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NATO Summit in Chicago

July 12, 2012 Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Europe, Georgia, Karabakh, Turkey No Comments
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12:16, July 12, 2012

Dimitrios Triantaphyllou (Turkey), director of the Center for International and European Studies of Kadir Has University (Istanbul).

Sona Kyurkchyan, www.hetq.am (Armenia)

1. What makes the Chicago Summit different from the previously held NATO summits, what was its final outcome?

Nothing really other than the fact that it was held in President Obama’s hometown during an election year. It also came at the heels of the more groundbreaking Lisbon Summit of 2010 which launched a new Strategic Concept for the Alliance. It seems that although it was the first post-Arab Spring Summit and post Libya operation Summit, this wasn’t enough to produce major news except maybe to reaffirm that NATO is adrift with the European allies unable or unwilling to contribute more in terms of resources to the Alliance. The European allies can deploy only about 5 percent of their troops for NATO operations.

2. How does NATO intend to act in the future if not all Alliance members agree to conducting operations in this or that region? Has the Chicago Summit considered the precedence of some members’ refusal to participate in the operations against Libya?

I would tend to agree with the assessment of Thomas Ries who in a recent article suggested that the result of the inability of the European allies to contribute in a coherent manner to the evolving global security environment is “a lost alliance: unable to orient itself, unable to look forward, unable to specify vital strategic interests beyond basic platitudes, unable to agree which future threats to focus on, and unable to generate military forces capable of addressing them.” This growing deficit within NATO is compounded by the shortcomings of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) in which many of NATO’s European allies take part.

3. Why after the NATO Summit in Lisbon which was not attended by the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan because of the language of adopted resolutions, a document with the same language on the conflicts in the territories of CIS countries was adopted at the Chicago Summit?

NATO is keeping closely to its principles regarding the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of all states involved in “protracted” conflicts – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Moldova. Armenia could not expect different language in the Chicago Summit Declaration given the makeup of the Alliance’s members and the concerns that many raise regarding the principle of territorial integrity of states. This is also somewhat linked to the development of relations between Russia and NATO and Russia’s uneasiness regarding relations between Armenia and NATO.

Angela Khachatryan, www.1in.am (Armenia)

Have Georgia’s expectations from the Chicago Summit come true and do the adopted documents mean that Georgia will become a country to be admitted into the Alliance in the course of the following stage of NATO enlargement? When do you think such an expansion may take place?

I am not sure that Georgia’s expectations were necessarily met by the Chicago Summit regarding its eventual accession to NATO albeit Secretary Clinton’s remarks that the next Summit would be an enlargement one. Much would depend on the priorities of the next US administration and its relationship with Russia on a variety of global challenges as well as the outcome of the forthcoming elections in Georgia.

Armen Minasyan, www.panorama.am (Armenia)

1. The official Ankara had made a statement against Israel’s participation in the Chicago Summit. Do you think such behavior is in line with NATO principles, if we are to take into consideration the fact that a dialogue at all levels is especially important for ensuring regional security?

Of course, Ankara’s position is not in line with NATO principles. Ankara, in fact, also tried to promote without success the membership of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia by attempting to change the decision by the Alliance (including Turkey) in the Bucharest Summit of 2008 to the detriment of Greek interests. Nevertheless, Turkey is an important regional security and economic actor and its growing importance needs to be taken into account. Ankara’s perceived isolation from the West on many fronts (ranging from the stalled EU accession process to its difficult neighborhood) suggests that a better understanding of Ankara’s positions need to be considered without implying that these have to be adopted wholesale by the Alliance.

2. What do you think the main outcome of the Chicago Summit was? What place did the issues of NATO enlargement through the admission of new members occupy among the adopted decisions?

The main outcome of the Chicago Summit was that the Alliance is in trouble as it failed to address seriously its strategic imperatives. There is a lack of strategic thinking by the European allies that seem to be more concerned with the threat of the financial/ sovereign debt crisis than their global responsibilities. The Libyan operation brought many of these shortcomings to the fore as the United States bore the bulk of the operation and its costs. The Chicago Summit spent time on other issues such as Afghanistan, future capabilities, and partnerships but none of these could be considered truly strategic. Similarly, the future enlargement of the Alliance was left to the future.

David Stepanyan, www.arminfo.am(Armenia)

Were the unresolved conflicts in the post-Soviet space, in particular the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, discussed at the NATO Summit in Chicago? If yes, in what format and from what angle?

The protracted regional conflicts in the post-Soviet space were discussed only inasmuch to affirm of the need that these be resolved. Though the support “of the territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova” was reaffirmed as was the need to resolve these on the basis of international law, NATO basically went through the motions regarding the post-Soviet space and included the aforementioned language in the Resolution in order to have something to say as per its principles and those of the UN Charter. Much depends on its evolving relations with Russia which the Summit did not necessarily deal with properly given Putin’s absence.

Anna Bartkulashvili, freelance reporter (Azerbaijan)

1. Before the beginning of the summit the American expert Alfred Ross forecasted that in Chicago America was going to ask for additional funding, soldiers and fighters from its NATO allies. What particular problems have conditioned such a prognosis and to what extent have they been solved at the summit?

None of these issues have been resolved as the Summit showed that the European Allies are either unwilling or unable to invest more in terms of defense. In fact, European defense spending has fallen by more than 24 billion USD in the last three years while the Libyan operation that Europe led could not have been completed successfully without US involvement including electronic jamming, air defense suppression, 80 percent of the fuel and most of the bombs uses in the operation. As the European allies reduce their defense capabilities and commitments and the gap with the US grows, so does the frustration and impatience in Washington. Similarly, the drawdown in Afghanistan is also troubling and is not properly planned.

2. What does NATO’s “smart defense” program consist in and what was the particular cause of adopting it?

“Smart Defense” is an attempt to optimize the diminishing commitment to the Alliance by its European allies and the need of the US to shift some of its resources to other threats such as the Pacific. In times of budgetary austerity, the focus is on specialization and cooperation or in other words, how to do more with less. Discussions between France and the United Kingdom about the prospect of sharing their aircraft carriers are indicative of the potential of “Smart Defense.” The objective is to ensure that NATO and its member states maintain the military capabilities to undertake the core tasks of the Alliance as these are put forward in the new Strategic Concept which was adopted at the Lisbon Summit in 2010.

3. Was it possible to efficiently react to all the problems NATO is currently facing and what priority directions for activity were selected at the Summit?

No. NATO is in trouble because both the political commitment of many of its European allies as well as their material commitments are lacking. NATO has evolved into a defense organization with global reach given the exigencies of today’s globalized world at a time of dwindling resources and a false sense of security in many European countries as well as the implications of future or lack thereof of the eurozone. As a result, the Chicago Summit raises awareness of the myriad of security challenges and proposes some initiatives but does not necessarily put forward a new strategic blueprint.

Tarana, www.contact.az (Azerbaijan)

What place did the issue of NATO’s future development occupy on the agenda of the Summit?

The issues of future capabilities and the need to implement Smart Defense as well as strengthened partnerships with countries such as Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, inter alia, were raised in the Summit and hold a prominent part of the Summit Declaration. Yet, these cannot be successfully implemented if the current European mindset with reduced defense spending and capabilities does not change.

Emil Babayan, www.news.am (Armenia)

What were the results achieved at the Chicago Summit after the discussion of the strategy in Afghanistan before and after 2014? Will the Afghan party be ready to assume complete responsibility for ensuring the security in the country at the time of the withdrawal of NATO troops, and will the civil war in Afghanistan have been suspended by that time? What achievements and failures in Afghanistan were highlighted in the Chicago Summit?

The drawdown in Afghanistan was a major part of the Chicago Summit. Decisions were taken regarding the reduction of the military presence of NATO troops, yet there seems to be a preoccupation with the fact that the withdrawal of troops is coming at a time that the Taliban are becoming more emboldened with attacks across the country. Also at play are the funds that the Afghan National Security Forces require to meet the challenges of transition and taking the lead. Out of the expected 4.1 billion USD needed by the Afghan security forces per year, 1.3 billion USD need to be provided by non-NATO members and partners. But there seems to be a shortfall.

Emma Bayramova, www.tribuna.ge (Georgia)

1. What’s new in comparison with previous decisions on Georgia in the documents of Chicago Summit?

The new developments regarding Georgia are the remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the need to deal with enlargement at the next summit and the participation of Georgia in the meeting between NATO and the aspirant countries. This does not mean that the Chicago Summit was very clear on the prospects of future enlargement for Georgia.

2. Does Georgia have progressive achievements on its way to the Alliance?

Though Georgia has met many of the criteria for membership, the fact that it has not yet started negotiations for a Membership Action Plan (MAP) is detrimental to its bid in contrast to the other aspirant countries from Southeastern Europe. The Georgian government deftly downplayed expectations before the Summit, yet it is not happy that the Chicago Summit Declaration only reaffirms the decision taken in Bucharest that Georgia will one day join the Alliance. Clearly much depends on the results of the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia this year and its Presidential ones in October 2013.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Related posts:

  1. Armenia Shuns NATO Summit Over ‘Pro-Azeri’ Declaration
  2. German Envoy Regrets Armenian Boycott Of NATO Summit
  3. Chicago Declaration addresses Karabakh conflict
  4. Armenian Opposition Bloc Condemns President Sarkisian For NATO Summit Boycott
  5. Armenian Foreign Minister Delivers a Speech at The NATO Summit In Lisbon

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12:16, July 12, 2012

Dimitrios Triantaphyllou (Turkey), director of the Center for International and European Studies of Kadir Has University (Istanbul).

Sona Kyurkchyan, www.hetq.am (Armenia)

1. What makes the Chicago Summit different from the previously held NATO summits, what was its final outcome?

Nothing really other than the fact that it was held in President Obama’s hometown during an election year. It also came at the heels of the more groundbreaking Lisbon Summit of 2010 which launched a new Strategic Concept for the Alliance. It seems that although it was the first post-Arab Spring Summit and post Libya operation Summit, this wasn’t enough to produce major news except maybe to reaffirm that NATO is adrift with the European allies unable or unwilling to contribute more in terms of resources to the Alliance. The European allies can deploy only about 5 percent of their troops for NATO operations.

2. How does NATO intend to act in the future if not all Alliance members agree to conducting operations in this or that region? Has the Chicago Summit considered the precedence of some members’ refusal to participate in the operations against Libya?

I would tend to agree with the assessment of Thomas Ries who in a recent article suggested that the result of the inability of the European allies to contribute in a coherent manner to the evolving global security environment is “a lost alliance: unable to orient itself, unable to look forward, unable to specify vital strategic interests beyond basic platitudes, unable to agree which future threats to focus on, and unable to generate military forces capable of addressing them.” This growing deficit within NATO is compounded by the shortcomings of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) in which many of NATO’s European allies take part.

3. Why after the NATO Summit in Lisbon which was not attended by the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan because of the language of adopted resolutions, a document with the same language on the conflicts in the territories of CIS countries was adopted at the Chicago Summit?

NATO is keeping closely to its principles regarding the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of all states involved in “protracted” conflicts – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Moldova. Armenia could not expect different language in the Chicago Summit Declaration given the makeup of the Alliance’s members and the concerns that many raise regarding the principle of territorial integrity of states. This is also somewhat linked to the development of relations between Russia and NATO and Russia’s uneasiness regarding relations between Armenia and NATO.

Angela Khachatryan, www.1in.am (Armenia)

Have Georgia’s expectations from the Chicago Summit come true and do the adopted documents mean that Georgia will become a country to be admitted into the Alliance in the course of the following stage of NATO enlargement? When do you think such an expansion may take place?

I am not sure that Georgia’s expectations were necessarily met by the Chicago Summit regarding its eventual accession to NATO albeit Secretary Clinton’s remarks that the next Summit would be an enlargement one. Much would depend on the priorities of the next US administration and its relationship with Russia on a variety of global challenges as well as the outcome of the forthcoming elections in Georgia.

Armen Minasyan, www.panorama.am (Armenia)

1. The official Ankara had made a statement against Israel’s participation in the Chicago Summit. Do you think such behavior is in line with NATO principles, if we are to take into consideration the fact that a dialogue at all levels is especially important for ensuring regional security?

Of course, Ankara’s position is not in line with NATO principles. Ankara, in fact, also tried to promote without success the membership of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia by attempting to change the decision by the Alliance (including Turkey) in the Bucharest Summit of 2008 to the detriment of Greek interests. Nevertheless, Turkey is an important regional security and economic actor and its growing importance needs to be taken into account. Ankara’s perceived isolation from the West on many fronts (ranging from the stalled EU accession process to its difficult neighborhood) suggests that a better understanding of Ankara’s positions need to be considered without implying that these have to be adopted wholesale by the Alliance.

2. What do you think the main outcome of the Chicago Summit was? What place did the issues of NATO enlargement through the admission of new members occupy among the adopted decisions?

The main outcome of the Chicago Summit was that the Alliance is in trouble as it failed to address seriously its strategic imperatives. There is a lack of strategic thinking by the European allies that seem to be more concerned with the threat of the financial/ sovereign debt crisis than their global responsibilities. The Libyan operation brought many of these shortcomings to the fore as the United States bore the bulk of the operation and its costs. The Chicago Summit spent time on other issues such as Afghanistan, future capabilities, and partnerships but none of these could be considered truly strategic. Similarly, the future enlargement of the Alliance was left to the future.

David Stepanyan, www.arminfo.am(Armenia)

Were the unresolved conflicts in the post-Soviet space, in particular the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, discussed at the NATO Summit in Chicago? If yes, in what format and from what angle?

The protracted regional conflicts in the post-Soviet space were discussed only inasmuch to affirm of the need that these be resolved. Though the support “of the territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova” was reaffirmed as was the need to resolve these on the basis of international law, NATO basically went through the motions regarding the post-Soviet space and included the aforementioned language in the Resolution in order to have something to say as per its principles and those of the UN Charter. Much depends on its evolving relations with Russia which the Summit did not necessarily deal with properly given Putin’s absence.

Anna Bartkulashvili, freelance reporter (Azerbaijan)

1. Before the beginning of the summit the American expert Alfred Ross forecasted that in Chicago America was going to ask for additional funding, soldiers and fighters from its NATO allies. What particular problems have conditioned such a prognosis and to what extent have they been solved at the summit?

None of these issues have been resolved as the Summit showed that the European Allies are either unwilling or unable to invest more in terms of defense. In fact, European defense spending has fallen by more than 24 billion USD in the last three years while the Libyan operation that Europe led could not have been completed successfully without US involvement including electronic jamming, air defense suppression, 80 percent of the fuel and most of the bombs uses in the operation. As the European allies reduce their defense capabilities and commitments and the gap with the US grows, so does the frustration and impatience in Washington. Similarly, the drawdown in Afghanistan is also troubling and is not properly planned.

2. What does NATO’s “smart defense” program consist in and what was the particular cause of adopting it?

“Smart Defense” is an attempt to optimize the diminishing commitment to the Alliance by its European allies and the need of the US to shift some of its resources to other threats such as the Pacific. In times of budgetary austerity, the focus is on specialization and cooperation or in other words, how to do more with less. Discussions between France and the United Kingdom about the prospect of sharing their aircraft carriers are indicative of the potential of “Smart Defense.” The objective is to ensure that NATO and its member states maintain the military capabilities to undertake the core tasks of the Alliance as these are put forward in the new Strategic Concept which was adopted at the Lisbon Summit in 2010.

3. Was it possible to efficiently react to all the problems NATO is currently facing and what priority directions for activity were selected at the Summit?

No. NATO is in trouble because both the political commitment of many of its European allies as well as their material commitments are lacking. NATO has evolved into a defense organization with global reach given the exigencies of today’s globalized world at a time of dwindling resources and a false sense of security in many European countries as well as the implications of future or lack thereof of the eurozone. As a result, the Chicago Summit raises awareness of the myriad of security challenges and proposes some initiatives but does not necessarily put forward a new strategic blueprint.

Tarana, www.contact.az (Azerbaijan)

What place did the issue of NATO’s future development occupy on the agenda of the Summit?

The issues of future capabilities and the need to implement Smart Defense as well as strengthened partnerships with countries such as Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, inter alia, were raised in the Summit and hold a prominent part of the Summit Declaration. Yet, these cannot be successfully implemented if the current European mindset with reduced defense spending and capabilities does not change.

Emil Babayan, www.news.am (Armenia)

What were the results achieved at the Chicago Summit after the discussion of the strategy in Afghanistan before and after 2014? Will the Afghan party be ready to assume complete responsibility for ensuring the security in the country at the time of the withdrawal of NATO troops, and will the civil war in Afghanistan have been suspended by that time? What achievements and failures in Afghanistan were highlighted in the Chicago Summit?

The drawdown in Afghanistan was a major part of the Chicago Summit. Decisions were taken regarding the reduction of the military presence of NATO troops, yet there seems to be a preoccupation with the fact that the withdrawal of troops is coming at a time that the Taliban are becoming more emboldened with attacks across the country. Also at play are the funds that the Afghan National Security Forces require to meet the challenges of transition and taking the lead. Out of the expected 4.1 billion USD needed by the Afghan security forces per year, 1.3 billion USD need to be provided by non-NATO members and partners. But there seems to be a shortfall.

Emma Bayramova, www.tribuna.ge (Georgia)

1. What’s new in comparison with previous decisions on Georgia in the documents of Chicago Summit?

The new developments regarding Georgia are the remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the need to deal with enlargement at the next summit and the participation of Georgia in the meeting between NATO and the aspirant countries. This does not mean that the Chicago Summit was very clear on the prospects of future enlargement for Georgia.

2. Does Georgia have progressive achievements on its way to the Alliance?

Though Georgia has met many of the criteria for membership, the fact that it has not yet started negotiations for a Membership Action Plan (MAP) is detrimental to its bid in contrast to the other aspirant countries from Southeastern Europe. The Georgian government deftly downplayed expectations before the Summit, yet it is not happy that the Chicago Summit Declaration only reaffirms the decision taken in Bucharest that Georgia will one day join the Alliance. Clearly much depends on the results of the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia this year and its Presidential ones in October 2013.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Related posts:

  1. Armenia Shuns NATO Summit Over ‘Pro-Azeri’ Declaration
  2. German Envoy Regrets Armenian Boycott Of NATO Summit
  3. Chicago Declaration addresses Karabakh conflict
  4. Armenian Opposition Bloc Condemns President Sarkisian For NATO Summit Boycott
  5. Armenian Foreign Minister Delivers a Speech at The NATO Summit In Lisbon

New Children’s Picture Book From Armenian Folklore

12:16, July 12, 2012

Dimitrios Triantaphyllou (Turkey), director of the Center for International and European Studies of Kadir Has University (Istanbul).

Sona Kyurkchyan, www.hetq.am (Armenia)

1. What makes the Chicago Summit different from the previously held NATO summits, what was its final outcome?

Nothing really other than the fact that it was held in President Obama’s hometown during an election year. It also came at the heels of the more groundbreaking Lisbon Summit of 2010 which launched a new Strategic Concept for the Alliance. It seems that although it was the first post-Arab Spring Summit and post Libya operation Summit, this wasn’t enough to produce major news except maybe to reaffirm that NATO is adrift with the European allies unable or unwilling to contribute more in terms of resources to the Alliance. The European allies can deploy only about 5 percent of their troops for NATO operations.

2. How does NATO intend to act in the future if not all Alliance members agree to conducting operations in this or that region? Has the Chicago Summit considered the precedence of some members’ refusal to participate in the operations against Libya?

I would tend to agree with the assessment of Thomas Ries who in a recent article suggested that the result of the inability of the European allies to contribute in a coherent manner to the evolving global security environment is “a lost alliance: unable to orient itself, unable to look forward, unable to specify vital strategic interests beyond basic platitudes, unable to agree which future threats to focus on, and unable to generate military forces capable of addressing them.” This growing deficit within NATO is compounded by the shortcomings of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) in which many of NATO’s European allies take part.

3. Why after the NATO Summit in Lisbon which was not attended by the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan because of the language of adopted resolutions, a document with the same language on the conflicts in the territories of CIS countries was adopted at the Chicago Summit?

NATO is keeping closely to its principles regarding the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of all states involved in “protracted” conflicts – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Moldova. Armenia could not expect different language in the Chicago Summit Declaration given the makeup of the Alliance’s members and the concerns that many raise regarding the principle of territorial integrity of states. This is also somewhat linked to the development of relations between Russia and NATO and Russia’s uneasiness regarding relations between Armenia and NATO.

Angela Khachatryan, www.1in.am (Armenia)

Have Georgia’s expectations from the Chicago Summit come true and do the adopted documents mean that Georgia will become a country to be admitted into the Alliance in the course of the following stage of NATO enlargement? When do you think such an expansion may take place?

I am not sure that Georgia’s expectations were necessarily met by the Chicago Summit regarding its eventual accession to NATO albeit Secretary Clinton’s remarks that the next Summit would be an enlargement one. Much would depend on the priorities of the next US administration and its relationship with Russia on a variety of global challenges as well as the outcome of the forthcoming elections in Georgia.

Armen Minasyan, www.panorama.am (Armenia)

1. The official Ankara had made a statement against Israel’s participation in the Chicago Summit. Do you think such behavior is in line with NATO principles, if we are to take into consideration the fact that a dialogue at all levels is especially important for ensuring regional security?

Of course, Ankara’s position is not in line with NATO principles. Ankara, in fact, also tried to promote without success the membership of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia by attempting to change the decision by the Alliance (including Turkey) in the Bucharest Summit of 2008 to the detriment of Greek interests. Nevertheless, Turkey is an important regional security and economic actor and its growing importance needs to be taken into account. Ankara’s perceived isolation from the West on many fronts (ranging from the stalled EU accession process to its difficult neighborhood) suggests that a better understanding of Ankara’s positions need to be considered without implying that these have to be adopted wholesale by the Alliance.

2. What do you think the main outcome of the Chicago Summit was? What place did the issues of NATO enlargement through the admission of new members occupy among the adopted decisions?

The main outcome of the Chicago Summit was that the Alliance is in trouble as it failed to address seriously its strategic imperatives. There is a lack of strategic thinking by the European allies that seem to be more concerned with the threat of the financial/ sovereign debt crisis than their global responsibilities. The Libyan operation brought many of these shortcomings to the fore as the United States bore the bulk of the operation and its costs. The Chicago Summit spent time on other issues such as Afghanistan, future capabilities, and partnerships but none of these could be considered truly strategic. Similarly, the future enlargement of the Alliance was left to the future.

David Stepanyan, www.arminfo.am(Armenia)

Were the unresolved conflicts in the post-Soviet space, in particular the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, discussed at the NATO Summit in Chicago? If yes, in what format and from what angle?

The protracted regional conflicts in the post-Soviet space were discussed only inasmuch to affirm of the need that these be resolved. Though the support “of the territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova” was reaffirmed as was the need to resolve these on the basis of international law, NATO basically went through the motions regarding the post-Soviet space and included the aforementioned language in the Resolution in order to have something to say as per its principles and those of the UN Charter. Much depends on its evolving relations with Russia which the Summit did not necessarily deal with properly given Putin’s absence.

Anna Bartkulashvili, freelance reporter (Azerbaijan)

1. Before the beginning of the summit the American expert Alfred Ross forecasted that in Chicago America was going to ask for additional funding, soldiers and fighters from its NATO allies. What particular problems have conditioned such a prognosis and to what extent have they been solved at the summit?

None of these issues have been resolved as the Summit showed that the European Allies are either unwilling or unable to invest more in terms of defense. In fact, European defense spending has fallen by more than 24 billion USD in the last three years while the Libyan operation that Europe led could not have been completed successfully without US involvement including electronic jamming, air defense suppression, 80 percent of the fuel and most of the bombs uses in the operation. As the European allies reduce their defense capabilities and commitments and the gap with the US grows, so does the frustration and impatience in Washington. Similarly, the drawdown in Afghanistan is also troubling and is not properly planned.

2. What does NATO’s “smart defense” program consist in and what was the particular cause of adopting it?

“Smart Defense” is an attempt to optimize the diminishing commitment to the Alliance by its European allies and the need of the US to shift some of its resources to other threats such as the Pacific. In times of budgetary austerity, the focus is on specialization and cooperation or in other words, how to do more with less. Discussions between France and the United Kingdom about the prospect of sharing their aircraft carriers are indicative of the potential of “Smart Defense.” The objective is to ensure that NATO and its member states maintain the military capabilities to undertake the core tasks of the Alliance as these are put forward in the new Strategic Concept which was adopted at the Lisbon Summit in 2010.

3. Was it possible to efficiently react to all the problems NATO is currently facing and what priority directions for activity were selected at the Summit?

No. NATO is in trouble because both the political commitment of many of its European allies as well as their material commitments are lacking. NATO has evolved into a defense organization with global reach given the exigencies of today’s globalized world at a time of dwindling resources and a false sense of security in many European countries as well as the implications of future or lack thereof of the eurozone. As a result, the Chicago Summit raises awareness of the myriad of security challenges and proposes some initiatives but does not necessarily put forward a new strategic blueprint.

Tarana, www.contact.az (Azerbaijan)

What place did the issue of NATO’s future development occupy on the agenda of the Summit?

The issues of future capabilities and the need to implement Smart Defense as well as strengthened partnerships with countries such as Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, inter alia, were raised in the Summit and hold a prominent part of the Summit Declaration. Yet, these cannot be successfully implemented if the current European mindset with reduced defense spending and capabilities does not change.

Emil Babayan, www.news.am (Armenia)

What were the results achieved at the Chicago Summit after the discussion of the strategy in Afghanistan before and after 2014? Will the Afghan party be ready to assume complete responsibility for ensuring the security in the country at the time of the withdrawal of NATO troops, and will the civil war in Afghanistan have been suspended by that time? What achievements and failures in Afghanistan were highlighted in the Chicago Summit?

The drawdown in Afghanistan was a major part of the Chicago Summit. Decisions were taken regarding the reduction of the military presence of NATO troops, yet there seems to be a preoccupation with the fact that the withdrawal of troops is coming at a time that the Taliban are becoming more emboldened with attacks across the country. Also at play are the funds that the Afghan National Security Forces require to meet the challenges of transition and taking the lead. Out of the expected 4.1 billion USD needed by the Afghan security forces per year, 1.3 billion USD need to be provided by non-NATO members and partners. But there seems to be a shortfall.

Emma Bayramova, www.tribuna.ge (Georgia)

1. What’s new in comparison with previous decisions on Georgia in the documents of Chicago Summit?

The new developments regarding Georgia are the remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the need to deal with enlargement at the next summit and the participation of Georgia in the meeting between NATO and the aspirant countries. This does not mean that the Chicago Summit was very clear on the prospects of future enlargement for Georgia.

2. Does Georgia have progressive achievements on its way to the Alliance?

Though Georgia has met many of the criteria for membership, the fact that it has not yet started negotiations for a Membership Action Plan (MAP) is detrimental to its bid in contrast to the other aspirant countries from Southeastern Europe. The Georgian government deftly downplayed expectations before the Summit, yet it is not happy that the Chicago Summit Declaration only reaffirms the decision taken in Bucharest that Georgia will one day join the Alliance. Clearly much depends on the results of the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia this year and its Presidential ones in October 2013.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Related posts:

  1. Armenia Shuns NATO Summit Over ‘Pro-Azeri’ Declaration
  2. German Envoy Regrets Armenian Boycott Of NATO Summit
  3. Chicago Declaration addresses Karabakh conflict
  4. Armenian Opposition Bloc Condemns President Sarkisian For NATO Summit Boycott
  5. Armenian Foreign Minister Delivers a Speech at The NATO Summit In Lisbon

“We Need To Lift The Armenian Taboo”

12:16, July 12, 2012

Dimitrios Triantaphyllou (Turkey), director of the Center for International and European Studies of Kadir Has University (Istanbul).

Sona Kyurkchyan, www.hetq.am (Armenia)

1. What makes the Chicago Summit different from the previously held NATO summits, what was its final outcome?

Nothing really other than the fact that it was held in President Obama’s hometown during an election year. It also came at the heels of the more groundbreaking Lisbon Summit of 2010 which launched a new Strategic Concept for the Alliance. It seems that although it was the first post-Arab Spring Summit and post Libya operation Summit, this wasn’t enough to produce major news except maybe to reaffirm that NATO is adrift with the European allies unable or unwilling to contribute more in terms of resources to the Alliance. The European allies can deploy only about 5 percent of their troops for NATO operations.

2. How does NATO intend to act in the future if not all Alliance members agree to conducting operations in this or that region? Has the Chicago Summit considered the precedence of some members’ refusal to participate in the operations against Libya?

I would tend to agree with the assessment of Thomas Ries who in a recent article suggested that the result of the inability of the European allies to contribute in a coherent manner to the evolving global security environment is “a lost alliance: unable to orient itself, unable to look forward, unable to specify vital strategic interests beyond basic platitudes, unable to agree which future threats to focus on, and unable to generate military forces capable of addressing them.” This growing deficit within NATO is compounded by the shortcomings of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) in which many of NATO’s European allies take part.

3. Why after the NATO Summit in Lisbon which was not attended by the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan because of the language of adopted resolutions, a document with the same language on the conflicts in the territories of CIS countries was adopted at the Chicago Summit?

NATO is keeping closely to its principles regarding the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of all states involved in “protracted” conflicts – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Moldova. Armenia could not expect different language in the Chicago Summit Declaration given the makeup of the Alliance’s members and the concerns that many raise regarding the principle of territorial integrity of states. This is also somewhat linked to the development of relations between Russia and NATO and Russia’s uneasiness regarding relations between Armenia and NATO.

Angela Khachatryan, www.1in.am (Armenia)

Have Georgia’s expectations from the Chicago Summit come true and do the adopted documents mean that Georgia will become a country to be admitted into the Alliance in the course of the following stage of NATO enlargement? When do you think such an expansion may take place?

I am not sure that Georgia’s expectations were necessarily met by the Chicago Summit regarding its eventual accession to NATO albeit Secretary Clinton’s remarks that the next Summit would be an enlargement one. Much would depend on the priorities of the next US administration and its relationship with Russia on a variety of global challenges as well as the outcome of the forthcoming elections in Georgia.

Armen Minasyan, www.panorama.am (Armenia)

1. The official Ankara had made a statement against Israel’s participation in the Chicago Summit. Do you think such behavior is in line with NATO principles, if we are to take into consideration the fact that a dialogue at all levels is especially important for ensuring regional security?

Of course, Ankara’s position is not in line with NATO principles. Ankara, in fact, also tried to promote without success the membership of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia by attempting to change the decision by the Alliance (including Turkey) in the Bucharest Summit of 2008 to the detriment of Greek interests. Nevertheless, Turkey is an important regional security and economic actor and its growing importance needs to be taken into account. Ankara’s perceived isolation from the West on many fronts (ranging from the stalled EU accession process to its difficult neighborhood) suggests that a better understanding of Ankara’s positions need to be considered without implying that these have to be adopted wholesale by the Alliance.

2. What do you think the main outcome of the Chicago Summit was? What place did the issues of NATO enlargement through the admission of new members occupy among the adopted decisions?

The main outcome of the Chicago Summit was that the Alliance is in trouble as it failed to address seriously its strategic imperatives. There is a lack of strategic thinking by the European allies that seem to be more concerned with the threat of the financial/ sovereign debt crisis than their global responsibilities. The Libyan operation brought many of these shortcomings to the fore as the United States bore the bulk of the operation and its costs. The Chicago Summit spent time on other issues such as Afghanistan, future capabilities, and partnerships but none of these could be considered truly strategic. Similarly, the future enlargement of the Alliance was left to the future.

David Stepanyan, www.arminfo.am(Armenia)

Were the unresolved conflicts in the post-Soviet space, in particular the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, discussed at the NATO Summit in Chicago? If yes, in what format and from what angle?

The protracted regional conflicts in the post-Soviet space were discussed only inasmuch to affirm of the need that these be resolved. Though the support “of the territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova” was reaffirmed as was the need to resolve these on the basis of international law, NATO basically went through the motions regarding the post-Soviet space and included the aforementioned language in the Resolution in order to have something to say as per its principles and those of the UN Charter. Much depends on its evolving relations with Russia which the Summit did not necessarily deal with properly given Putin’s absence.

Anna Bartkulashvili, freelance reporter (Azerbaijan)

1. Before the beginning of the summit the American expert Alfred Ross forecasted that in Chicago America was going to ask for additional funding, soldiers and fighters from its NATO allies. What particular problems have conditioned such a prognosis and to what extent have they been solved at the summit?

None of these issues have been resolved as the Summit showed that the European Allies are either unwilling or unable to invest more in terms of defense. In fact, European defense spending has fallen by more than 24 billion USD in the last three years while the Libyan operation that Europe led could not have been completed successfully without US involvement including electronic jamming, air defense suppression, 80 percent of the fuel and most of the bombs uses in the operation. As the European allies reduce their defense capabilities and commitments and the gap with the US grows, so does the frustration and impatience in Washington. Similarly, the drawdown in Afghanistan is also troubling and is not properly planned.

2. What does NATO’s “smart defense” program consist in and what was the particular cause of adopting it?

“Smart Defense” is an attempt to optimize the diminishing commitment to the Alliance by its European allies and the need of the US to shift some of its resources to other threats such as the Pacific. In times of budgetary austerity, the focus is on specialization and cooperation or in other words, how to do more with less. Discussions between France and the United Kingdom about the prospect of sharing their aircraft carriers are indicative of the potential of “Smart Defense.” The objective is to ensure that NATO and its member states maintain the military capabilities to undertake the core tasks of the Alliance as these are put forward in the new Strategic Concept which was adopted at the Lisbon Summit in 2010.

3. Was it possible to efficiently react to all the problems NATO is currently facing and what priority directions for activity were selected at the Summit?

No. NATO is in trouble because both the political commitment of many of its European allies as well as their material commitments are lacking. NATO has evolved into a defense organization with global reach given the exigencies of today’s globalized world at a time of dwindling resources and a false sense of security in many European countries as well as the implications of future or lack thereof of the eurozone. As a result, the Chicago Summit raises awareness of the myriad of security challenges and proposes some initiatives but does not necessarily put forward a new strategic blueprint.

Tarana, www.contact.az (Azerbaijan)

What place did the issue of NATO’s future development occupy on the agenda of the Summit?

The issues of future capabilities and the need to implement Smart Defense as well as strengthened partnerships with countries such as Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, inter alia, were raised in the Summit and hold a prominent part of the Summit Declaration. Yet, these cannot be successfully implemented if the current European mindset with reduced defense spending and capabilities does not change.

Emil Babayan, www.news.am (Armenia)

What were the results achieved at the Chicago Summit after the discussion of the strategy in Afghanistan before and after 2014? Will the Afghan party be ready to assume complete responsibility for ensuring the security in the country at the time of the withdrawal of NATO troops, and will the civil war in Afghanistan have been suspended by that time? What achievements and failures in Afghanistan were highlighted in the Chicago Summit?

The drawdown in Afghanistan was a major part of the Chicago Summit. Decisions were taken regarding the reduction of the military presence of NATO troops, yet there seems to be a preoccupation with the fact that the withdrawal of troops is coming at a time that the Taliban are becoming more emboldened with attacks across the country. Also at play are the funds that the Afghan National Security Forces require to meet the challenges of transition and taking the lead. Out of the expected 4.1 billion USD needed by the Afghan security forces per year, 1.3 billion USD need to be provided by non-NATO members and partners. But there seems to be a shortfall.

Emma Bayramova, www.tribuna.ge (Georgia)

1. What’s new in comparison with previous decisions on Georgia in the documents of Chicago Summit?

The new developments regarding Georgia are the remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the need to deal with enlargement at the next summit and the participation of Georgia in the meeting between NATO and the aspirant countries. This does not mean that the Chicago Summit was very clear on the prospects of future enlargement for Georgia.

2. Does Georgia have progressive achievements on its way to the Alliance?

Though Georgia has met many of the criteria for membership, the fact that it has not yet started negotiations for a Membership Action Plan (MAP) is detrimental to its bid in contrast to the other aspirant countries from Southeastern Europe. The Georgian government deftly downplayed expectations before the Summit, yet it is not happy that the Chicago Summit Declaration only reaffirms the decision taken in Bucharest that Georgia will one day join the Alliance. Clearly much depends on the results of the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia this year and its Presidential ones in October 2013.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Related posts:

  1. Armenia Shuns NATO Summit Over ‘Pro-Azeri’ Declaration
  2. German Envoy Regrets Armenian Boycott Of NATO Summit
  3. Chicago Declaration addresses Karabakh conflict
  4. Armenian Opposition Bloc Condemns President Sarkisian For NATO Summit Boycott
  5. Armenian Foreign Minister Delivers a Speech at The NATO Summit In Lisbon

US Media Discusses The Armenian Genocide

12:16, July 12, 2012

Dimitrios Triantaphyllou (Turkey), director of the Center for International and European Studies of Kadir Has University (Istanbul).

Sona Kyurkchyan, www.hetq.am (Armenia)

1. What makes the Chicago Summit different from the previously held NATO summits, what was its final outcome?

Nothing really other than the fact that it was held in President Obama’s hometown during an election year. It also came at the heels of the more groundbreaking Lisbon Summit of 2010 which launched a new Strategic Concept for the Alliance. It seems that although it was the first post-Arab Spring Summit and post Libya operation Summit, this wasn’t enough to produce major news except maybe to reaffirm that NATO is adrift with the European allies unable or unwilling to contribute more in terms of resources to the Alliance. The European allies can deploy only about 5 percent of their troops for NATO operations.

2. How does NATO intend to act in the future if not all Alliance members agree to conducting operations in this or that region? Has the Chicago Summit considered the precedence of some members’ refusal to participate in the operations against Libya?

I would tend to agree with the assessment of Thomas Ries who in a recent article suggested that the result of the inability of the European allies to contribute in a coherent manner to the evolving global security environment is “a lost alliance: unable to orient itself, unable to look forward, unable to specify vital strategic interests beyond basic platitudes, unable to agree which future threats to focus on, and unable to generate military forces capable of addressing them.” This growing deficit within NATO is compounded by the shortcomings of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) in which many of NATO’s European allies take part.

3. Why after the NATO Summit in Lisbon which was not attended by the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan because of the language of adopted resolutions, a document with the same language on the conflicts in the territories of CIS countries was adopted at the Chicago Summit?

NATO is keeping closely to its principles regarding the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of all states involved in “protracted” conflicts – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Moldova. Armenia could not expect different language in the Chicago Summit Declaration given the makeup of the Alliance’s members and the concerns that many raise regarding the principle of territorial integrity of states. This is also somewhat linked to the development of relations between Russia and NATO and Russia’s uneasiness regarding relations between Armenia and NATO.

Angela Khachatryan, www.1in.am (Armenia)

Have Georgia’s expectations from the Chicago Summit come true and do the adopted documents mean that Georgia will become a country to be admitted into the Alliance in the course of the following stage of NATO enlargement? When do you think such an expansion may take place?

I am not sure that Georgia’s expectations were necessarily met by the Chicago Summit regarding its eventual accession to NATO albeit Secretary Clinton’s remarks that the next Summit would be an enlargement one. Much would depend on the priorities of the next US administration and its relationship with Russia on a variety of global challenges as well as the outcome of the forthcoming elections in Georgia.

Armen Minasyan, www.panorama.am (Armenia)

1. The official Ankara had made a statement against Israel’s participation in the Chicago Summit. Do you think such behavior is in line with NATO principles, if we are to take into consideration the fact that a dialogue at all levels is especially important for ensuring regional security?

Of course, Ankara’s position is not in line with NATO principles. Ankara, in fact, also tried to promote without success the membership of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia by attempting to change the decision by the Alliance (including Turkey) in the Bucharest Summit of 2008 to the detriment of Greek interests. Nevertheless, Turkey is an important regional security and economic actor and its growing importance needs to be taken into account. Ankara’s perceived isolation from the West on many fronts (ranging from the stalled EU accession process to its difficult neighborhood) suggests that a better understanding of Ankara’s positions need to be considered without implying that these have to be adopted wholesale by the Alliance.

2. What do you think the main outcome of the Chicago Summit was? What place did the issues of NATO enlargement through the admission of new members occupy among the adopted decisions?

The main outcome of the Chicago Summit was that the Alliance is in trouble as it failed to address seriously its strategic imperatives. There is a lack of strategic thinking by the European allies that seem to be more concerned with the threat of the financial/ sovereign debt crisis than their global responsibilities. The Libyan operation brought many of these shortcomings to the fore as the United States bore the bulk of the operation and its costs. The Chicago Summit spent time on other issues such as Afghanistan, future capabilities, and partnerships but none of these could be considered truly strategic. Similarly, the future enlargement of the Alliance was left to the future.

David Stepanyan, www.arminfo.am(Armenia)

Were the unresolved conflicts in the post-Soviet space, in particular the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, discussed at the NATO Summit in Chicago? If yes, in what format and from what angle?

The protracted regional conflicts in the post-Soviet space were discussed only inasmuch to affirm of the need that these be resolved. Though the support “of the territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova” was reaffirmed as was the need to resolve these on the basis of international law, NATO basically went through the motions regarding the post-Soviet space and included the aforementioned language in the Resolution in order to have something to say as per its principles and those of the UN Charter. Much depends on its evolving relations with Russia which the Summit did not necessarily deal with properly given Putin’s absence.

Anna Bartkulashvili, freelance reporter (Azerbaijan)

1. Before the beginning of the summit the American expert Alfred Ross forecasted that in Chicago America was going to ask for additional funding, soldiers and fighters from its NATO allies. What particular problems have conditioned such a prognosis and to what extent have they been solved at the summit?

None of these issues have been resolved as the Summit showed that the European Allies are either unwilling or unable to invest more in terms of defense. In fact, European defense spending has fallen by more than 24 billion USD in the last three years while the Libyan operation that Europe led could not have been completed successfully without US involvement including electronic jamming, air defense suppression, 80 percent of the fuel and most of the bombs uses in the operation. As the European allies reduce their defense capabilities and commitments and the gap with the US grows, so does the frustration and impatience in Washington. Similarly, the drawdown in Afghanistan is also troubling and is not properly planned.

2. What does NATO’s “smart defense” program consist in and what was the particular cause of adopting it?

“Smart Defense” is an attempt to optimize the diminishing commitment to the Alliance by its European allies and the need of the US to shift some of its resources to other threats such as the Pacific. In times of budgetary austerity, the focus is on specialization and cooperation or in other words, how to do more with less. Discussions between France and the United Kingdom about the prospect of sharing their aircraft carriers are indicative of the potential of “Smart Defense.” The objective is to ensure that NATO and its member states maintain the military capabilities to undertake the core tasks of the Alliance as these are put forward in the new Strategic Concept which was adopted at the Lisbon Summit in 2010.

3. Was it possible to efficiently react to all the problems NATO is currently facing and what priority directions for activity were selected at the Summit?

No. NATO is in trouble because both the political commitment of many of its European allies as well as their material commitments are lacking. NATO has evolved into a defense organization with global reach given the exigencies of today’s globalized world at a time of dwindling resources and a false sense of security in many European countries as well as the implications of future or lack thereof of the eurozone. As a result, the Chicago Summit raises awareness of the myriad of security challenges and proposes some initiatives but does not necessarily put forward a new strategic blueprint.

Tarana, www.contact.az (Azerbaijan)

What place did the issue of NATO’s future development occupy on the agenda of the Summit?

The issues of future capabilities and the need to implement Smart Defense as well as strengthened partnerships with countries such as Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, inter alia, were raised in the Summit and hold a prominent part of the Summit Declaration. Yet, these cannot be successfully implemented if the current European mindset with reduced defense spending and capabilities does not change.

Emil Babayan, www.news.am (Armenia)

What were the results achieved at the Chicago Summit after the discussion of the strategy in Afghanistan before and after 2014? Will the Afghan party be ready to assume complete responsibility for ensuring the security in the country at the time of the withdrawal of NATO troops, and will the civil war in Afghanistan have been suspended by that time? What achievements and failures in Afghanistan were highlighted in the Chicago Summit?

The drawdown in Afghanistan was a major part of the Chicago Summit. Decisions were taken regarding the reduction of the military presence of NATO troops, yet there seems to be a preoccupation with the fact that the withdrawal of troops is coming at a time that the Taliban are becoming more emboldened with attacks across the country. Also at play are the funds that the Afghan National Security Forces require to meet the challenges of transition and taking the lead. Out of the expected 4.1 billion USD needed by the Afghan security forces per year, 1.3 billion USD need to be provided by non-NATO members and partners. But there seems to be a shortfall.

Emma Bayramova, www.tribuna.ge (Georgia)

1. What’s new in comparison with previous decisions on Georgia in the documents of Chicago Summit?

The new developments regarding Georgia are the remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the need to deal with enlargement at the next summit and the participation of Georgia in the meeting between NATO and the aspirant countries. This does not mean that the Chicago Summit was very clear on the prospects of future enlargement for Georgia.

2. Does Georgia have progressive achievements on its way to the Alliance?

Though Georgia has met many of the criteria for membership, the fact that it has not yet started negotiations for a Membership Action Plan (MAP) is detrimental to its bid in contrast to the other aspirant countries from Southeastern Europe. The Georgian government deftly downplayed expectations before the Summit, yet it is not happy that the Chicago Summit Declaration only reaffirms the decision taken in Bucharest that Georgia will one day join the Alliance. Clearly much depends on the results of the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia this year and its Presidential ones in October 2013.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Related posts:

  1. Armenia Shuns NATO Summit Over ‘Pro-Azeri’ Declaration
  2. German Envoy Regrets Armenian Boycott Of NATO Summit
  3. Chicago Declaration addresses Karabakh conflict
  4. Armenian Opposition Bloc Condemns President Sarkisian For NATO Summit Boycott
  5. Armenian Foreign Minister Delivers a Speech at The NATO Summit In Lisbon

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Commentary

China: President Takes Action Against High Ranking Corrupt Officials

Image 55858.jpg

21:31, July 30, 2014

Zhou Yongkang, one of China’s most powerful former leaders, is under investigation in the highest-level corruption inquiry since the Communist Party came into power in 1949.

Under current president Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection is investigating Zhou for “serious disciplinary violations,” as the officialXinhua news agency reports. Media has not yet, however, specified the allegations against him.

The probe is an attempt to show the length to which Xi and the party will go in order to combat abuse of power reportsThe Wall Street Journal. 

A commentary published in the officialPeoples Daily makes the point that regardless of  an official’s rank or supporters, punishment will result for violating laws or the party’s discipline. 

In recent years an agreement has been in place  ensuring that for the sake of party unity,  most senior figures would not be investigated. Zhou’s case has been the first to break the agreement and is aimed at party purity instead. Communists are hoping to stay legitimate and to win more supporters. 

The anti-corruption campaign has realized its vow of no off-limit targets, says political scientist Zhang Ming in The Guardian.

reportingproject.net

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Related posts:

  1. China: Anti-Corruption Probe Targets Top Officials
  2. Over 182,000 officials punished in China graft crackdown
  3. China: Victims Claim Anti-Corruption Probe Employs Torture
  4. Civic Activists Demand Action Against ‘Corrupt’ Ex-Minister
  5. Jailed Former High Ranking Armenian Officials Deny Bribery Charges

Armenian Gangs: Caught between an Archetype and a Cliché

Image 55647.jpg

19:15, July 12, 2014

By Marineh Khachadour

“The whole thing started with a scene straight out of a mobster movie. It was around 6 p.m. when more than a dozen men from two organized crime groups opened fire on each other in a North Hollywood parking lot. Witnesses say nearly everyone was armed, and the shootout quickly went mobile. The men took off in cars, exchanging fire as they weaved through the Whitsett Avenue traffic.”

Stories such as this are not unique to Armenians in the American press, but this investigative report recently published in the LA Weekly is about Armenian Power, the Los Angeles based Armenian gang that operates in the heavily Armenian populated communities of Glendale, Burbank, and North Hollywood.

The writer describes the members of the group as “gun-toting defendants” driving flashy cars “and connected to elaborate schemes in bank fraud, identity theft and other highly sophisticated white-collar crimes.”

Armenian Power originated in the 1980s by young Armenians, mainly from Soviet Armenia, to protect themselves from Mexican gangs in Los Angeles high schools. In time the organization developed working relations with the latter and shifted focus from fighting for territory to fighting for money and power.

My initial reaction to the report, like to all things Armenian, is visceral. Besides the fact that the horrific nature of the group’s actions turns my stomach, I feel angry. There are many positive contributions Armenians make to the communities they live in, so why point out the negative?

I think and catch myself in doing something very typically Armenian: reacting defensively when a non-Armenian criticizes my people. I immediately want to blame someone, mainly the person who is pointing a finger in my direction. This is a natural reaction for those of us who take pride in belonging to a lineage older than Noah’s Ark.

Ancient is the Armenian archetype – our intuitive behavior that has proven to withstand the test of time. We’ve been around so long, we consider ourselves to be wise and flawless. It is in our ethnic genome to revere the old and be doubtful of the new, to respect the elder as authority and dismiss the young as naive and inexperienced, to move in time and space, but not leave the past and the home we left behind. Any divergence from what has history and is the norm, we perceive as deficient, abnormal, lacking.

Young Armenians in American public schools faced with anything but the norm, as they know it, are caught by surprise like objects uprooted by cyclonic winds.

When life throws us into the realm of the unexpected or takes us out of our element, when it forces us to question our truths and face our shortcomings that make us seem not so perfect, we feel ashamed and become unforgiving. This quickly leads us on to the path of self-loathing. Our genesis, the very thing that is the source of our pride and the reason for our being, becomes our handicap in the youth-crazed, ever changing culture of the new world. We feel betrayed.

Additionally, we have been conditioned to put on our best face in public, regardless of what is going on inside. This archetype was reinforced during the Soviet era. We do not air our dirty laundry in public, but proudly display our clean, shiny load in front of our balconies and windows literally and figuratively. We even pride ourselves in the way we pin the pieces next to each other on the clothesline!

So, regardless of our circumstances, we find ways to put on a front like the well choreographed parades of the Soviet government. For God’s sake, we were the first people to adopt Christianity as our state religion! Never mind that our church is void of spirituality and our God cares more about the dead than the living.

Then we boast, and when others dare to not appreciate our genius with expected enthusiasm, we resort to demeaning, deprecating commentary and are not shy about projecting our negative feelings. No one is good enough, smart enough, deserving enough as Armenians. We’re the oldest and the wisest, and therefore most deserving of respect and appreciation.

More than once I have had to counsel a distraught Armenian parent complaining about how people make fun of their perfect child because he/she does not look or act like them.

When our expectations are not met, we are wounded and insulted. This is when the daredevil gene kicks in, and we don’t hesitate to give our perceived enemy a piece of our mind, or show off a flexed muscle.

We call this taseeb (honor): a sentiment that forces an Armenian to pick up a rifle and defend his physical and psychological turf. It is the same sentiment that drives a young Armenian to defend himself from insults and aggression, real or perceived, from a person of a different ethnicity in an American high school.

These archetypes are some of the underlying factors that lead Armenian youth into conflicting situations outside their circles.

In a new and changing world, old archetypes no longer serve the needs of the people, while the new ones are constantly elusive. Coupled with the desire to belong and to fit in, this drives people to adopt clichés that are readily available in a world congested with material, ideas and attitudes. Thus, to be accepted by the out-groups, to measure up and to be competitive, they quickly adopt what is more accessible to them for putting on the “perfect face.”

Designer clothing and accessories, Mercedes, BMW, Porches, attitudes and gestures we don’t quite grasp but admire, just about anything that we perceive as distinguishing and defining the out-group we are so eager to be a part of and be appreciated by, we collect. Clichés are easy to launder, polish, and pin on one’s life’s “clothes line”. Life in the new world becomes a long string of clichés.

In the absence of archetypes, reality is re-imagined, improvised like life on a theater stage, Marshall McLuhan explains. On this stage, young people are the characters of their own show, and there is nothing in the world more important than that until new archetypes take form.

The mafia or its modern day version – gangs that are a common occurrence in societies constantly in flux – is the stage where young people play out their roles. There have been Irish,   Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Mexican gangs in America prior to the Armenians.

Every wave of new arrivals, every wave of change, brings with it a new set of expectations and challenges. While families try to decipher the laws, rules, and traditions of their new environment, the young tend to gravitate towards groups that fill the need for belonging and provide a security network.

Some, more than others, in every group are willing to break rules often to their own detriment while caught between archetypes of the old world and the clichés of the new.

Marineh Khachadour is an educator, writer, researcher working in a public school in Pasadena, California.  She lived in Armenia from 1992-1998. During that time she provided educational services and resources for Armenian women and children including refugees and served as Gender in Development Expert with UNDP, Armenia from 1995-1998.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

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Want to Write for Hetq?

Image 33145.jpg

10:24, March 14, 2014

I’m looking for freelancers who can broaden the scope of Hetq’s English edition

Arts & Culture, Commentary, Politics, Civil Society, Interviews…

Anything interesting happening in your local community you’d like to share?

Write to me with your ideas and story suggestions.

Hrant at hg.hetq@gmail.com

Source: HetqOriginial Article

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For Better or For Worse: Nature Protection Ministry Proposes Amendments to Water Use Laws

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16:44, February 14, 2014

With the goal of providing a systematic solution to issues of effective use of water resources in Ararat valley, the Ministry of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia (RA) is proposing amendments and additions to the RA Water Code, and the RA laws on the Republic of Armenia’s National Water Program, on Licensing, and on State Tax.

The proposed legislative package has been sent to the relevant state agencies for their input.

Head of the Ministry of Nature Protection’s Water Resources Management Agency Volodya Narimanyan told Hetq, said that with this amendment package his ministry is attempting to clarify the ideas and the ambiguous commentary, as well as introduce new requirements. For example, one of the main points of the proposed amendments is if water use permit conditions are not met, the water use permit might be annulled.

“In the past, if water use conditions weren’t met, we couldn’t void the permit, but now we’re making that clear. If the state gives you a water use permit with this condition, be kind and meet this condition; otherwise, we will make the permit null and void,” he explained.

A new requirement in the proposed package concerning the execution of drilling operations stipulates that a drilling company or individual must obtain a license so that the state can supervise its activities. “Those companies that execute drilling must have a license for drilling. That is, we are proposing to license activities,” he added.

After the relevant state bodies discuss and submit their opinions regarding the amendments, Narimanyan says, the package will be sent to the RA Ministry of Justice, the government, then finally to parliament.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

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2013 in Civil Society: Protests and more protests

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The struggle of civil movements this year has been comprehensive and diverse with limited success in certain fields due to unified efforts and active involvement of the civil society.

Despite the rather passive start of the year in terms of civil movements, the second half of 2013 turned out to be tense with active developments.

Some analysts believe that especially after the February 18 presidential ballot, when current president Serzh Sargsyan won a decisive victory over his opponents and was re-elected for a second term, despite the widespread poverty and atmosphere of injustice in the country, people became even more aware of the fact that is it impossible to achieve changes via elections and started practicing their constitutional rights to civil protest and disobedience more frequently.

Karabakh war veterans’ civil standoff has been unprecedented. Although, every now and then on different occasions they had complained of their social conditions and of being neglected by the state , however never before had they come out to hold systematic rallies and sitting strikes. Retired army colonel Volodya Avetisyan initiated the civil standoff in May and in October found himself behind the bars, with charges of “swindling …in large amounts”. Avetisyan’s and his comrades-in-arms claim that by bringing charges the authorities are trying to silence him. The war vets demanding increase of their pensions and various privileges have now focused their struggle on various acts of protest in Avetisyan’s support. There is another group of Karabakh war veterans presenting political demands to the government. Every Thursday they hold small rallies in Liberty Square and demand that the government resign.

Yerevan mayor Taron Margaryan’s decision to raise public bus fare by 50 percent made the hot Yerevan summer even hotter.

The decision was immediately followed by a civil movement when numerous young activists held a variety of acts of protest during five consecutive days relentlessly struggling, rebelling against the bus fare increase and made the municipal government in the Armenian capital heed the people’s voice, forcing them to understand they would not pay more for using the overloaded, worn-out and hardly functioning minibuses.

The unified effort yielded results and on July 26 the mayor suspended the application of his decision temporarily, meaning that the buses and minibuses continued operating for the same 100 dram fare (around 24 cents). The mayor, however, stated that if residents of Yerevan wanted to have decent public transport services, they have to be ready to pay more. Municipal officials and transport companies running the routes have repeatedly stated after the summer civil standoff that the rise of bus fare is unavoidable, grounding it by the fact that everything else has become more expensive except for public transport services, hence their expenses have grown and they are operating at a loss.

The departing year has turned out to be rather active also in terms of public protests against controversial construction projects. In August, residents of 10 and 12 Sayat-Nova Avenue and 5 Komitas streets, in Yerevan, rebelled against construction in their neighborhoods. These people claim that the construction licenses in densely populated zones of the city are illegal, violate the seismic resistance norms, and block their light. Despite the variety of measures the residents have resorted to, even lying down in front of construction machines to block their way, no tangible results have been achieved; their struggle is ongoing (h).

Despite a drawn-out battle to preserve unchanged Yerevan’s Pak Shuka (“Covered Market”), on the list of historical-cultural heritage and belonging to businessman MP Samvel Alexanyan, opened its doors after two years of repairs, but now as a fashionable supermarket, rather than the produce market it used to be. Although ruling Republican MP Alexanyan kept the fa

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