Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Summit Background

The Christian Science Monitor has a good piece on the background to the Summit here.

A key point in the article concerns a failure of bush adminsitration diplomacy:

Bush will hand off to his successor some unfinished business that will dog NATO, experts say: redefining the alliance's strategic purpose to fit the post-9/11 21st century, and developing a common approach toward Russia.

This is a vital point, and with the Alliance split between those who want to retain territorial defence in the Euro-Atlantic area as its defining feature, and those who want NATO to become a 'global security provider, these arguments will dog the next US President into the 2009 Summit and beyond.

Many analysts and observers, and some NATO nations, agree with the NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer that the time has come for NATO to adopt a new Strategic Concept - its guiding policy document - to replace the one agreed in 1999. However, such a fundamental debate will expose the differences in the Alliance. It will require a firm, sure and subtle diplomatic touch to overcome those differences and reunite the Alliance. In his first term President Bush simply wasn't interested in NATO, preferring to work with so-called 'coalitions of the willing'.

In his second term, the diplomacy necessary to lead NATO forward has been beyond him.

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