NATO’s Relations with Global Partners in Asia-Pacific
Despite the NATO alliance encompassing states from North America and Europe, it also maintains relations with other international organizations, as well as other states across the world. NATO has particularly fostered relations with states in Asia-Pacific, for instance by discussing a multinational missile consortium with Japan since 2015. The political and economic situation in Asia-Pacific has changed drastically in recent years, with many of the states in the region experiencing an economic boom in the last few decades. On top of that, tensions in the region are rising, as the isolated North Korean regime continues its nuclear tests, amongst others. With the world connected as it is, a crisis in one part of the world can quickly spread all across the globe, making the region a challenge for NATO. Its member states have to discuss the nature of the alliance’s relations with the states in Asia-Pacific in order to secure its influence in the region.
NATO’s Strategy for Securing the Baltic Region
Since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in 2014, relations between NATO and Russia have deteriorated substantially. In light of these developments, the security of the Nordic-Baltic region has become an increasingly important policy goal for NATO. Amongst others, this can be seen in the intensification of both Russian and NATO activities and presence at the respective Baltic borders. However, the alliance is facing numerous challenges in the region. Apart from the complexity of collaborating with non-alliance partners, such as Sweden and Finland, it also appears to be militarily inferior and observers have doubted some member states’ willingness to defend the Baltic states in the case of a potential conflict. Delegates will have to deal with all these issues while discussing an adequate strategy for securing NATO’s ‘eastern flank’.
The North Atlantic Council (NAC) consists of all NATO member states and has effective political authority and powers of decision. Permanent Representatives of all member countries meet together at least once a week. The Council also meets at higher levels involving Foreign Ministers, Defense Ministers or Heads of Government but it has the same authority and powers of decision-making and its decisions have the same status and validity, at whatever level it meets. The Council has an important public profile and issues declarations and communiqués explaining the Alliance’s policies and decisions to the general public and to governments of countries which are not members of NATO. The Council is the only body within the Alliance which derives its authority explicitly from the North Atlantic Treaty.