“Key to the defense of the free world”: the past, present and future relevance of NATO for US allies in the Asia–Pacific
Between 2004 and 2014, NATO developed a range of global partnerships as it redefined its role in the post-9/11 world, leading some to suggest it become a global alliance. NATO’s relevance for its Asia Pacific partners in fact long pre-dates this period, as NATO is a locus of global strategic–political exchange; the world’s closest and most institutionalized political–military alliance; a focus of US strategic attention and leadership; the centre of the Euro-Atlantic security system; and a provider of interoperability and capability. Still, NATO partnerships have catalysed opportunities for greater exchange than existed during the Cold War, and their value goes beyond technical and operational cooperation. In an era of renewed great power competition, NATO and US allies in the Asia-Pacific should look to their shared interests, values and need for functional cooperation as the main benefits of their partnership, with particular focus on using the North Atlantic Council as a forum for political–strategic exchange between European and Asia-Pacific allies.
KeywordsNATO Japan Australia New Zealand Cooperative security Asia Pacific Indian Ocean Partnerships
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