Transatlantic unity has been put to the test in the last year with the aggression by Russian-backed and -equipped separatists in Ukraine and the terrorist threat emanating from the ISIL. But the transatlantic Alliance, stresses U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Victoria Nuland, has risen to meet these tests.
NATO is a defensive alliance, said Ms. Nuland, and the goal is to deter aggression. But if that fails, the alliance must be ready.
Each NATO member must implement the decisions taken at the 2014 NATO Summit in Wales, including maintaining the persistent, rotational air, land, and sea presence in NATO’s east, implementing the Readiness Action Plan, and fulfilling the Wales Defense Investment Pledge by ensuring Allies end cuts to defense budgets and work towards maintaining the NATO-agreed threshold of spending two percent of GDP on defense.
The fight against ISIL and its affiliates also requires a global response that addresses the issue politically, economically and militarily. Forty European allies and partners are contributing to this effort. But they must also pass and enforce laws that disrupt ISIL’s recruitment and fund-raising efforts.
On the economic front, the U.S. and its allies should accelerate negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a proposed free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States.
It is also necessary, said Ms. Nuland, to “protect clean business and honest politicians by busting those who seek to pervert the system with dirty money and monopolistic intent.”
As well, in order to liberate states dependent on one source of energy, investment into energy security projects that build dynamism, resilience and competition, should double.
Finally, said Ms. Nuland, the United States and Europe must work together to deepen democracy, good governance, and rule of law in Moldova and Georgia, and to strengthen opportunities for growth and investment as those countries implement their Association Agreements with the European Union.
The U.S. and its allies must keep their doors open to Armenia, support human rights and democracy in Belarus, and keep working for an Azerbaijan that is as strong in defense of universal rights as it is in promoting economic growth and regional security.
The challenges of 2014 originally forged a transatlantic renaissance out of necessity. In 2015, the transatlantic community must double down on their commitment to a “Europe whole, free and at peace,” and continue to set the global gold standard for rule of law, democracy, peace, security, free trade and universal human rights.