues. Conversations with transatlantic leaders, especially Eastern and Central Europeans are very educational. It is almost as though there are two NATOs within NATO. One filled with members who want NATO primarily to protect them against a resurgent Russia. The second full of the founding (Western) members for whom NATO is “the world’s greatest alliance, pre-ordained as playing a role throughout the world.” How this gulf is bridged, whether it can be bridged is a key foreign policy dilemma for the Euro-Atlantic countries. Complicating the matter is defending NATO members against cyber-warfare. Article 5 of the NATO treaty (an attack on one member will be considered an attack on all)  is now in play. What does it really mean going forward? Nobody is sure. Without certainty on this defiing NATO protection, what does the Alliance really guarantee?  Stay tuned! 

Today’s Financial Times has an enlightened op-ed on the NATO divide. Nato’s dilemma in face of Russian muscle

NATO: A Strategic Concept For Transatlantic Security. Hearings: Oct 22, 2009

          [READ COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT OF STATEMENTS BY COMMITTEE CHAIRS & WITNESSES] Senator Kerry’s Opening Statement         “Today we will discuss the future of our NATO alliance…..”

Senator Lugar’s Opening Statement         “…When discussing NATO, I start with the premise it is still a work in progress…”





    Panel 1:
+The Honorable Madeleine K. Albright, former Secretary of State“…NATO is above all an alliance of democracies…”.    





    Panel 2:



General John Craddock, U.S. Army (Ret.)Former Supreme Allied Commander-Europe, U.S.Army. “…Development of the Strategic Concept must include timely and relevant input by military authorities…”
+The Honorable Kurt Volker, Former Permanent Representative to NATO & Managing Director Center on Transatlantic Relations, Johns Hopkins Univ, Washington, DC.
“…we need a renewed potlitical compact on security between Europe and North America…”   
+Dr. Charles A. Kupchan
   Professor of International Affairs
   Georgetown University
   Adjunct Senior Fellow
   Council on Foreign Relations
   Washington, DC.”…NATO no longer enjoys the unity and solidarity that it did during the Cold War…” 





Listen to my Peter Galbraith Afghanistan Elections Interview

James Joyner | October 20, 2009
Sarwar Kashmeri, a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s International Security Program, has inaugurated the New Atlanticist Podcast Series with an interview with Ambassador Peter Galbraith on the Afghanistan election crisis. Galbraith believes Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been permanently tainted by the fraud in the initial contest and argues that the issue of Karzai’s legitimacy must have an impact on U.S. and allied decision-making going forward in Afghanistan.

NATO’s future—generational perspectives

At a recent lunch with three CEOs, I asked them to tell what they thought about NATO. None of them could understand why NATO was still around. Only one of them knew NATO was deployed in Afghanistan. The CEOs ranged in age from the mid-thirties to the mid-fifties and were as well informed about current events as anyone in America. I’ve been asking my NATO question ad naseum at every opportunity I get. The results are very revealing of the gap between the “experts” and DC professionals on the one hand and the rest of the populace on the other.  I also believe there is a clear generational divide on NATO’s future. Witness these two opinions. One by Senator Lugar, a hugely respected voice in the foreign policy establishment, and the other by Anne Applebaum, Washington Post’s provocative columnist.

Sen. Lugar (from a speech at the Atlantic Council, Washington DC, September 28, 2009):

“The provision of security assurance within Europe has been a central challenge to American foreign policy since 1917. Our continued commitment to NATO does not come without costs, but remains the most promising vehicle for projecting stability throughout Europe and its political fault lines with Asia and the Middle East.  . .”         [Read Full Transcript]    Note: Emphasis in bold are in the original transcript.

Ms. Anne Applebaum: The Slowly vanishing NATO (Op-Ed , Washington Post, October 20, 2009)

“…NATO, though fighting its first war since its foundation, inspires nobody. The members of NATO feel no allegiance to the alliance, or to one another. On its home continent, NATO does precious little military contingency planning, preferring to hold summits…None of this might matter much in Afghanistan, since the outcome of current deliberations may well be some version of the status quo. But the next time NATO is needed, I doubt whether it will be there at all…]   [Read Full Column]