THO Webinar: The Future of the Transatlantic Military Alliance

THO Webinar: Future of the Transatlantic Military Alliance

14 May 20

THO hosted a webinar on Future of the Transatlantic Military Alliance featuring Admiral James Stavridis, Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander of Europe and Fikri Isik, Former Defense Minister of the Republic of Turkey.

On Thursday May 14, 2020, THO hosted, Future of the Transatlantic Military Alliance featuring Admiral James Stavridis, Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander of Europe and Fikri Isik, Former Defense Minister of the Republic of Turkey. The conversation was moderated by Carla Babb, Pentagon Correspondent of the Voice of America. 

As the conversation began, Admiral Stavridis discussed how the NATO alliance will evolve in response to this pandemic we are currently facing noted that the NATO alliance will most likely conduct training and exercises to coordinate military support and medical personnel as well as an increases in military exercises to train for circumstances like this with “stronger emphasis on medical diplomacy and humanitarian operations, NATO can be stronger than ever.” 

Mr. Isik mentioned that this is a “huge opportunity for the world to show solidarity, and NATO’s main role is spreading solidarity.” 

Further, they discussed that throughout the circumstance that the world is facing right now, militaries especially are strong in adapting amidst the present dangers and that the alliance military groups will most likely be broken up into more manageable and smaller sectors to address specific areas relating to COVID-19 and other less traditional foes. Admiral Stavridis continued that at the heart of addressing a difficult situation like the coronavirus is adaption and utilizing alliances like NATO for adaption and cooperation. 

The conversation continued as the panelists addressed what currently appears to be the alliance’s biggest threat. Mr. Isik commented that “NATO’s biggest threat right now would be terrorist activities and the instability of threats from these groups around the world, on top of a pandemic these threats will be even more serious.” Admiral Stavridis agreed and added that the Islamic State continues to be one of the largest threats and is continuing to act- unlike claims we have heard; they are not dead yet and will be a major concern along the Syrian/Turkish border. Further the influx of Russian behavior as a more aggressive actor is one that must continue to be addressed by increased reliance on the alliance. 

The conversation continued with the discussion of the S-400 as a source of tension between the US, Turkey and their NATO relationship. Mr. Isik analyzed that with the very real security concerns, the acquisition of the S-400 was one that was a last resort after failed attempts to acquire the U.S. Patriot system initially. Admiral Stavridis commented that there is a way forward through this and suggested that there should be a “technical and blended procurement solution” to continue to work with the critical Turkish ally in the region and through the strong NATO alliance.

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