Author: Major General Slaven Zdilar, PhD
: The concept of security has expanded beyond the framework of military-political responses. A new paradigm has been established that closely links the concept of security to the risks and challenges arising from dangers such as migration, terrorism, outbreaks of infectious diseases, natural and technological accidents and disasters, organized crime, drug trafficking, climate change, cyber security, etc. New challenges require new security policies and systems that must provide early warning and preventive response capabilities. In modern day society there is more and more uncertainty and unpredictability that affect efficiency in the field of security management. Management
models are no longer organized only on the basis of the capacities of the state and the national security system; partnership platforms are being developed between the state, society and individuals for the purpose of implementing preventive activities and creating the resilience of a society.
Keywords: NATO, Russia, Croatia, Security, Modern and emerging challenges
The Republic of Croatia is a part of the Western civilization and, accordingly, is a member of numerous defence and security associations of the Western world, including NATO and the EU, that respect and develop a common system of values, principles, and beliefs.
Today, as the world is facing one of the biggest challenges for global peace and security, i.e. Russia's aggressive war against Ukraine, the preservation of the rules-based international order rooted in the UN Charter has never been more important. This challenge is a continuation of the existing geopolitical discords and crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic or climate change. Threats to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence of any country, under any pretext or justification, are a threat to all of us and cannot be tolerated. Not opposing them would mean accepting an international order based on the use of force. Modern security challenges are particularly clearly observed in the NATO STRATEGIC CONCEPT and the EU Strategic Compass.
Until recently, the strategy of the NATO Alliance (2010) included three basic missions:
- Common defence,
- Crisis management and
- Cooperative security.
Within the development of cooperative security, one of the strategic tasks was the development of relations between NATO and Russia in building of common ground for peace and security. In addition, some of the tools for achieving this goal through military cooperation policy were the Partnership for Peace, the Mediterranean Dialogue, NATO-Russia relations, and NATO-Ukraine relations. The concept of joint cooperation and building the foundations for long-term peace and stability was rendered completely impossible and rejected by the Russian aggression against Ukraine.
Therefore, the new NATO Strategic Concept, adopted on June 29, 2022 at the Madrid Summit, recognizes as serious challenges the all-pervasive instability, the growing strategic malicious competition, as well as the advancing authoritarianism that calls into question the interests and values of the Alliance and the EU. We also face the constant threat of terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations.
The vision of the Alliance “of the desire to live in a world where sovereignty, territorial integrity, human rights and international law are respected and where each country can choose its own path, free from aggression, coercion or subversion", is facing serious challenges and temptations. The only way to effectively face them is through the joint forces of the Alliance.
Namely, we are aware of the following facts:
- that the Euro-Atlantic area is not peaceful
- that the aggression against Ukraine violated the norms and principles that contributed to a stable and predictable European security order
- that strategic competition, all-pervasive instability and unpredictable shocks define the broader security environment
- that threats that we face are global in nature and are interconnected
- that strategic competitors test the resilience of the Alliance and seek to take advantage of the openness, interconnectedness, and digitalization of our societies
- that there is malicious interference in the democratic processes of the Alliance
- that there are campaigns promoting disinformation, weaponizing migration, manipulating the supply system and, thereby, undermine multilateral norms and institutions and promote authoritarian governance models.
That being said, and based on the NATO Strategic Concept, a need to build an effective protective system to deter and defend all allies and to improve resistance to all challenges and coercions in accordance with modern strategies necessarily arises.
The Russian Federation currently represents the most significant and direct threat to the security of the Alliance and to peace and stability in the Transatlantic and Eurasian areas.
NATO does not seek conflict and does not pose a threat to the Russian Federation or to anybody with good intentions. The Alliance will be united in responding to threats and hostile actions in a responsible and effective manner proportional to the level of the threat. In light of current policy and actions, the Alliance cannot consider the Russian Federation as its partner. However, the Alliance is willing to keep open channels of communication with Moscow to manage and mitigate risks, prevent escalations, and increase transparency. The Alliance seeks stability and predictability in the Euro-Atlantic area and cooperation between actors on the global scene, including between NATO and the Russian Federation.
In addition, the expressed ambitions and policy of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) are a challenge to the interests, security, and values of the Alliance. The PRC uses a wide range of political, economic, and military tools to increase its global influence and power projection, while remaining vague about its strategy, intentions and military build-up. It uses its economic power to create strategic dependencies and increase its influence.
In the few minutes at our disposal, it is not possible to highlight all the challenges facing the EU and the Alliance, which the Alliance sees and recognizes. Some of them, such as climate change and all they cause, and digital sovereignty, require a significantly more complex and integrated approach. The answer of the ALLIANCE'S STRATEGIC CONCEPT for achieving success can be found in 3 conclusions, namely:
1. Investing in NATO is the best way to ensure a solid, integrating and mutually complementary relationship between transatlantic partners in dealing with crises in the Eurasian area. We should continue to strengthen our political unity and solidarity and broaden and deepen our consultations to resolve all issues affecting the security of the Alliance, but also of the democratic world.
2. The Alliance will equally share responsibilities and risks for common defense and security. The Alliance will provide all the necessary resources, infrastructure, capabilities and forces to deliver fully on core joint tasks and thus implement decisions. It will ensure a meeting of the members where commitments on investment in defense will be considered, in order to ensure the full range of necessary capabilities.
3. NATO is necessary for transatlantic connectivity and Eurasian security. It guarantees peace, freedom, sovereignty, democracy and prosperity. As allies, we will continue to stand together in defense of our security and values of a democratic way of life.
The global security environment is complex, dynamic, unpredictable, and dangerous. International institutions are not always effective, and the processes are slow and complex, requiring more effective action.
There are no measuring tools for predicting when a certain type of security threat will appear and with what intensity, however, without a comprehensive analytical approach to modern and future security challenges, without strong cooperation between the civil and military sectors, especially in the domain of development and research, without putting science into the function of peace, stability and cooperation, without implementing quality training and education processes, and without clear and precise procedures through which we must develop our skills and abilities as well as trust in institutions, at both national and international level regarding all types of threats and crisis responses, we will become very vulnerable.
Of course, in planning and implementing any form of response to security threats, we must be aware of the principles of ethics and social responsibility of the individual, the community, the state and the Alliance and what consequences our activities and actions may cause to another individual, state or alliance. Responsible unity in the synergy of knowledge and abilities represents the strength of the idea that led us to victory during the Homeland War that we fought for our independence, which we see now in Ukrainian veterans, and in the center of gravity of the NATO Alliance.
1. Europska komisija Komunikacija Komisije o strategiji EU-a za sigurnosnu uniju. COM(2020) 605 final, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/HR/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52020DC0605
2. NATO 2022 Strategic Concept, https://www.nato.int/strategic-concept/.
3. NATO Readiness Action Plan, 2020., https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq /topics_119353.htm
4. Strateški kompas EU, https://www.consilium.europa.eu/hr/press/press-releases/2022/03/21/a-strategic-compass-for-a-stronger-eu-security-and-defence-in-the-next-decade/