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US expert calls for reshaping transatlantic security relations

By Nawab Khan BRUSSELS, June 16 (KUNA) -- A respected American security expert and commentator is warning that NATO will fade into irrelevance if transatlantic security relations are not redesigned to let Europe handle its own security needs.
"The central message of my book is that relations between the US and Europe is as important as it has been in this changing world. NATO, the transatlantic alliance, which used to act as a glue is now acting as a separator and damaging that relationship. It needs to be recalibrated, so it doesn't do more damage," Sarwar Kashmeri told the Kuwait News Agency, KUNA, in an interview.
Kashmeri is a senior fellow in the international security programme with the Washington-based Atlantic Council, and a fellow with the New York based Foreign Policy Association. He was in Brussels Wednesday to launch his new book "NATO 2.0: Reboot or Delete" at an event organised by the Brussels-based think tank "International Security Information Service (ISIS)". Kashmeri who opriginally hails from Mumbai, India , is also a senior advisor at ISIS.
"NATO is what stood between freedom and the Soviet Union in Europe. You can't take that away. We ended the cold war without firing a shot because of the deterrent effect of NATO. But we all grow up and things change and the world has changed and Europe has changed," he said "If NATO continues as it is going now in my opinion it has a very short shelf life. it will either become a think tank or a talking group, " he predicted.
In his 243-page book, the US security expert argues that 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. The book says that 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.
He said Europe shies away from taking security responsibilities is due to lack of will and that Europe does not have the aspiration to police the world as America does.
The book is based on original research and conversations with over 50 North American European military and security experts.
Speaking to KUNA, Kashmeri said NATO will find it "very difficult to get involved in the Middle East because NATO is largely seen as an extension of US foreign policy." "Therefore I think it would not be welcomed in a large part of the Middle East. Turkey which is a very important Alliance member is one reason that stops NATO from being viewed as a western, Christian Alliance and gives it some legitimacy in Afghanistan," he said.
"NATO ought to be in the background and brought forward only if the governments of the Middle East, the United States and the European Union wish jointly to bring it in," he said. Kashmeri has also authored another book titled "America and Europe after 9/11 and Iraq: the Great Divide." On Afghanistan, he told KUNA, that that it is the US and not NATO which is running the war in Afghanistan.
Kashmeri noted that NATO countries will begin withdrawing their forces from Afghanistan from July but the American speed of withdrawal will only be announced next month.
"There is a rigorous debate going on in the US as to how quick should be the withdrawal. My own feeling is I don't see a complete withdrawal . I see a desire on the part of the US to leave behind a small force to make sure that there is no upheaval, "he said. On Libya, Kashmeri told KUNA that ultimately Gaddafi cannot prevail against the total strength of the western countries .
"Sooner or later Mr. Gaddafi will fall, " he said hoping that after Gaddafi's fall it will be the Europeans who will take the lead because they are much more experienced in nation building.
Kashmeri said he named his new book "NATO 2.0: Reboot or Delete " in software terms as it is directed particularly to the younger generation , and he concluded that he believes NATO will be rebooted and not deleted. (end) nk.bz.
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