Tetiana Melnyk at the International Conference “NATO Towards the Challenges of a Contemporary World – After the Warsaw 2016 Summit”

On 15-16 November, 2016 Tetiana Melnyk participated in the international conference “NATO Towards the Challenges of a Contemporary World – After the Warsaw 2016 Summit” and presented there a scientific paper entitled “Transformation of NATO Strategic Concepts: Role of Nuclear Deterrence”.

This event was organized by a wide range of organizations, including International Relations Research Institute in Warsaw, Department of Theory of Foreign and Security Policy – University of Lodz, Institute of Political Studies at Charles University in Prague, co-sponsored by NATO and attended by 70 participants from different universities and institutions around the globe.

The conference has started by a videoconference with Dr. Jamie Shea, NATO deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges. Among challenges for NATO Dr. Shea has mentioned large Russia exercising that cannot be easily distinguished from direct aggression, need to enlarge the European share in the defense spending of the Alliance, with special attention to modernization and need to adapt NATO to 20th century philosophy with modern means of 21st century. On possible enlargement, Jamie Shea underlined that the final decision stays after Sweden and Finland and if they prefer close partnership the work must be concentrated on the essence and not the title.

Mr. Ian Brzezinski from Atlantic Council has identified five areas of action for NATO at his speech, includingneed to reaffirm transatlantic solidarity, ensure credible deterrence, enhance the speed of NATO decision making and try to further unify EU and NATO strategy on Russia. As a practical measure Mr. Brzezinski has proposed to pay more attention to snap exercises and simulation on every level of command to ensure clear understanding of tasks in case of extreme situation. The current situation was caused because of this NATO passive approach and received an aggressive Russian reaction, and active approach on the contrary will push Russia back, as it will be conditioned to do that.

The representative of RAND Corporation David S. Shlapak has presented results of simulation games showing that even being given a few tries NATO with current means “loses Baltics” in two days and underlined that great powers usually don't attack great powers unless they are sure to get a strategic victory at a low cost. And Putin must not consider war against the West as this kind of war. As deterrence can be seen as something theoretical and non-usable for 9999 days out of 10000, but for that last day it should protect security in Europe. Talking on the possibility to use “escalation” tactics by the Russian side, Mr. Shlapak has compared it with the falling domino with no understanding of the order of that domino in a dark room, with only knowing that it will end badly. He has stated that nuclear war is only a result of a failure of deterrence and now the level of chance that such a war will happen is still law, but being any higher than 0 is unacceptable. And the task is to reintegrate nuclear weapons into military thinking of NATO.

Przemyslaw Zurawski vel Grajewski from University of Lodz has reminded that we cannot save blood by capitulating and it is better to deter Russia not at the end of the day but at the beginning of the day. Another crucial point according to Mr. Grajewski is to maintain unity and do not let to divide Europe into separate Eastern and Western flanks.

Among other aspects mentioned at the conference was the contradiction between Russia’s fight for regime survival and maintenance of sphere ofinfluence against NATO’s need to protect their members and wish to maintain the currentinternational order, that alongside with doubtful commitment and significant problem of perception brings NATO into a difficult situation.