Why NATO Needs to Pursue an Asia-Pacific Strategy

NATO seems to feel a bit slighted by the U.S.-Asia alliance in the security defense strategy for the Pacific Coast. Experts believe NATO should recognize the positives of the alliance and be a team player in order to be effective in security efforts.  

Article written by guest writer Rin Mitchell

What’s the Latest Development? 

Reportedly, NATO is concerned that America will grow distant from Europe in its approach to build a stronger alliance with Asian countries. It is reported that technology and globalization have influenced a rapid change in the security environment. The US-Japan alliance is the defensive plan in the wake of a terrorist attack. NATO wants a direct relationship to Japan in its security efforts, but experts believe they are not prepared on a global level security-wise. Though, NATO should not be worried because NATO is considered a “Pacific actor” due to its piece of real estate on the west coast of North America. The U.S.-Asia partnership can be its opportunity to begin cultivating direct relationships with Asia.

According to the article, NATO does not have direct intelligence into the Asian channel. Since NATO works through third parties, it is impossible to fully understand the security challenges facing Asia. This alliance is the key to the fight against terrorism for the trans-Atlantic community. This is not to say that NATO’s relationship with Asian countries is not valuable. Tokyo views NATO as a "natural complement to its relationship with the U.S." because it is “democratic, consultative, supportive of the UN, and perceived as a 'force for good' in the world”—so Asia sees the use for everyone involved. Yet, NATO’s alliance with Japan begins with the U.S.-Japan alliance. Regardless of how long of a history Japan and NATO have working together; Japan’s relationship with the U.S. is “paramount.” Reportedly, the best way for a direct alliance between Japan and NATO to work is through “bilateral meetings with the United States ambassador to NATOleading the effort informally." Japan is not going to enter into a security relationship and risk putting their relationship with the U.S. in jeopardy. Apparently, it will be in the best interest for NATO to set up shop in Asia; preferably Tokyo, and be willing to work with both sides. Although it is believed to cause conflicts with other areas in Europe and other nearby areas NATO is linked to, it is even riskier if they are not in Asia. 

What’s the Big Idea? 

“To navigate the challenges of a changing security environment effectively, NATO must be regional in character, global in stature and Pacific in direction.” NATO could end up in the dark and out of the loop, if they decide not to take advantage of the alliance America and Asia have created. NATO's importance in the pan-Pacific region will be recognized, and a long-term relationship has the potential to flourish. Right now, it is considered wise for NATO to go with and not against the flow. 

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