Thursday, April 21, 2016

What I Learned I Cannot Say: NATO meets Chatham House

I was invited to be the moderator at an event at Global Affairs Canada (what used to be DFAIT/DFATD--Foreign Affairs): a roundtable with James Appathurai.  He is a Canadian serving as Assistant Secretary General at NATO.  Because it was under Chatham House rules, I cannot really say what was said.  I can say what I asked, which I cut and paste below.

What I can say is:
  • Always good to bet the over on the number of former students I bump into at the Pearson Building--it was set at two, and three attended the roundtable.
  • Canada is good for pronouncing last names, as James indicated that only Canadians get his name right, and I can attest to the pattern for myself--that Canadians guess right when pronouncing my last name better than Americans.
  • I have a clearer idea of why some folks cannot bury the dead, dead, dead NATO-Russia Founding Act--some Europeans have clearly read Robert Keohane's stuff.
What did I ask?

  • What can we expect from Warsaw Summit?  Any moves to giving SACEUR more pre-delegated authority now that Breedlove is moving on?  Any permanent basing in the East?

  • In the debates about eastern front vs southern front, what do the advocates of a southern front advocate for NATO to do?  The role in the East, while details are contested is clear.  For South? [I now understand this far better than I did]

  • What is Canada’s current rep at NATO?  The country that bore the burden in Kandahar or the one that left early?  The one that provided much leadership during the Libyan mission or the one that is at 1% of GDP?

  • What do people in Brussels expect of Canada now that we have a new government?

  • How can NATO deal with the basic contradiction that we have made promises to Georgia about membership but the reality is that Article V cannot really be expanded to include Georgia—would be an incredible commitment?  What about the larger problem of how do we deal with the countries who really cannot become members which makes them vulnerable to Russia?

  • What can NATO do about the members that are wavering/falling into illiberal demoracy/authoritarianism: Hungary, maybe Poland, definitely Turkey?

I learned a great deal in a short period of time, and am grateful to Global Affairs for having me along for the ride.

Update: I also learned that cutting and pasting from Word into my blog always looks bad.... Damn.

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