NATO Watch releases report critiquing NATO's direction for a new strategic doctrine

Ahead of a meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Defence Ministers' meeting on 17 February 2021, NATO Watch published an anthology of activist and academic perspectives on the reflection group report, NATO 2030: United for a New Era, that was published by the NATO Secretary General in December 2020. Concerned with the approach taken by the reflection group, which is expected to be the background for the development of a new NATO Strategic Doctrine, NATO Watch asked a group of 10 peace researchers to assess the NATO expert group report. Their analysis is published today in a new report, Peace research perspectives on NATO 2030: A response to the official NATO Reflection Group as a contribution to the debate about the future of NATO. This report argues, among other things, that:

  • Concepts like ‘human security’, as well as the ‘women, security and peace’ and ‘climate change’ agendas, have been co-opted by and reshaped by military actors like NATO;
  • The NATO expert group’s analysis of past events and future trends, especially in relation to Russia, arms control and violations of international law, are riddled with biases and omissions;
  • The likely consequences of NATO adopting Washington’s current pre-occupation with great power competition will, at best, produce an environment of unremitting tension coupled with an increasingly costly and dangerous arms race, and at worse, could result in a nuclear war with either China or Russia; and
  • NATO’s partnerships in the South are largely based on self-interest and military security rather than being rooted in the complex mix of problems faced by countries in North Africa and the Sahel.

RCW's Director Ray Acheson has a chapter in the anthology that provides a feminist critique of NATO's nuclearism and its militarism more broadly. It argues that the recommendations in the reflection group report further entrench NATO members in a militarist pursuit of dominance, rather than true community and cooperation either internally or internationally. The chapter suggests that the abolition of NATO would be the most straightforward way to allow its individual members to pursue genuine collective security with others. In the interim, NATO members that authentically care about peace, justice, international law, human rights and dignity, and cooperation need to renounce the violent masculinities espoused in the reflection group report, including by rejecting nuclear weapons and working to remove all weapons of mass destruction from NATO’s doctrine. They could also withdraw from NATO and adopt feminist foreign policies, finding common ground with other members of the world community for the nonviolent pursuit of peace and justice.