Albright plan for NATO 'only fit for dustbin'

18 May 2010

Albright plan for NATO 'only fit for dustbin'

In the view of SP foreign affairs spokesman Harry van Bommel, 'NATO 2020', the new proposal for the reorganisation of the alliance brought forward by a commission under Madeleine Albright, is fit only to be thrown away with the garbage. The former US Secretary of State presented the proposal for a 'new strategic concept' yesterday in Brussels. While Van Bommel says that he is pleased that NATO's function has been discussed, but notes that the proposal endorses NATO's growing practices of the last ten years. "The war in Afghanistan has been a major embarrassment, but this is not admitted publicly," says Van Bommel. "In addition, no breakthrough is foreseen in the direction of any strengthening of the international rule of law in the form of the UN, while the nuclear strategy remains unchanged."

Harry van BommelThe Albright Commission regards the war in Afghanistan as an example of the way in which cooperation should be conducted between NATO countries and other military partners, such as Australia, South Korea and New Zealand. “As for the problems of the war itself, nothing is said, " says Van Bommel. "The proposal offers no break with the past nor any vision of international cooperation between now and 2020. It is in that sense a missed chance to adapt NATO in a real way to a changed world. As long as the war in Afghanistan continues and NATO remains there fighting it, no workable plan for NATO from now to 2020 can be established."

In ‘NATO 2020’, the American rocket shield idea is embraced without it being made clear how this costly plan is to be financed. There is also no vision of the transformation of the alliance into an organisation directed towards the strengthening and improvement of the UN. Experts who sat on the Albright Commission appear to be aware of NATO's precarious financial situation, but propose no plan for savings to deal with this. In its election manifesto, the SP argues for cuts in defence spending of at least €2 billion.

In the coming months the debate will be pursued in an attempt to develop a concept that has broad support. "For the SP what's clear is that there must be a discussion in the Netherlands in the months to come. This should involve a future for NATO based on ending the war in Afghanistan, on disarmament in Europe, and on cuts in defence spending.

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