An online discussion was organized by ATA Platform on 1 October 2020. A brainstorming was held on the past and future of NATO in the meeting under the subject of “NATO in the Asian Age: Continuity and Change”.
Firstly, the reasons for the establishment of NATO and the institutions through which the struggle between the blocs was carried out during the Cold War period were discussed, and opinions were expressed about the fact that NATO was a tool which was structured as the armed force of the capitalist bloc in this period. Then, the changes in NATO’s role and the rupture occured in the post-Cold War era were evaluated on the basis of the indicators of the transition to a unipolar period. The issues of how continuity and change can take place are also discussed with the changing roles and global paradigm.
Secondly, the issue of deterrence against a possible nuclear attack, which has been the strongest aspect of NATO during the Cold War, emerged as a field in which NATO was successful. In this sense, it was also discussed that a new common threat perception must appear for the main causes of NATO’s survival today. Regarding the questioning of the adequacy of NATO’s defence and security policies, it has been accepted as an indicator that states would formulate defence policies according to their national interests. Accordingly, from the percpective of Turkey, the opinions have been expressed on to what extent NATO’s capacity has changed in terms of functionality and it is still providing a security umbrella for Turkey.
Thirdly, the historical process in NATO’s development and transformation is mentioned. Within the framework of geopolitical theories, it was stated that the USA pursues a strategy of encircling the Eurasia Island around a synthesis of the thesis of the containment and the supremacy of naval power, and in this direction, NATO has emerged as a structure which will sustain the dominance of the neo-liberal system as an important tool in the axis of geopolitical needs.
It was evaluated that a new reason for NATO came into existance after the Cold War, the concept of “right to protect” has emerged within this framework and the September 11 attacks helped NATO to assume its new role. In this context, the theories on NATO’s evolution from a defence concept to a security perspective has been discussed and it was evaluated that NATO, seeking for its soul, considers the China-Russia partnership as the biggest threat for its survival and for this reason the projections on expanding to Eurasia with the contribution of Arab countries are brought to the agenda.
It has been discussed that the issue of NATO’s expansion to the Asia-Pacific region will be a breaking moment in itself, this issue will bring up the divergences within NATO, considering the international problems, it will be difficult for the USA to implement this strategy in the post-coronavirus period and the expansion to the Middle East will be tried with ad-hoc methods. The meeting has ended with the contributions in the last section in which NATO’s relationship with global capital has been discussed with examples.