Transatlantic Security Notes & Comment, October 2006
October 31, 2006
NATO’s 26 members will meet in Riga, Latvia this November for what some are calling the “introverted” summit. NATO summits are often used to launch major initiatives or welcome new members into the fold. The Riga Summit, however, will break from that tradition and allow NATO allies to take stock of the Alliance’s ongoing political and military transformation while focusing on the current mission in Afghanistan. A handful of small but important capability initiatives will be launched, including the acquisition of common assets and a new program for special operation forces. Deep political divisions, however, will prevent the Alliance from making comparable progress on its overarching strategic direction. If NATO wants to advance its transformation agenda, however, it will need to resolve fundamental questions about its future roles and missions. Major developments concerning enlargement, partnerships, training, capabilities, and coordination with other organizations will only be possible when NATO allies reach consensus on the Alliance’s purpose in today’s complex security environment.