Living securely in a global village

The threats to world stability now transcend national border protection

The threats to world stability now transcend national border protection. The only way to ensure success is to gradually adapt to new aspects of globalization and to continue to be vigilant. 

In today’s increasingly interconnected world, security challenges have become more transnational and no longer contained within national boundaries. This is mainly due to two major historical developments that have occurred during the last two decades. The first, represented by a new and broader concept of security, emerged in the post-Cold War security environment, encompassing new components other than the pure military ones. The second, represented by globalization, is characterized not only by in- creased interdependence of the world economy but also by a real revolution in the way people come together, through global ways of doing business and trade, new ways of working on a global scale and new ways of communicating instantly across the world.

Thomas Friedman wrote eloquently of the positive global impact of “world flatteners” with knowledge and resources connecting globally, and Alfred Thayer Mahan of the strategic significance of the “global commons”: sea, air, space, and cyberspace. But a more interdependent world can also be a more fragile one. One billion people, including about 340 million of the world’s extreme poor, are estimated to live in frag- ile states. The interconnection of fragile states and globalization also points out the link between economics, governance and security. Increasingly post- Cold War conflicts are within states, with fragile states accounting for most of them. 

The tensions deriving from these security challenges have led to crises that the members of our transatlantic community have been forced to address far from our borders – tackling the crisis before the crisis comes to our doorstep. With the end of the Cold War, we have seen Europe, the United States and Canada, come together, through NATO, to organize the inter- national management of the crises of Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, to protect civilians. A new and broader concept of security has emerged, one no longer characterized by the defense of the borders of our countries from clear and predictable security threats but rather, one characterized by multifaceted and multidimensional security challenges and threats that are more difficult to predict. This requires a broad- er approach to security, which recognizes the impor- tance of political, economic, social and environmental factors, in addition to the indispensable defense dimension. The consequence is therefore that interna- tional security and stability depend on political, economic, social, and environmental elements, alongside military aspects.

The scourge of international terrorism; the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means, accompanied by the erosion of the nuclear non-proliferation regime; failing and failed states; the protection of sea lanes of communication and energy supply routes; cyber security and environmental challenges; affect us all. Their global character is evident. But while we have made good progress in intensifying our efforts to fight terrorism and to promote in- ternational cooperation on environmental issues, I have the feeling that much more needs to be done when we look at new security challenges, such as energy security and cyber security. 

The increasing globalization of the oil market has accelerated the pace of exploration and production, thereby highlighting the need for energy security. Substantial new oil reserves are being exploited worldwide but much of the new production will continue to be in the Middle East. The region’s overall contribution to world energy supply is actually set to grow during the next 20 years. 

Currently, the Middle East accounts for roughly 70% of proven oil reserves. This percentage is actually expected to increase with new exploration. The overall contribution of Middle Eastern supply to world trade will grow with increases in production capacity. The Middle East region accounts for about 30% of the 82.1 million barrels a day of oil produced across the globe. The most important oil transit channel in the world, with about 15.5 million barrels per day, or about a third of all seaborne oil, originates from the Gulf region. The region also exports about 18% of the world’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) production, with Qatar be- ing the world leader in LNG exports. Current estimates are that by the end of 2012 Qatar will produce 77 million tons of LNG annually. About three quarters of the oil produced in this region is sent to Japan, India, South Korea and China. The rest goes to Europe and North America creating a common interest of the suppliers and of the consumers in securing the shipping lanes. Russia and the Middle East together, will continue to ac- count for roughly three quarters of world gas reserves. Caspian oil and continued development of resources elsewhere, including Africa and Latin America, will di- versify the energy picture but will not reduce the over- all importance of the Gulf over the next two decades.

New trends after the next 20 years could, according to many analysts, bring a major rise of energy demand in China and India that could be met through imports from the Gulf region and less from Russia and the Caspian region. Access to oil in adequate amounts and at reasonable prices will remain the key variable in the energy security equation over the next decades but it will be accompanied by increasing attention to the supply and transport of natural gas. For some consuming states, principally in Western Europe and Asia, gas already figures very prominently in their energy security considerations. 

Transportation costs are a critical factor in gas trade and although natural gas can be shipped in specialized vessels as LNG, the cost is high and the safety concerns at LNG terminals are therefore very important. About half of the world’s oil is shipped by sea and so is the majority of LNG. Even a brief blockage of oil and gas sup- plies could cause price spikes that would threaten global economic growth. The proliferation of trans- port routes for oil and gas in and around the Middle East, from the Maghreb to the Caspian, will be an im- portant new factor in the strategic environment. To an increasing extent, energy security in the region will be about the security of transport and transit states as well as the stability and policies of producers. Therefore ensuring the free flow and security of critical energy supplies against attack and disruption must be one of the new security priorities of the transatlantic community. 

There is yet another transnational and increasingly global new security challenge that requires attention, because it has a direct impact on our daily safety and security. Since Kosovo in 1999, when during the NATO operation the Organization’s website came under cyber attack, and then with the attacks against Estonia in 2007, cyber security has revealed the importance of se- curing the digital infrastructure that our economies and our military security depend on. The communications and information technology revolution has made the world, as Marshall McLuhan had predicted, a global village thanks to our daily interaction in cyberspace through the use of laptops, tablets and smartphones.

From our cellular communications to hospitals, from schools to airports, from classified military and security infrastructures, to the World Wide Websecurity in cyberspace is crucial to our public safety and to our national security alike. There is therefore a grow- ing need to prepare our societies for cyber emergencies and for our states to develop strategies for successfully managing cyber crises that will necessitate both technical and political responses. We will need to develop our ability to absorb new concepts in our strategic thinking, such as that of “cyber resilience,” which will involve making our digital infrastructure more resistant to penetration and disruption. And we will need to develop new capabilities to de- fend against sophisticated cyber threats and to deal quickly with cyber emergencies, developing research capabilities to stay ahead of evolving cyber threats.

But as members of a transatlantic security Alliance, we will also need to define minimum requirements for cyber defense of national networks critical to the performance of NATO’s core security tasks of collective defense and crisis management. Cyber defense could even give a totally differ- ent meaning to articles 4 and 5 of the Washington Treaty, which commit members to support- ing other members in the event of attack 

Managing the diversity of security challenges and threatsfacing the transatlantic community requires a broad approach to security. This is reflected in three mutually reinforcing elements of NATO security: policy, dialogue, cooperation, and the maintenance of an effective collective defense capability. Ensuring that our collective defense capability remains effective and efficient at a time of financially constrained budgets must be achieved by increasing “multi-nationality” whenever possible, to facilitate the acquisition of high- end capabilities, avoiding national duplications and creating economies of scale – thereby maximizing practical ways to provide security while minimizing costs to all member countries of NATO. 

In the new political and strategic international environment, the success of a policy aimed at preserving peace and preventing war depends even more than in the past on effective preventive diplomacy and on the successful management of crises affecting our security. No country can address these new, more complex and global security challenges and threats on its own. Their successful management requires a multilateral and cooperative approach to security. 

This is indeed the approach that the transatlantic community has developed since the end of the Cold War, when we decided to undertake the transformation of NATO. We began at the Rome Summit in November 1991 when the heads of state and government of the Alliance decided to revise and make public for the first time NATO’s new Strategic Concept.

Since then, the Strategic Concept of the Alliance has been revised twice again, in Washington in April 1999 and in Lisbon in November 2010. These three Strategic documents give us a detailed view of the major transformation NATO has undergone since the end of the Cold War, in order to adapt in a very flexible way to the fast changing security environment. I believe that this has been a most successful transformation both on a political, diplomatic and military level. 

NATO embodies the transatlantic link by which the securi- ty of the US and Canada is permanently tied to the security of Europe. As Hillary Clinton recently said: “Europe is and re- mains America’s partner of first resort.”At the Lisbon Summit in November 2010, together with the core tasks of collective defense and crisis management, NATO’s heads of state and government have stressed the importance of “co- operative security.”NATO’s cooperative approach to security has indeed enabled us to forge political consultations and practical cooperation with partner coun- tries of the most diverse backgrounds and security traditions. NATO is not and does not aspire to be, “the global cop.” It is not NATO that has become a global organization, but rather security challenges which have become global in character. Consequently, in order to be an effective security provider for its members, NATO must be able to deal with the security challenges that affect the security of its members, wherever they come from. 

But the key in being an effective security provider for NATO depends more and more on its ability to work together with other security partners. From the seven Mediterranean Dialogue countries and the Gulf countries in the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, to more global partners such as Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, NATO’s security partner- ships have not only allowed to build a better mutual understanding but also to contribute to the successful management of security crises: 37 NATO and partner countries helped the people of Bosnia build better lives, 30 NATO and partner countries are doing the same in Kosovo, 50 NATO and partner countries are currently helping Afghanistan to assume full responsibility of its own security by 2014, without help from outside. All these operations have been and are con- ducted on the ground, under UN mandate.

In Libya, most recently, we have seen NATO countries help protect the Libyan people together with five partner nations, four of which Arab partner countries members of the Mediterranean Dialogue and of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, saving countless lives. And as promised in the Strategic Concept these operational partners were given, during these NATO-led op- erations, a structural role in shaping strategy and decisions of the operations in which they participated. 

NATO has also been able to develop a comprehensive approach during the management of its operations, involving other international actors, such as the United Nations, the European Union and the OSCE and working in a complementary fashion with all of them, avoiding duplications. It has also reached out to new ones that have become increasingly more active internationally, such as the Gulf Cooperation Council and the League of Arab States, as we have seen during the Libyan crisis. 

I am convinced therefore that our transatlantic community will be able to deal more effectively with today’s global security challenges, if it is able to develop political consultations and practical cooperation with a wide network of partnership countries and international organizations around the world. 

Indeed, this must be our vision for the future. No country can successfully address the global security challenges of today’s complex world alone. By building a new culture of cooperation in the security sphere on a multilateral level, NATO and partner countries will be able to work together more effectively in order to promote better conditions of international security, stability and peace. 

Franco Frattini

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