skip to main content

Updating strategy: NATO's new strategic concept calls for reprioritisation of CBRN threats

NATO-Russia relations since 1999. (Janes)

NATO's strategy since the collapse of the Soviet Union was noted for its drift and lack of purpose. Comments by French President Emmanuel Macron in November 2019 that NATO was “brain-dead” highlighted this concern at the top of the alliance member states' leadership.

While the alliance expanded over twenty years to encompass former states that had been within the Soviet Union, NATO struggled to define a role for itself that not only involved protecting its members, but which could also at the same time improve relations with the Russian Federation.

Throughout the 1990s and into the beginning of the 2000s, NATO's strategy and relationship with Russia were conditioned by events outside of the alliance's control, and which were mainly undertaken by its strongest member state, the United States. Humanitarian interventions, the invasions of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003), alongside an expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe and the Baltics, were all viewed with unease in Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's speech to the Munich Security Conference in 2007 was strident in its resentful description of a ‘unipolar world', led by the US, whose policy was to contain what the West saw as an increasingly corrupt and repressive Russia. Putin also objected to western ‘interference' in Moscow's traditional spheres of influence, its support for democratic movements on Russia's doorstep, and its enthusiastic acceptance of offers of NATO membership to newly democratised former Warsaw Pact republics.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...