NATO Wales Summit: A Family of Nations Committed to Peace and Freedom

Posted by Douglas Lute
August 28, 2014
NATO Summit Wales 2014

With only six days remaining until President Obama and other world leaders gather in Wales, final preparations are in full gear for the NATO Summit.  In this two-day event, President Obama and other world leaders will focus on a diverse range of challenges: the Ukraine crisis and the impact of Russia’s actions on transatlantic security; NATO’s evolving mission in Afghanistan; the readiness of Alliance capabilities; and the deepening and broadening of NATO’s partnerships.

The Wales Summit is a strategic inflection point for NATO -- 65 years after NATO was created by the Washington Treaty, 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and following two decades of continuous operations in the Balkans and then Afghanistan, NATO now faces new challenges to the east, the southeast and the south.  In this context, our leaders at Wales will reaffirm their commitment to a strong Alliance that safeguards our citizens, defends our values, and projects stability in an unstable world.

At the Summit, we’ll focus on four main themes.

First, Afghanistan.  After 12 years, NATO can be proud of its legacy in Afghanistan.  Our objectives have been clear: disrupting threats posed by al Qaeda; supporting Afghan security forces; and giving the Afghan people the opportunity to succeed as they stand on their own.  Together with the Afghan people and international partners, NATO helped build an army and police and created secure space for improvements in health, education, women’s rights, media freedom and governmental institutions -- all building blocks for a secure and democratic future.  And NATO’s commitment doesn’t end when ISAF’s combat mission ends at the end of 2014.  NATO will remain a partner for Afghanistan as we transition to a new mission focused on training, advising and assisting Afghan security forces.  We will provide the tools and the training, and the Afghans will provide the courage and the will to succeed.  Much remains to be done but Afghanistan’s future is in the hands of Afghans, while NATO stands ready to support.

Second, challenges on NATO’s periphery.  NATO leaders will meet with Ukrainian President Poroshenko to discuss the crisis caused by Russia’s illegal aggression, the most severe challenge to European security since the end of the Cold War.  All 28 Allies today contribute to reassurance measures in the air, on the land and at sea among the eastern Allies, signaling NATO’s unity and resolve.  At the Summit, we’ll address additional reassurance measures and further adaptations to NATO’s posture in response to this challenge.  Leaders will also discuss the rapidly evolving situations in Syria and Iraq, as well as persistent instability in North Africa, especially Libya.

Third, capabilities.  NATO’s mutual security guarantee rests on the ability of each Ally to come to the defense of the others.  Leaders will consider a Readiness Action Plan that adapts the Alliance to new challenges.  Our nations must ensure that NATO has the capabilities required -- experienced troops, modern equipment, world-class training, regular operational exercises, and ongoing education.   Military capability is the core of the Alliance, and this requires defense investments.  Allies all benefit from NATO’s security guarantee and all must contribute proportionately, especially now that we are beginning to recover from the worst recession in Alliance history.  Together we must reverse the decline in defense spending, move towards the NATO target of 2 percent of GDP and 20 percent of military spending allocated to investment, and improve in meeting NATO’s agreed performance metrics.  Each Ally must commit to doing its part to keep our Alliance strong, ready and able to meet current and emerging threats.  Shared benefits mean shared responsibility.

Finally, partnerships.  With over 40 partners around the world, NATO has a valuable network that exports stability well beyond the borders of the Alliance -- from Mauritania east to Japan, from Sweden south to the Persian Gulf.  Our partners enhance Alliance operations, add critical capabilities, and provide political and geographic diversity.  We believe NATO’s partners benefit, too, gaining access to world-class training, exercises and education; building capacity in their own security institutions; opening political dialogue on shared interests; and pooling resources to gain efficiencies.  NATO partnerships are a two-way street and, as we meet in Wales, our leaders will consider how this Alliance will continue to invest in NATO partnerships beyond 2014.

Overall, the Summit provides Alliance leaders the opportunity to renew NATO’s core mission: our binding obligation to Article 5, the mutual defense commitment in the Washington Treaty.  As President Obama joins our Allies and partners in Wales, the world will focus again on NATO.  Since 1949, NATO has been the world’s strongest, most durable, and most effective military alliance.  It is a family of nations from both sides of the Atlantic who are committed to peace and freedom and determined to defend these common values.  In Wales, we will reaffirm that commitment and determination, and make sure that NATO has what it takes to keep our nations secure and our citizens safe.

About the Author: Douglas E. Lute serves as the U.S. Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Follow @USNATO on Twitter.



George O.
United States
August 28, 2014
Yeah, yeah, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, we know the drill. The Atlantic nations are bankrupt and are seeking military confrontation with Russia and China because they're not bankrupt. Same scenario as World War I, but probably with worse results. "We've always been at war with Eastasia."
htun p.
August 28, 2014
I think that NATO summit will help the world to be more united and to bring the people more freedom and peace.Moreover, I hope that NATO summit will make lots of good outcomes.
Eric J.
New Mexico, USA
August 29, 2014

@ Ambassador Lute:

Short of parking a couple NATO divisions of armor and an air wing in Ukraine I'm not sure what will possibly give Putin cause to do a serious re-think on his strategy of Russian involvement on a physical or economic level, as sanctions alone don't seem to be having, or likely to ever have that intended effect.
But since NATO is not looking for a military confrontation, nor willing to entertain Putin's willingness to engage in such a confrontation, then there is one diplomatic option that hasn't been tried yet.

Folks talk about how Russia is "isolating itself" from the international community...and I think the reason sanctions really arn't changing Putin's calcululus is because isolating Russia economicly gives him greater control domesticly in the long run, regardless of the negative effect on the Russian population...up to a certain point...breadlines not withstanding.

What Russia craves most and Putin in particular is power and influence on the world stage. That he seeks it for Russia by acting the part of "international bully" as a military protagonist with a revisionist interpretation of reality in international fora was trasparent for the world to see in the UNSC today...Well there's a solution to that...and I'm probably going to cause a few legal minds in the State dept to shudder at the thought...but in the interest of coercive diplomacy actually having the desired effect in getting Mr. Putin to straiten his act out and fly right with international norms, I hope the lawyers will consider this layman's reasononing.

Whereas; The Russian Federation is in direct violation of the UN charter , treaty obligations, actively engaged in direct threats to international peace and security, destabilization of nations, arming non state actors , arming state sponsors of terror, providing arms and material support to entities who have and continue to commit crimes against himanity, mass murder, war crimes, and the mass displacement of peoples, violation of civil liberties, and associated articles of the universal declaration of human rights;

Whereas in addition to the above: The continued arming of Assad's military in Syria by the Russian Federation contitutes material support for genocide ( and I suggest that the State dept lawyers or the NSA will have a real hard time denying this on any legal basis at this point).

Whereas: The United States Gov. has denied visa to individuals engaged in similar crimes and activities on a regular basis. And even in certain cases where the US host nation obligations to the UN under treaty were involved ( Bashir of Sudan comes to mind).

Whereas: The Russian Federation has directly interfered in the proper functioning of the UNSC to fulfill its duties to protect populations and resolve conflict.

Whereas; The UN as an intitution of member states has so far been unable to effectively dicipline it's individual members when one or more has violated their UN charter obligations.

Whereas The US as "Host nation" to the UN has certain obligations above and beyond its treaty obligations to the UN, to assure the continued effective functioning of this international fora on behalf of all mankind and it's member states that uphold its charter.

Whereas; Any member state's UN charter membership may be modified and/or revoked by 2/3 majority decision of the UNGA at anytime.

Folks, there has been some who have questioned America's leadership in the world, though I don't think most folks in NATO question it...the question they have is whether the members of NATO can afford to keep up in step with the US and carry their weight as well as what defines their moral obligation to do so, not just their member obligations involved.

So let me suggest that there may be good grounds to further isolate the Russian Federation by unilaterally initiated diplomatic action on the part of the US in revoking visa to every Russian diplomat now on US soil ( with the possible exception of certain consular affairs to continue to service citizens visas on an emergency basis), including the entire Russian mission to the UN.

This would mean that in reciprocity America would of neccessity recal all its embassy staff and shut down embassies and consulates in Russia ( with the exception of similar consular services the Russians retain)

At the same time limiting diplomatic engagement on a bi-lateral level to two lines of communication, the old traditional "hot line" in the white house, and a line between Sec. Kerry and Lavrov @ State. Follow this up with the cutting of diplomatic ties to the EU and NATO in like manner simultaneously.

If the Russians want to file a complaint with the UN, they can damned well write a letter to the Sec. General for all I care....Because The US and it's NATO partners would be following up this action with a vote in the UNGA to determine;

A) The continued status of Rusasia's Charter membership and any modification to it.
B) It's "Permanent" status on the UNSC as well.

It is my humble opinion that NATO isn't simply a great military alliance, it is based by its very nature on great political alliances based on common values inherant in the upholding of all the charter documents and the rule of law that members of the UN in good standing abide by, and thus cannot exist separate from those principals and obligations on a diplomatic and political level.

Above all, it is a strategic and tactically based opperative framework of cooperative nations dedicated to maintaining peace and security just as the UNSC is compelled diplomaticly to do, and thus must support their common function for the betterment of mankind.

One final thought on the action suggested, that unlike sanctions, the revocation of visas can be reversed at a time of our choosing, immediately reintated upon Russia meeting its international obligations. While it may take a little more time to debate and vote on its UN membership status in the UNGA...and reverse any decision made.
 Folks want an imediate halt to what Russia is doing in Ukraine, as well as their support for Assad? Well, I would therefore challenge the dept of State's legal advisors to figure out a faster, more effective way to change Putin's calculus diplomaticly that this...if they don't like this idea. Because while the dept of State's spokesperson isn't inclined to crawl inside Putin's brain...I've got a real good idea what his worst nightmare looks like when Russia gets completely isolated from international fora diplomaticly ( the G8 > 7 was just a pinprick)...and now you'all do too.

 Go ahead and freeze all Russia's assets too as the Ukrainian PM asked for...including the Russian mafia's...just maybe then they'll convince Putin to wise up if everyone else can't.

EJ 8/28/14


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