Peace research perspectives on NATO 2030: A response to the official NATO Reflection Group

Original publication date

NATO Watch asked a group of 10 peace researchers to assess the NATO expert group report, NATO 2030: United for a New Era, that was published by the NATO Secretary General in December 2020. The co-chair of the NATO report, Wess Mitchell, described its main message as being that “NATO has to adapt itself for an era of strategic rivalry with Russia and China, for the return of a geopolitical competition that has a military dimension but also a political one’’. This approach, however, is likely to help entrench a systemic three bloc rivalry between China, Russia and NATO-EU-US, with all the attendant risks – from nuclear war to missed opportunities to address the existential threat of climate change and future pandemics.

Concerned by these developments and the group-think mentality of the NATO 2030 process, NATO Watch is publishing this response as a contribution to the debate about the future of NATO. This report argues, among other things, that:

  • The NATO expert group’s analysis of past events and future trends, especially in relation to Russia, arms control and violations of international law, are riddled with biases and omissions;
  • Concepts like ‘human security’, as well as the ‘women, security and peace’ and ‘climate change’ agendas, have been co-opted by and reshaped by military actors like NATO;
  • Adopting a pre-occupation with great power competition will lead to a costly and dangerous arms race and risk a nuclear war with either China or Russia; and
  • NATO’s partnerships in the South are largely based on self-interest and military security rather than being rooted in the complex mix of problems faced by countries in North Africa and the Sahel.

Among the alternative proposals are strengthening dialogue and the search for common ground with China and Russia, de-collectivizing the nuclear sharing policy in NATO and withdrawing all remaining US tactical nuclear weapons from Europe.

See more in the attached report.