Experts see it as difficult for NATO to focus on the southern flank as Spain claims

Experts see it as difficult for NATO to focus on the southern flank as Spain claims


Spain has been set as one of the objectives of the NATO summit that the organization looks to the southern flank threats such as institutional and political fragility and the drug, arms and human trafficking, although the experts see it as difficult for this request to be included in the Alliance’s new security strategy. A) Yes, professors and analysts consulted by EFE agree that, ultimately, NATO will choose to focus its efforts on the threat posed by Russia or China and leave the southern flank in the hands of regional actors, with whom it will promote “cooperative security.”

For him professor of the Degree in International Relations at the European University Frederic Mertens It is obvious that the main objective of NATO is going to be to redefine its alliance against Russia, which is going to generate consequences in the other world stages. “They are going to focus all their efforts on the east and leave the southern part in the background”, despite the fact that the area includes thirty countries and “all of them generate threats with the capacity to create danger and destabilize”.

However, Mertens sees three major sources of tension that will complicate the new strategic definition of the Alliance: the growing presence of Russia and China in geographically remote areas such as Africathe interest of USA to turn your attention to Asiaand the fact that important NATO members such as France, Turkey Italy or Greece have their own agenda in the south, he lists. For this reason, this expert considers that the most plausible solution is for NATO to focus its attention on Russia and China and leave the security of Africa under the responsibility of the European Unionwith whom he will seek to share responsibilities and tasks.

The experts of Elcano Royal Institute They also agree that the war in ukraine and the need to reorganize the order of priorities will be central in the debate about the future role of NATO. Thus, the director of the Elcano Office in Brussels and principal investigator, Louis Simonargues in the article NATO and the south after Ukrainethat “it is to be hoped that the new strategic concept will give preference to eastern flank and include a prioritization of collective defense over crisis management and collective security.”

However, he considers that NATO should not neglect the south, where the strategic competition with Russia and China is equally important and where transnational or asymmetric problems such as terrorism, organized crime, the proliferation of small arms and irregular migration will continue to generate sources of instability. But Simón does not believe that NATO will get more involved in the region, but will instead opt instead to invest in the resilience and development of the south and a greater consolidation of ties with regional actors and other relevant organizations, starting with the EU.


For him professor of International Relations and expert in security at Universidad Pontificia Comillas Javier Gilit is also clear that “the southern flank looks complex and dangerous, but nothing compared to the threat in the north” and “it does not seem possible or feasible for NATO to divide its attention; if everything is important, nothing is important”, he assures in a telephone conversation with EFE. In his opinion, given the diversity of threats, it is most likely that the organization will insist that both the EU and Spain itself take responsibility for their own security and not hide behind delegate both in international organizations.

Finally, and asked about the claim that Ceuta and melilla are also included under the protective umbrella of NATO, which would force the member countries to come out in defense of the territory if it were attacked, Gil also laments the “absolute neglect of Spain for 40 years”. Thus, he remembers that when the security territory of the Alliance was defined, they established themselves as limits the tropic of Cancer and the Atlanticso that Canary Islands it does enter the protected territory, but Ceuta and Melilla do not. “And now NATO is not going to accept it in any way,” says Gil, who points to the skill with which Morocco “It has woven a network of very strong interests with countries like the United States or France and there is nothing to do now,” he considered.

Cristina Llado

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