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Atlantic Council: Securing The 21st Century For NATO
Atlantic Council: Securing The 21st Century For NATO
Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site | April 30, 2010
On April 28 the Atlantic Council held its annual awards dinner at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C. where the U.S. State Department is also situated.
The honorees were headed by former President Bill Clinton, who was given the Distinguished International Leadership Award for his intervention in the Balkans in the 1990s, expanding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and launching the North American Free Trade Agreement. Josef Ackermann, Chairman of the Management Board and the Group Executive Committee of Deutsche Bank AG, was presented with the Distinguished Business Leadership Award.
Distinguished Military Leadership Awards were presented jointly to U.S. Marine General James Mattis, currently chief of U.S. Joint Forces Command and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Transformation from 2007-2009, and French General Stephane Abrial, who took over the NATO command in Norfolk, Virginia from Mattis last year.
The Atlantic Council of the United States also conferred its first Humanitarian Leadership Award on the Irish pop singer Bono.
NBC plugged the event beforehand with this background blurb:
"The Atlantic Council, which counts current National Security Advisor James L. Jones and UN Ambassador Susan Rice as former employees, is a non-partisan group with a mission of promoting international cooperation, particularly between the U.S. and Europe. Jones will be joined at the black-tie gathering by Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, Sen. John McCain and a host of other Washington socialites and politicians." 
Jones was chairman of the Atlantic Council from 2007 until becoming what was described after the announcement of his selection for National Security Advisor as a new Henry Kissinger . At the Munich Security Conference in February 2009, a few days after assuming his present post, Jones opened his address with these words:
"Thank you for that wonderful tribute to Henry Kissinger yesterday. Congratulations. As the most recent National Security Advisor of the United States, I take my daily orders from Dr. Kissinger, filtered down through General Brent Scowcroft and Sandy Berger, who is also here. We have a chain of command in the National Security Council that exists today." 
Prior to taking charge of the Atlantic Council, Jones had been a Marine Corps four-star general, top commander of U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe from 2003 to 2006, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's special envoy for Middle East security, in which function he discussed deploying NATO troops to the West Bank, a recommendation echoed by his Atlantic Council colleague Brent Scowcroft and former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski at the time.
Scowcroft, a retired Air Force general and National Security Advisor under Presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush (on both sides of Brzezinski in the role), is now the chairman of the Atlantic Council's International Advisory Board.
At this year's award dinner, attended by "more than 900 leaders from over 50 countries," Scowcroft "introduced Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and 2008 Distinguished Military Leadership Award honoree, French Air Force General Stephane Abrial, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation and co-recipient of this year's Distinguished Military Leader Award [and] General James Mattis, his predecessor at ACT and co-awardee." 
Zbigniew Brzezinski's daughter, MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski, co-emceed the event. Her brother Ian, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for NATO and European Policy, is an Atlantic Council rapporteur.
The Atlantic Council of the United States was established in 1961 by former Secretaries of State Dean Acheson and Christian Herter to bolster support for NATO. Atlantic Councils were set up in other member states for the same purpose, and at the present time they now number more than 40 in NATO and Partnership for Peace countries. The name is derivative of North Atlantic Council, the highest governing body of NATO.
According to the British Atlantic Council's website, the councils are the product of the Atlantic Treaty Association formed in 1954, and the latter still "acts as an umbrella organisation to coordinate the different councils’ efforts to promote public support for the institutions that bring together political leaders, academics and diplomats in an effort to further the values laid down in the North Atlantic Treaty...." 
The U.S. Atlantic Council is preeminent, though, as the U.S. is in NATO. Foreign officials - heads of state, defense and foreign ministers - routinely frequent and speak at the Atlantic Council's headquarters in Washington, D.C. when on trips to visit the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department.
This year's awards banquet "included ten current or former heads of state and government, two dozen members of Congress, 40 ambassadors to the United States and 35 global chief executives, and numerous senior officials of the Obama administration." 
In February of 2009 James Jones stepped down as chairman of the Atlantic Council to become Barack Obama's National Security Advisor. Brent Scowcroft assisted in selecting Obama's national security team, so Jones' appointment should have been no surprise.
At the same time Susan Rice left the Atlantic Council for the U.S. ambassadorship to the United Nations and Richard Holbrooke to become the White House's and State Department's Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Fellow members General Eric Shinseki and Anne-Marie Slaughter went on to become the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Director of Policy Planning at the State Department, respectively.
As an indication of why Clinton received the main award, in his comments he boasted of his military interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo although "78 percent of the US public opposed going in to the Balkans...." 
Georgian news media reported that the nation's President Mikheil Saakashvili "attended the annual reception at the prestigious Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C where he was invited as the co-chairperson of the event." 
As a further earnest of its mission to promote "constructive U.S. leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic community in meeting the international challenges of the 21st century"  and in loyalty to the four pillars of the "North Atlantic Treaty; democracy, freedom, security and the rule of law,"  in past years awards were given to:
2009: The Distinguished International Leadership Award to former President George H.W. Bush and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
The Distinguished Military Leadership Award to U.S. Central Command chief General David Petraeus "for his strength and courage in Iraq, Afghanistan, and throughout his military career."
Defense Secretary Robert Gates provided the introduction for Bush and Zbigniew Brzezinski for the German official receiving the award for Kohl. Bill Clinton sent a personal message for Bush.
2008: The Distinguished International Leadership Award was given to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the military award to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen and the business one to Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
Then former Spanish Prime Minister and Atlantic Council International Advisory Board member Jose Maria Aznar introduced Blair. The dinner also included remarks by former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Colin Powell and ex-National Security Advisor Scowcroft.
2007: The Distinguished International Leadership Award was given to former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan and the military equivalent to outgoing NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Jones. Colin Powell, the recipient of the 2005 Distinguished International Leadership Award, introduced the honorees.
Previous recipients included Scowcroft himself, Henry Kissinger, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Joseph Ralston and former NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson.
On the website of the Atlantic Council, with the tag Renewing the Alliance for the 21st Century,  among the links to other sites provided are those under the heading of think tanks, which are:
American Enterprise Institute
American Foreign Policy Council
Center for a New American Security
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Center for Transatlantic Relations/Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
Council on Foreign Relations
Foreign Policy Research Institute
German Marshall Fund of the United States
New America Foundation
United States Institute of Peace
Wilson Center International Center for Scholars
The above organizations contain what was formerly described in the corporate and financial worlds as interlocking directorates; officials and members of one are often also those of several others.
Along with similar and related groups like Freedom House, Project for the New American Century, U.S. Committee on NATO, Project on Transitional Democracies, National Endowment for Democracy and its International Forum for Democratic Studies, World Movement for Democracy and its Network of Democracy Research Institutes, International Republican Institute, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and a myriad of complementary non-governmental organizations bankrolled by billionaire currency speculator George Soros and others - all identified as non-profit, non-partisan (which in the U.S. denotes bipartisan Democrat-Republican) organizations, though many are funded by the U.S. government - the Atlantic Council and the sites it links to are collectively the best example of what for over a century has been described as the invisible government. More particularly, an unaccountable foreign policy establishment for which Euro-Atlantic strategic ties with emphasis on the NATO military bloc are given central emphasis.
Officers and members of the think tanks and nominal non-governmental organizations shift effortlessly and regularly between those groups and top positions in the State Department, Defense Department, National Security Council and elsewhere in the federal government.
The Council on Foreign Relations offers fellowships, an example being the Cyrus Vance Fellowship in Diplomatic Studies, for one-year studies for State Department personnel.
As mentioned earlier, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice is currently on leave from the board of directors of the Atlantic Council. She has also temporarily departed the Brookings Institution and has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Aspen Strategy Group, a project of the Aspen Institute. The next-to-last group's co-chairs are the Atlantic Council's Brent Scowcroft and the Sultan of Oman Professor of International Relations at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University Joseph Nye. Its members include Josef Korbel and Zbigniew Brzezinski protegees Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice, and Richard Armitage, Richard Haass, Richard Lugar, William Perry and Strobe Talbott.
Haass has been the president of the Council on Foreign Relations since 2003, and before that was Director of Policy Planning for the State Department. Strobe Talbott is the president of the Brookings Institution and was the Clinton administration's Deputy Secretary of State and Special Adviser to the Secretary of State on the New Independent States in the former Soviet Union.
The Aspen Strategy Group's director is R. Nicholas Burns, who served on the National Security Council from 1990–1995, seamlessly transitioning from the George H.W. Bush to the Bill Clinton administration as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia Affairs. Burns was also U.S. permanent representative to NATO from 2001-2005 under the George W. Bush administration and serves on the Board of Directors of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Atlantic Council.
The roster of the Atlantic Council is packed with former Pentagon, State Department and Central Intelligence Agency veterans. Its chairman is former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel. Its president and chief executive officer is Frederick Kempe, a journalist with the Wall Street Journal for thirty years who is now a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and who serves on the Senior Advisory Group of Admiral James Stavridis, commander of U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe.
Its senior adviser on international security is Kurt Volker, U.S. ambassador to NATO from 2008-2009 until he was replaced by the Brookings Institution's Ivo Daalder, and also former analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, deputy director of NATO Secretary-General George Robertson's private office, acting director for European and Eurasian Affairs for the National Security Council, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.
The chairman of the International Advisory Board is Brent Scowcroft.
The board of directors includes (with former titles) Defense Secretaries Harold Brown and William Perry; R. Nicholas Burns; former NATO top military commanders Joseph Ralston, Wesley Clark and Bantz John Craddock; Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs from 2001-2009 Paula Dobriansky (an Eastern Europe and former post-Soviet states hand); Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman; Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and U.S. ambassador to the European Union Stuart Eizenstat; Clinton administration envoy to the Balkans Robert Gelbard; Special Envoy for European Affairs, Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy and ambassador to the European Union C. Boyden Gray; Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman; National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley; Richard Holbrooke; National Security Council Director of West European Affairs and Director of Middle East Affairs,
ambassador to NATO and current RAND Corporation Senior Advisor Robert E. Hunter; Henry Kissinger; Assistant Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Deputy U.S. Representative to NATO General Barry McCaffrey; Deputy Commander of U.S. European Command Charles Wald; Central Intelligence Agency director R. James Woolsey and U.S. Central Command chief Anthony C. Zinni.
Honorary directors include six of the last seven secretaries of state: George Schultz, James Baker, Warren Christopher, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. Frank Carlucci, regime change engineer from the Belgian Congo to Portugal and ex-Defense Secretary, is another, as is fellow former Pentagon chief James Schlesinger and former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and current chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council William Webster.
The Atlantic Council's International Advisory Board counts among its members Spain's Jose Maria Aznar, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Rupert Murdoch and Lord (George)Robertson.
Its Strategic Advisors Group (SAG) was founded in 2007 by James Jones and Brent Scowcroft and includes many of the members of the Board of Directors and a higher percentage of European and other non-American members. It includes former Deputy Commander of U.S. European Command General Charles Boyd, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Admiral Edmund Giambastiani, former chief of the German armed forces and chairman of the NATO Military Committee General Harald Kujat, and ex-Director-General of the European Union Military Staff Lieutenant-General Jean-Paul Perruche.
"In 2008, the SAG focused its efforts on the topic of NATO reform, teaming up with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the National Defense University, and John’s Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies to produce a report entitled ‘Alliance Reborn: An Atlantic Compact for the 21st Century.’ This effort outlined ways in which Allies should reinvigorate NATO, including improving decision making, enhancing capabilities, and tackling major challenges to ensure NATO’s relevance for new and emerging threats." 
The Atlantic Council receives funding from numerous foundations, including the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Cuba Policy Foundation. It also receives support from the U.S. Departments of the Air Force, Army, Navy and Energy and from the U.S. Mission to NATO and the U.S. Mission to the European Union.
Its corporate members consist of almost 100 companies which include arms manufacturers Boeing, EADS North America, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, and other concerns as varied as AT&T, Chevron U.S.A., Daimler, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, MSNBC, Sony, Textron, Time Warner, Toyota and Viacom.
Although still concentrating on the Euro-Atlantic zone, the Atlantic Council has followed NATO into former Soviet Caucasus and Central Asia territories, Asia as a whole, the Middle East and Africa. It now has a South Asia Center and a Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center which "serves as the Atlantic Council’s focal point for work related to Black Sea, Caspian, and Central Asian energy issues, such as pipeline politics, the East-West energy corridor, and east and southeast European energy policies. Security concerns throughout the wider Eurasia region, gas crises, and the continued debate over proposed pipelines into Europe make the Center’s efforts increasingly urgent." 
In its own words its contemporary priority objectives are:
- identifying and shaping responses to major issues facing the Atlantic Alliance and transatlantic relations;
- building consensus on U.S. policy towards Russia, China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan;
- promoting balanced responses to growing energy needs and environmental protection;
- drafting roadmaps for U.S. policy towards the Balkans, Africa, Cuba, Iraq, Iran and Libya;
- engaging students from across the Euro-Atlantic area in the processes of NATO transformation and enlargement
Starting two years ago, the Strategic Advisors Group (SAG) has "focused its efforts on the topic of NATO reform, teaming up with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the National Defense University, and John’s Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies to produce a report entitled ‘Alliance Reborn: An Atlantic Compact for the 21st Century.’ This effort outlined ways in which Allies should reinvigorate NATO, including improving decision making, enhancing capabilities, and tackling major challenges to ensure NATO’s relevance for new and emerging threats.
"The ‘Alliance Reborn’ report served as a prelude for the SAG’s ‘STRATCON 2010’ project, which seeks to shape the debate concerning NATO’s development of a new Strategic Concept. Led by SAG members Yves Boyer and Julian Lindley-French, the project influences the Strategic Concept development process from both inside and outside the formal process." 
The SAG is no abstract planning body, as it "produces major public policy briefs and reports, hosts off-the-record Strategy Sessions for senior U.S. and European civilian and military officials, and provides informal, expert advice to senior policymakers."  Its 2007 report "Saving Afghanistan: An Appeal and Plan for Urgent Action," authored by James Jones, was released at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the presence of Committee Chairman Senator John Kerry, and Jones later testified on its contents before the same committee.
The Strategic Advisors Group then visited NATO Headquarters, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe and European Union Headquarters in Belgium to brief European military and civilians leaders on the report.
The group was present at all five official NATO conferences on the new Strategic Concept and co-hosted the largest of them in Washington in February at the National Defense University with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Defense Secretary Gates and Secretary of State Clinton.  The last-named began the Washington Strategic Concept Seminar by delivering an address at the same the Ritz Carlton in Washington that hosted the recent Atlantic Council awards affair, and at the event Atlantic Council Chairman Chuck Hagel provided the welcoming remarks.
The Atlantic Council of the United States has demonstrated its quasi-governmental nature by hosting NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen's first major speech in the U.S. last September, shortly after succeeding the Netherlands' Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at the post on August 1.
At the same event Atlantic Council member Senator Richard Lugar reiterated the demand for the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Ukraine to be absorbed into NATO. His comments included:
"NATO's contributions are taken for granted. It is important to take stock of just how remarkable it is that NATO is involved in combat three thousand miles from Europe. We should also celebrate the fact that NATO membership has been a tremendous engine of reform among prospective members, helping them to achieve the institutional structures needed for success in the 21st century....We must not repeat the folly of the early days of the Cold War, when the appearance of a rigid U.S.-drawn defense perimeter in the Far East invited the perception that we would abide any geopolitical upheaval behind that line. The West must hold out the prospect of membership to qualified aspirant countries, including Ukraine, Georgia, and the entire Balkan region." 
The Atlantic Council hosted and showcased the presidents of Georgia and Ukraine, Mikheil Saakashvili and Viktor Yushchenko, after their ascension to power in so-called color revolutions in 2004 and 2005, respectively.
Last October 7 the Atlantic Council held a forum titled "Missile Defense in Europe: Next Steps" with U.S. Missile Defense Agency director Lieutenant General Patrick O'Reilly and Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Ellen Tauscher on the Obama administration's expanding global interceptor missile system.
Tauscher's effusive comments included:
"I want to thank all of my friends at the Atlantic Council, especially people like Sen. Hagel and others that are here that – your leadership is fundamental to our being sure that we constantly keep refreshed the very, very strong relationship we have, not only with our NATO partners, but across the Atlantic with our friends that are not only trading partners, but certainly are national security partners. I believe NATO is the premier defense alliance in the world...."
"Let me begin by stating unequivocally that the Obama administration is committed to deploying timely, cost-effective and responsive missile defenses to protect the United States, our forward-deployed troops, as well as our friends and allies from ballistic missile attack. Statements by some that President Obama has decided to forego, cancel or shelf plans for the U.S. and European-based ballistic missile defense deployments are simply not true. The implication that we have abandoned our NATO allies in Europe, that we do not intend to abide by our Article V obligations with NATO, or that we have devalued our treaty obligations to our allies or other security commitments to our friends is also not true....[T]here was no attempt to curry favor with the Russian government, or to secure some kind of tradeoff in negotiations for a START follow-on treaty." 
O'Reilly spoke of the U.S. interceptor missile project in Eastern Europe as a broader, NATO-integrated one than that planned by President George W. Bush, insisting that "it has always been adaptable to NATO and it was built with NATO protocols in mind, so that it could readily be interfaced with the NATO system. But now we are at the point where through the active layer theater missile defense project and other discussions with NATO, we are very open to integrate the command and control with a NATO command-and-control system." 
On February 2 the Atlantic Council's Vice President and Director of the International Security Program, Damon Wilson, spoke at a video conference in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev entitled "U.S. expectations from the Ukrainian election" five days before the presidential runoff election.
Wilson was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council from December 2007 to January 2009 when he "played a leading role in developing and coordinating U.S. government efforts to advance a Europe whole, free and at peace and to work with Europe to promote security, prosperity and democracy around the world. He managed interagency policy on NATO, the European Union, Georgia, Ukraine, the Balkans, Eurasian energy security and Turkey, and planned numerous Presidential visits to Europe, including U. S.-European Union and NATO Summits."
Prior to that he served at the National Security Council as the Director for Central, Eastern and Northern European Affairs from January 2004 to November 2006. "During this time, Mr. Wilson strengthened ties with the German Chancellery, coordinated interagency policy in support of reform in Ukraine, including during the Orange Revolution, directed efforts to deepen engagement with America’s allies in Central and Eastern Europe...and promoted close consultations with coalition partners in Iraq and Afghanistan." 
At the Kiev conference he said that a "neutral status is not an option for Ukraine," and "cautioned Ukraine against seeking an alternative model of strengthening Ukraine's security.
"Such alternatives could prevent Ukraine from further integration into Europe, Wilson believes. In his words, the best way to guarantee Ukraine's security lies through cooperation with NATO and internal reforms." 
In addition to the expansion of NATO throughout Europe and even deeper into former Soviet space (with concomitant political, foreign policy, economic and legal transformations) and the deployment of a missile shield along Russia's western border, the Atlantic Council is playing a major role in the ongoing energy war with Russia over supplies of natural gas and oil to Europe.
Last August Alexandros Petersen, senior fellow with the Atlantic Council's Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, spoke with Azerbaijan's Trend News Agency and said:
"Azerbaijan not only has significant reserves of its own, but it is also a
gateway to vast reserves on the Caspian's eastern shore and further into Central Asia, including Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Azerbaijan is also important because it is already supplying Western countries with oil through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, its gas goes through the South Caucasus Pipeline and it is the most likely producer country at the moment to supply the Nabucco gas pipeline."
"Turkmenistan hold enormous potential and will be a growing player in the region and globally in terms of natural gas, but the central question about
Turkmenistan is whether its resources will primarily go east or west." 
Petersen "came to the Council from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where he served as Southeast Europe Policy Scholar, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he was an Adjunct Fellow with the Russia and Eurasia Program. Previously, he served as Program Director of the Caspian Europe Center in Brussels and Senior Researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. In 2006, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies in Tbilisi. He has also provided research for the U.S. National Petroleum Council’s Geopolitics and Policy Task Group and the Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on Russian-American Relations." 
The following month Senator Richard Lugar's remarks at the Atlantic Council also included advocating the activation of NATO's mutual military assistance clause in reference to energy policy:
"Three years ago at the NATO summit in Riga, I encouraged the Alliance to make energy security an Article Five commitment in which any member experiencing a deliberate energy disruption would receive assistance from other Alliance members. I argued that there was little distinction between an energy cutoff and an armed invasion....Merging energy support into NATO's core mission would also strengthen Alliance cohesion and reinforce public support for the alliance. The challenge of securing stable, affordable energy supplies is one that looms at the top of every ally's agenda, cutting across the fields of transportation, industrial, environmental, and national security policy." 
In the same month the Atlantic Council hosted General William Ward, commander of United States Africa Command, who detailed operations and exercises throughout the continent. The Council's website has announced that its Ansari Africa Center is "the newest addition to the Atlantic Council’s regional programs." 
The U.S. Atlantic Council depends on its affiliates in Europe and Asia to apply pressure to their respective local citizenry in the face of plummeting support for NATO's war in Afghanistan and corresponding dissatisfaction with the Alliance in general. Local Atlantic Councils are also in the forefront of efforts to recruit nations in Scandinavia (Finland and Sweden), the Balkans and the former Soviet Union into the bloc.
Last month the Atlantic Council of Finland co-sponsored a forum on NATO's new Strategic Concept at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a presentation by Jamie Shea, Head of Policy Planning in the Private Office of the NATO Secretary General. Also in March, the Atlantic Council of Serbia held an event promoting its nation's accession to NATO membership.
Last May the Atlantic Council of Finland sponsored a talk by Norwegian Defense Minister Anne-Grete Strom-Erichsen in which she uttered stark comments in reference to Norway's and Finland's joint neighbor Russia.
A report of her comments stated that "Strom-Erichsen outlined the importance of shaping a common position in defence and security matters concerning the High North. The Minister particularly called for 'strengthening the relevance of NATO.' Considering Russia's recent push in its military and economic spheres in the Arctic Sea, Strom-Erichsen sees a worrying potential for a possible destabilisation in the region." 
An interview conducted by the Atlantic Council on NATO's new Strategic Concept last December with Julian Lindley-French, a member of its Strategic Advisors Group and an instructor at the Royal Military Academy of the Netherlands, was no more reassuring. It included the contention that "credible military power remains and will remain the foundation of credible power" and "the need to project credible military stabilizing power will likely grow."
In particular, Lindley-French stressed that "Russia must once and for all decide if it is part of the Alliance's security mission or a challenge to it. The invasion of Georgia was anti-freedom and NATO must resist such adventurism firmly." 
At the awards dinner on April 28 Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski spoke of his nation's NATO membership on a trip to Washington that included meetings with Secretary of State Clinton, Defense Secretary Gates and Zbigniew Brzezinski in which the focus was "on military cooperation, notably a new US defence project to replace the so-called anti-missile shield." 
Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also spoke and alluding to NATO's ever-widening global scope said, "You pick the place, the Balkans, Iraq, Africa, the Mediterranean, Haiti, and yes, Afghanistan – and you’ll find the alliance meeting these challenges in spectacular fashion." 
21st century, global NATO will not permit competitors. Neither in its own Euro-Atlantic territory nor anywhere else. The North Atlantic military bloc maintains its headquarters in Brussels, but its international strategy is elaborated in Washington, D.C.
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Stop NATO, January 22, 2009
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Stop NATO, February 26, 2010
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