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Chicago summit exposes NATO's dilemma

[ 2012-05-23 11:17] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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The leaders of NATO's 28 member nations wrapped up their two-day summit on Monday with a set of measures and steps that brought to light the military bloc's deepening dilemma.

The so-called Smart Defense approach adopted by the alliance and the network of partnerships it is seeking to build around the world, coupled with a detailed exit from Afghanistan, all point to a declining and less capable NATO.

Capability building, partnership and Afghanistan dominated the Chicago summit, the biggest of its kind in history.

The Smart Defense notion was first broached by NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in February 2011 in response to the financial constraints facing the transatlantic community and the yawning gap in defense capabilities between Washington and its European allies as a result of reduced European spending on defense for years.

The approach calls for pooling resources and capabilities of the member states to maintain and develop capabilities needed to confront the complex challenges of the 21st century, as stated in the strategic concept adopted in Lisbon in November 2010, when NATO leaders last met.

The Chicago summit saw a number of multinational projects unveiled, including a declared interim ballistic missile defense capability as an initial step to establish NATO's missile defense system, the deployment of a highly sophisticated Alliance Ground Surveillance system and the extension of the air policing mission in the Baltic states.

In addition, the summit sought to have on board more partner nations to make up for the capability deficiency resulting from member nations' refusal to engage in operations, as was the case in Libya.

US President Barack Obama on Monday afternoon hailed the role of partners as critical to NATO's operations after representatives of 13 partners engaged in the Afghan mission joined NATO leaders in Chicago.

At a news conference, the president even talked about the role partners could play in helping thwart terrorist threats in Yemen, Somalia and Mali, pointing to their "more effective intelligence operations, more diplomatic contacts."

Building on a transition plan agreed on at their Lisbon summit, NATO leaders finalized details in Chicago of the exit strategy from Afghanistan, foreseeing a change to a support role from the current combat mission by mid-2013 for NATO forces and the withdrawal of most NATO combat forces by the end of 2014, when Afghan forces are expected to take over the security lead across the country.

Though the Afghan war has entered its 11th year, the Taliban-led insurgency still has the ability to launch coordinated attacks in the most heavily fortified part of Kabul, Afghanistan's capital, and NATO's rushed exit will not contribute to a stable and peaceful Afghanistan.

However, the military alliance can no longer afford a prolonged war in Afghanistan, both financially and politically, if not morally.

At the Lisbon summit, NATO leaders pledged to adapt what they called the world's most successful political-military alliance to confront the 21st-century security challenges.

Analysts say Washington hopes NATO will continue to evolve to protect its members from new threats like ballistic missiles and cyber attacks, by preserving and developing essential defense capabilities.

The United States values the military bloc's role as the world's only institution capable of rapid and effective multilateral military action.


1. Where did NATO just have a meeting?

2. What measures were adopted?

3. What is Smart Defense?


1. Chicago.

2. Smart Defense approach and an initial step to establish NATO's missile defense system.

3. It calls for pooling resources and capabilities of member states to maintain and develop capabilities needed to confront the complex challenges of the 21st century.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Chicago summit exposes NATO's dilemma

About the broadcaster:

Chicago summit exposes NATO's dilemma

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.