NEW: CTSS publishes first Transatlantic Current - "NATO and the Arab Spring" by Isabelle Francois
The public debate that surrounded the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)–led operation in Libya gave an impression of an Alliance in trouble. There is, however, a good story to tell. The United States, as the host of the May 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago, may wish to present the case for a new type of operation and call for a strategy review on Libya in order to develop a balanced approach to Allies’ possible contributions to stability in North Africa and the Gulf region.
For all the challenges facing a transforming Alliance, Operation Unified Protector is not a bad story to tell. It could actually be the tell tale sign of a winning transatlantic partnership for the Allies’ publics—if the United States chooses to make the operation a deliverable at the Chicago Summit. One of the key themes of the summit will be “smart defense”—that is, identifying capability areas where Allies need to keep investing and working multinationally to mitigate the decline in defense spending and to address some of the concerns raised by Secretary Gates last June. The Libya operation is not irrelevant to that debate as it outlined where NATO should focus in addition to its frontline capabilities. Although the operation has exposed military weaknesses on the part of Europe (nothing that was not already known), it has shown that Europeans can project fighting power in complex operations and find the political will to take the lead.
Dr. Francois joined CTSS in May, 2011. She was with NATO for 13 years working in Political Affairs and Security Policy, and supported work of the Secretary General Special Representative for Central Asia and the Caucasus. She was the NATO representative in Moscow as Director of the NATO Information Group and prior to that, worked within the NATO Defense Planning and Operations division in Brussels.
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