"Global Partnership": A New Conflict Within NATO?

von Karl-Heinz Kamp
Throughout the last several months, the concept of “Global Partnership” has been causing headaches in the alliance. The United States has been working to implement an institutional framework within NATO in order to intensify global cooperation with the so-called “likeminded states” – states with a Western orientation. This is intended to be one of the primary results of the NATO summit to be held in Riga, Latvia, in November 2006. While Washington views the proposed “Global Partnership Forum” as an important step in modernizing the alliance to face the realities of the post-September 11th world, the majority of European NATO members are critical of the idea of a new committee with global membership. The Europeans’ concerns have arisen partly due to a lack of understanding of the proposed body, not at least a re-sult of the Americans’ insufficient communication of the concept. On the other hand, the idea for the “Global Partnership” has not been given enough thought, and justifia-bly raises questions. What stands behind the concept of a “global partnership”, what advantages can be attained through it, and which criticisms are in fact compelling?