During the Cold War, the rigidity of the bipolar system was ensured by the existence of two stable coalitions of a universal nature, which predetermined the relative stability of the strategic installations of the block and its geopolitical code. However, since the beginning of the 90 of the last century, the dynamics of transformation of the alliance received a series of additional impulses, the most significant of which were associated with the expansion of the block and the creation of a network of partnerships, NATO aggression against Yugoslavia, the Iraq war 2003 of the year, and the participation of the alliance in the peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan .
In the framework of this article, I would like to dwell on the processes that cause the growing tendency of the alliance to move from a stable and universal structure, as it was for many decades of its existence, to an organization with a systemically increasing level of fragmentation both inside the unit and in the external sphere of its activity.
DEFRAGMENTATION OF ALLIANCE
Today, in the context of globalization, a previously monolithic alliance is turning into a field for the formation of flexible, situational ad hoc coalitions that are formed for a specific task and each time are temporary, situational. Coalitions are formed both in the course of political discussions in the governing bodies of the bloc, and in the framework of ongoing operations “in the field”. In contrast to the times of the Cold War, each country - a member of the coalition gets additional flexibility in choosing like-minded people in the formation of alternative solutions.
The regulatory framework for creating situational coalitions is only outlined in general in the doctrinal documents of the alliance, and many essential decisions are developed in the process of consultation.
The first signs of NATO's internal fragmentation appeared already at the end of the 90s of the last century. For example, the bombing of Yugoslavia was formally carried out in accordance with a consensus decision adopted by all NATO countries. However, the consensus concerned only the political decision of the alliance on the operation. Questions of the use of military force (the choice of targets and the sequence of their defeat, the forces and means used, the expediency and possible characteristics of a land operation, etc.) were the subject of fierce disputes both during the preparation and during the air offensive operation. In fact, even then, a situational coalition was operating in Yugoslavia. Under the most powerful pressure of the initiative group of countries led by the United States, some NATO member states were forced to withdraw political objections to the operation, while stipulating their non-participation in the bombings. This was, for example, the position of Greece. Along with this, even then, there were those who wished to direct their combat aircraft to the Balkans among the most zealous partner countries from among the countries participating in the former Warsaw Pact (ATS) Organization. In Brussels, they politely refused to assist: they say that serious work is still needed to ensure interoperability.
A powerful impetus to the revision of outdated concepts was given by the war in Iraq in 2003, when many countries of the alliance refused unconditional support to the coalition willing to participate in the adventure. However, the formula of the situational coalition received quite prominent outlines precisely at that time, and today it suits many allies. As a result, NATO is developing a fundamentally new mechanism for coordinating the positions of interested member states of the bloc, as well as many partners and their military-political coordination based on the strategy adopted by the participants and joint efforts in a specific initiative (military, military-technical, scientific project).
The internal fragmentation of the alliance is crucially initiated by the political vectors of NATO development that have emerged today. An analysis of US strategies, dangers, risks, challenges and threats faced by the allies, and the positions of individual member states of the bloc makes it possible to identify at least three political vectors that influence the alliance’s strategy in the medium term and fuel the tendency to create situational coalitions. These are vectors of US political interests, which are most often unconditionally supported by the United Kingdom (Anglo-Saxon group of countries), continental European states (Roman-German group of countries), and also countries of Eastern Europe and the Baltic States.
Anglo-Saxon vector of development. The direction and content of the leading vector of the strategy of the alliance is determined by the interests of the United States. The essence of these interests is to improve the global potential of NATO as a conductor of the interests of the West, and above all of Washington, in the Euro-Atlantic region, in the Middle East, in North Africa, in the Caucasus, in Central Asia and in the Asia-Pacific region, in the Arctic .
However, NATO’s readiness and ability to take on the task of turning the alliance into a center of network security cooperation is being questioned by some influential allies.
So far, there is no consensus about the ability of the alliance as a model for ensuring collective security to lead the fight against global threats. The operation in Afghanistan has shown deep differences in the approaches of the coalition member states to the use of force and the participation of national contingents in combat with the enemy. The “erosion” of the foundations of the financial discipline of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is intensifying. Given the budget deficit and the growth of government debt, the United States is not ready to continue to bear the main financial burden in NATO. The American Congress and the political establishment as a whole demonstrate less and less patience when it comes to spending money for the benefit of nations that are obviously not ready to expend their own resources or to make the necessary changes in order to be serious and reliable partners in solving common problems.
In search of a way out of this situation, NATO is betting on deepening partnerships, which are one of the central elements of the alliance’s modern strategy and allow using the potential of non-NATO countries in the interests of the West. It's about human resources, about weapons and about military equipment, about infrastructure, about minerals, about the territory of partner countries.
European (Roman-German) vector of development of the alliance. The position of continually oriented countries of Western Europe, primarily France, Germany, Italy and some others, is having an increasing influence on the internal fragmentation of the alliance. This group of states see the ultimate goal of transforming NATO into a transformation from the current, mainly military, organization into some kind of universal political-military tool to counter threats of a new type (climate change, ecology, drug smuggling, international terrorism, cyber threats and energy security). Many Western Europeans want the development of the bloc not to conflict with the interests of Russia.
Vector of Eastern European and Baltic countries. The states of this group speak of NATO as protection against Russia and insist on extended guarantees of their own security, linking them with the buildup of the military presence of the bloc in the national territories.
Thus, NATO’s strategy is determined by the resultant of the three development vectors for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In this context, the practical steps of the Allies in the implementation of strategic installations will constantly encounter the remaining fundamental differences in the perception of the goals and objectives of the alliance across the ocean and in the Old World.
With all the diversity of the views of NATO member states on the role and place of the alliance in the world, there is no doubt that the allies aspire to secure his place among the leaders of globalization as a military-political alliance, designed to provide power support to the processes of creating and developing a new global world order in the interests of the West.
GLOBALIZATION IN MILITARY AFFAIRS
Globalization as a whole marks a period of qualitative transformations, gradually changing the essence and meaning of the political structure of international relations, causing the appearance of elements of a new world pattern. On the development of NATO, such processes have two effects. On the one hand, interdependence between the member states of the alliance is increasing, partnerships are deepening, relations with other international organizations are being institutionalized, and the global dimension of the bloc is growing.
On the other hand, the tendencies towards regionalization of the interests of the alliance, which are grouped around several strategically important regions, are intensifying. The formation of situational coalitions for action in such areas allows the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to exert a “pinpoint” purposeful influence on the dynamics and content of the processes in them, using for this purpose a wide arsenal of means and methods of hard and soft power. The dispersion of the bloc’s efforts in the external sphere, which accompanies this tendency, is crucially connected with the avalanche-like increase of the strategic alliance coverage of the most important regions of the globe.
At the beginning of the 90 of the last century, the leaders of the alliance quite actively exploited the theme of the coming transformation of the bloc at that time in Western liberal circles: for example, from the military-political into a political-military and almost political organization. In fact, the transformation has been reduced to the expansion of the alliance to the east and the subsequent globalization of the functions of the organization of the North Atlantic Treaty. As a result, NATO has evolved from a Euro-Atlantic to a global organization by acquiring new military-political functions in the Middle and Near East, in Central and Southeast Asia, in the Caucasus and in the Arctic.
Thus, the expansion geography of NATO assumes a marked focal character with coverage of strategic areas of the planet. The similar nature of the development of the alliance creates conditions for the formation of several situational coalitions, the relevance of which is due to the characteristics of the situation and the interests of individual countries of the alliance in a particular area of the world.
As a result of internal and external fragmentation, the alliance ceases to be a classic military alliance. It should be noted that the classic “sharpness” of NATO’s military policy is quite clearly preserved only in one direction - the east. Here we can not talk about the situational coalition. NATO, in full compliance with established stereotypes, continues to view its eastern neighbor - the Russian Federation as a potential threat and in accordance with this policy builds an expansion policy, concentrates on collective defense tasks and selects appropriate military exercises, deploys strategic missile defense facilities, does not make mutually acceptable solutions on adaptation of the CFE Treaty. Today there are no grounds for illusions related to a possible revision of the strategy of the alliance in the "eastern" direction.
As for the other zones of the strategic interests of the alliance, many members of the bloc are very cool about appeals to build up their contribution to the solution of military tasks, which under US pressure are imposed on the alliance, for example, in Asian regions or in the Middle East. The presence of contradictions between the allies in matters of military-force contribution to solving joint tasks is quite vividly demonstrated by recurring disputes within the framework of the operation of the International Security Assistance Force, for example, with differences in national legislation on the use of military contingents in areas with increased danger to the lives of military personnel. Impact of the financial and economic crisis.
VIEW FROM RUSSIA
In modern conditions, the interests of ensuring the national security of Russia require close attention to several situational coalitions operating on the NATO platform.
A situational coalition of NATO member states is formed that is interested in cooperation in the Arctic, which may include the USA, Canada, Great Britain, some other countries of the alliance’s northern flank and partners. Inconsistency of interests and claims among coalition members creates the basis for serious internal contradictions. It is important to emphasize that the actions of such a coalition will be carried out in a region where there are risks to Russia's military security. Among them are the lack of modern experience of military activity in the northern regions, the lack of weapons and military equipment adapted for use in difficult climatic conditions, the permeability of land, sea and air borders, the lack of a rapid response force to external aggression. In this context, the actions of the Russian Federation to restore control over vast polar territories are absolutely justified.
Situational coalitions created with the participation of NATO or individual alliance states in the Middle East look different. Here, the United States sometimes allows itself to move into the background, providing an opportunity for action to the allies, whose resources, however, do not always correspond to their ambitions.
Russia has a positive experience of independent actions to resolve crisis situations in this troubled area. Along with this, in the sphere of crisis settlement there are many examples of successful cooperation with the European Union, although the potential that exists on both sides is not yet sufficiently used. Here we need to work to create a systematic basis for a joint crisis response by entering into an appropriate framework agreement providing for flexible interaction mechanisms.
NATO is stepping up its activity in the Asia-Pacific region, where the center of gravity of American military policy is shifting as part of confronting China’s growing military power. So far, the North Atlantic alliance has indicated its presence in the APR by forming partnerships with Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea. Steps are being taken to develop military cooperation with the PRC. The change in the balance of power between the Pacific powers in the struggle for leadership makes it possible to predict further expansion of NATO’s participation in the affairs of the region, in particular, through the formation of a situational coalition with the participation of a number of interested alliance and partner states.
Russian policy in the Asia-Pacific region in the conditions of such a development of the situation, apparently, should be based on balancing, creating models of interaction with the West, China and other states of the region that would most closely correspond to Russian interests in other areas, primarily providing international support for modernization. Siberia and the Far East. The current situation in the Asia-Pacific region as a whole favors Russian interests: there are no blocs or countries hostile to Russia, our country is not drawn into acute local conflicts, and political and economic cooperation is developing successfully.
The situation in Central Asia in the context of the upcoming withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan deserves special mention. It is here that objective conditions are created for the formation under the auspices of the UN and / or the OSCE of a situational coalition comprising Russia, NATO and the CSTO to counter a wide range of threats. However, the alliance does not seem inclined to take a corporate approach and seeks to leave the troubled region as soon as possible, giving others to solve the accumulated difficult problems, primarily those associated with the production and smuggling of drugs.
BASIS AND ADJUSTMENT
In general, against the background of the evolving trend towards the creation of situational coalitions, the NATO leadership is striving to preserve the alliance for an important unifying function associated with the ability to manage large-scale basic resources of the organization: territorial, financial, technological, political-organizational, diplomatic, informational.
Washington and Brussels do not expect active military participation, for example, of the Baltic countries in operations. Enough to enlist their support in formulating a political solution and agreeing to provide access to national resources. This approach is not mentioned in the Washington Treaty, which is not surprising, since during the Cold War years the obligations to ensure mutual defense were not differentiated in any way.
It can be assumed that in the process of further transformation of the alliance in the interests of successfully counteracting dangers, risks, challenges and threats, the decision-making algorithm used by NATO will be subject to revision. Moreover, not only the military itself, but also the political foundations of the activities of the bloc will inevitably be affected. Considering the analysis of the discussions that are taking place in the political and military structures of NATO, the following changes are among the changes that may be recorded in the doctrinal documents of the bloc in the foreseeable future.
1. Transition from the principle of decision-making on the basis of consensus to the principle of majority of votes established in NATO bodies and the elimination of the right to impose a veto on these decisions by the member countries of the Alliance. This is especially important for military authorities, otherwise the alliance will lose the ability to keep pace with events in the course of a dynamically developing crisis situation, as it was, for example, in the Caucasus in August 2008 of the year. The principle of consensus can be maintained only for the NATO Permanent Council.
2. The refusal of restrictions imposed by national laws of NATO member countries on participation in the operations of this organization, such as those that interfere with the conduct of the Afghan campaign;
3. Exclusion from the decision-making process on NATO operations of those members of the alliance who are not participating in these campaigns;
4. The use of force without the authorization of the UN Security Council in those cases when “immediate measures are required to protect a large number of people”.
The ultimate goal of the set of proposed changes is to create legal and regulatory frameworks and to maximally facilitate the formation of situational coalitions on the NATO platform, capable of operating on a global scale based on the basic resources of the block.
There is still a lot of work to be done to develop a single strategic understanding of the development of the alliance within the organization. Therefore, it’s too early to talk about the complete internal unity in NATO about a clear strategy, common goals and values shared by all participants. There is no unity in the performance by all participants of legal, financial and other obligations. The combination of these circumstances can reduce the strategic stability of the Alliance in various situations. The lack of unity and determination due to the disagreement of the interests of the allies in the assessment of hazards, risks, challenges and threats is a permanent factor affecting both the development of doctrinal documents and practical decision-making in various situations.
Washington and Brussels are clearly aimed at forming a natocentric model of the world with the transformation of the alliance into a key organ of global military-political regulation. One cannot deny the existence of objective conditions for the realization of these very ambitious plans of the West. The international community has not yet succeeded in creating an alternative, parallel or at least a similar mechanism practically operating in the area of ensuring international security as a counterweight to NATO.
Under these conditions, despite the well-known stagnation of relations between Russia and NATO, isolating our country from the alliance may lead to an increase in the threat of reducing the ability of the Russian Federation to influence the military-political regulation of international relations in many key regions of the planet. Many channels will be blocked to attract the potential of partners and international structures to modernize and ensure the sustainable development of the Russian state. From this point of view, systematic and persistent work is needed to find effective ways to neutralize alliance initiatives that are dangerous for Russia in regions of strategic importance for ensuring the national interests of our country, and to reach mutually acceptable solutions. Specific joint initiatives under the auspices of the Russia-NATO Council should replace the “diplomacy of smiles” and assurances of unfailing friendship in the absence of any visible practical results.