By Imran Chouhdary (email@example.com)
The opportunity to visit the NATO Defense College in Rome was a learning experience in many regards. It was interesting to see how the biggest peace keeping “military” force gets educated and how its goals, methodologies and activities are evolved. I already knew that NATO constitute upon 28 members whereas, other 22 countries are working with NATO on various fronts as partners.
A civil-military coalition, NATO is expanding its goals and multiplying its activities with a well devised strategy inclined more towards the international disputes than that of defense and protection. Currently it is involved in around 200 border disputes worldwide.
Not surprisingly, the Middle East or Islamic countries are an important focus especially in the research work. A lot of work is being done in the recently established Middle East faculty (2009). NATO seems to have ambitions of solving the issues of the regions as well.
The NATO Defense College is currently working on three fronts; Education, Research and Outreach. For education, it invited leading educationists, academics and scholars from all across the world and a very well-established and well-equipped Think-Tank does the research work under highly qualified and able minds. And it possesses specialized trainers for the Specialized Outreach Program.
The delegates from across 67 countries of the world take various courses while attending more than 200 lectures in total while the field study institutions have been established in France, Germany and Britain. The NDC (Rome) does planning and the specific research on the under consideration decisions.
The officers scheduled for specific operations get training from the school in a German city ‘Oberammergau’. People from different sections (including military personals, educators, thinkers, scholars, journalists, public representatives and NGO activists) get trainings.
After our visit to the NDC in Rome, we went to the town of Sisily known as ‘Siracusa’ where institute of higher studies in Criminal Science (ISISC) is situated. Here the course on criminal justice is being taught for the judges and lawyers of various countries including Europe. According to the administration they have taught and trained almost 27000 persons during 40 years, which includes judges from Iraq, Afghanistan and other Islamic countries. Duration for courses varies from one week to six months and it cost only 250 Euros per week. The course about Sharia Law and Islamic Justice System was highly informative.
NATO came into the existence by the end of the World War II when the United Forces of Japan and Germany had terrified Europe and rendered it hopeless despite of perpetual moral, financial and armed support of United States of America (USA). Meanwhile, in 1945, Americans did ‘Trinity Test’; the first nuclear experiment and within next months, on 6th and 9th of August 1945, they carried out two nuclear attacks on the twin cities of Japan (Hiroshima & Nagasaki). After this, the rival super power USSR also started trying attaining the nuclear weapons and succeeded in doing so on 29th of August 1949.
Thus on 4th of April 1949, America signed with 11 European countries an agreement called as North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also known as NATO. The main purpose was to contain the power and influence of USSR and communism. However, in 1955, the ‘Warsaw’ pact united the countries of Eastern Europe and divided the Great Europe on the ideological basis thus again terrifying the remaining Europe.
So, NATO was actually to save the “world” from nuclear war but with the end of the Cold War, NATO also changed its objectives while shifting its focus towards the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Africa, and Afghanistan. Its expenditures are largely being sponsored by America. The Germany is second biggest donor.
Naturally, both the countries influence major decisions as well. Principally, all the member countries should be taken in confidence before any major decision but practically USA, and few other major powers, take decisions and sometimes, the Americas singlehandedly takes the decision and starts moving. The rest of the NATO has to move with it. For example, Germany, France and Belgium did not agree with the decision to attack Iraq but the America carried the strikes. In the same manner, France announced its attack on Libya without any agreement with other members.
Another important issue is the moral credibility of NATO that always finds a hostile population of the country where it does its operation. It is especially true with Islamic countries where populations always turn against NATO and demand its expulsion from the country. The NATO think tanks should carry out analysis of the reasons. Does NATO troop support groups disliked by the general masses or does it protects oppressors? Why the neutrality of NATO is always doubtful? Why it is seen with hidden agendas?
It is evident that the sentiments against America exist in Muslim world, which sees Europe as comparatively a softer power. The expectations and perceptions of Muslim world is one of the important dangers for the idea of the NATO expansion and truly globalised force. The NATO strategist should keep major resources for the rebuilding and development of the areas that come under its attack. It will pave the way in gaining the support of the local population. Moreover it will help then having a way for their respectful return and the achievements of global motives.