Addressing the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
05 November 2015, 10h30 EST (UTC-5)
At the NATO Parliamentary Assembly CDS Committee
Click photo for the Assembly
Recently, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly invited me to address them in Norway, in my capacity as CEO of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption. It was an extraordinary experience: being part of the deliberations on war, peace, and the fate of nations.
The NATO Parliamentary Assembly brings together legislators not only from NATO’s 28 member states, but also from some states openly hostile to the alliance: until its invasion of Crimea, Russia was an active participant.
The Assembly gives NATO parliamentarians a chance to build an international consensus on the world’s vital security issues, and to foster coherence between their national defence policies and the alliance’s global military strategy. More strikingly, the Assembly tries to build mutual understanding with the parliaments of non-NATO states, to reduce the risk of military escalation.
I advised the Assembly on two ongoing wars: Ukraine and Afghanistan.
»Download Ukraine Presentation
»Download Afghan Presentation
On Ukraine, I offered my analysis of how political corruption had delivered the state into the hands of its enemies, and what steps the alliance needs to take to enable the new Ukrainian government to have a fighting chance of preserving its territorial integrity.
On Afghanistan, I outlined how the alliance should conduct future military engagements, in light of this experience. The lessons of the Afghan war were purchased at a bitter cost: it claimed more lives, more years, and more money than any other campaign in NATO's history.
The balance of deliberations were on a remarkably broad range of subjects, including:
• options to combat non-state military actors, such as ISIS and al-Qaeda;
• the extent to which oil is financing despotic regimes;
• the security dimension of climate change, in its potential to unleash new conflicts over disappearing water and agricultural resources;
• how to rebuild deterrence against international aggression from major powers, at a time when the international community has been demonstrably cowed by the risks of confronting a nuclear armed state.
The NATO Parliamentary Assembly Annual Session was often highly formal, even ritualised, but its substance was the stuff of high drama.
I remember seeing the Berlin Wall fall, and hoping that the age of global warfare might be over; that moment now feels far away. We are clearly facing terrible risks, and it will take great statesmanship to avoid the abyss.
I will write a more detailed account of the proceedings in the coming days.