13 December 2019

The Final Declaration of NATO 2019 Summit - Text analysis

Sergiu Medar

The Final Declaration of London’s NATO summit, held at its 70th anniversary, revealed NATO’s union message. The document calls on the member states to create a work group and come with solutions to provide member states’ security in a changing world.

Image source: Mediafax

The NATO 70th anniversary Summit took place in London, between December 3rd and 4th. The North Atlantic Alliance, founded on April 4th 1949, has permanently changed, within Washington Treaty’s provisions, its missions’ development space and methods, to face global changes. From a military alliance, as initially planned, NATO has now became a security alliance, defending member states not only against military aggressions, but protecting their “our freedom, and the values we share, including democracy, individual liberty, human rights, and the rule of law. “NATO remains the foundation for our collective defence and the essential forum for security consultations and decisions among Allies”.

Just like any other final declaration of Alliance’s summits, from 1949 until today, it highlighted the concept foreseen in article 5, “one for all and all for one”, which, in fact, is organization’s foundation. Sometimes, statements of member states representatives or surveys have claimed that in some countries less than 50% of the population agrees with sending troop in another NATO country that would hypothetically be attacked. It is also noteworthy that according to art. 5, the participation is not only related to troops, but also other methods, like information, which is the most important.

After Trump’s Administration insisted for European states and Canada to increase their defence costs, declaration’s second paragraph mentions that for the last 5 years, non-US’s states contribution increased. They have invested around $130 billion in defence. According to “Defence Investment Pledge”, all member states must continue investing to face new aggressive technologies, which can turn into new threats covering the entire security spectrum. The NATO declaration highlights that all member states must invest to reach the 2% of GDP for defence goal.

After summarizing the security threats on Alliance’s member states, the London Declaration mentions Russia, whose “aggressive actions constitute a threat to Euro-Atlantic security”. In the same paragraph, are being mentioned threats such as: terrorism, state and non-state actors, challenging the global order, as well as cyber and hybrid threats.

The tone used in the London declaration against Russia is calmer than in Brussels 2018’s declaration. Back then, Russia’s threat was mentioned on 7 paragraphs, meanwhile the European security aggressor got only 9 words, in one paragraph, in the recent Declaration. Could that be an answer to the West-European dilemma, “European security with or against Russia”? We shall not forget that although it imposed sanctions against Russia, Trump, who praised Putin during the US electoral campaign, did not criticize him after taking power.

Another argument for NATO’s conciliating stance against Russia is that in the recent declaration it is mentioned that the North Atlantic Alliance is “open for dialogue, and to a constructive relationship with Russia when Russia’s actions make that possible”. In fact, in this exact same time, Putin stated that he is, at any moment, available to restart the dialogue with the North Atlantic Alliance.

The London Declaration underlines that NATO will develop and adapt its deterrence and defence capacity with an adequate nuclear, conventional and defence missiles capabilities mix. As long as there are nuclear weapons out there, NATO stays a nuclear alliance.

The North Atlantic Alliance will do anything possible to increase everyone’s security, not just member states’ ones. Therefore, NATO has “strengthened partnerships in our neighborhood and beyond, deepening political dialogue, support, and engagement with partner countries and international organisations”.

NATO will stay committed in keeping Alliance’s door open for new democratic states. It is a promise NATO does in every final declaration and has always been respected.

Through London’s final declaration, the North Atlantic Alliance expresses its determination in providing member states’ security in all strategic interest fields, by “increasing the resilience of our societies, as well as of our critical infrastructure and our energy security”.

One of Alliances goals is ensuring “the security of our communications, including 5G, recognizing the need to rely on secure and resilient systems”. Space was, for the first time, named “an operational domain for NATO”. The North-Atlantic Alliance is “increasing its tools to respond to cyber-attacks, and strengthening its ability to prepare for, deter, and defend against hybrid tactics that seek to undermine our security and societies”.

The London declaration admits that China’s increasing influence and its policies are both opportunities and challenges the NATO states must face together, as an Alliance. In 2018’s summit final declaration China was not mentioned at all. Mentioning it shows that is became an increasing threat against NATO states.

The official document presented to member states’ leader asks them to a work group to bring political solutions to face the sometimes unexpected evolution of global security.

The London Declaration is a unity and solidarity message for North-Atlantic Alliance member states.

Comparing to Brussels Summit final declaration, composed of 79 paragraphs, the recent London declaration has only 9. This should not make us believe that the world became safer, but just that this Summit was an anniversary summit, celebrating 70 years since NATO’s foundation.

Before the summit, France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, while trying to convince, in an interview, EU states that his country should be the European security leader, made the unfortunate statement that “NATO is becoming brain dead”. NATO member states would better interpret it as a necessity to change the Alliance so that to be able to face the threats of a changing world. In fact, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s General Secretary, underlined “NATO is changing as the world is changing”.

Translated by Andreea Soare