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
"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
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
"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)
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