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Steinmeier to Obama (USA): a new direction for NATO

(BRUSSELS2) In an open letter addressed to Obama – and which will be published this Monday by Der Spiegel (*)-, German Foreign Minister (SPD) Frank-Walter Steinmeier outlines for the future American president the points of American foreign policy that need to be reviewed.

NATO missions, to be reoriented

Steinmeier criticizes in particular, in quite strong terms, the situation in NATO, believing that between allies the discussion postponed for too long on the Alliance's mission must now be done honestly. And that a “new orientation” of NATO is necessary.

Medvedev Security Pact, to be studied

The head of diplomacy also explains that it is necessary to review relations with Russia on “entirely new bases”. Particularly from Russian President Medvedev's offer for a “new security architecture” in Europe.

Comment: This open letter reveals an underlying debate for several months within NATO and which should culminate at the Kehl-Strasbourg summit at the beginning of April. What is the Atlantic Alliance for? Should it not return to the territorial defense which made it famous in the 1950s and 60s or should it travel around the world as an intervention force – like in Afghanistan? The result of which does not seem obvious. And in the corridors of NATO, reflection is going well, judging by certain comments heard. This discussion even breaks out in full public view, with British and German officers who openly and loudly express their point of view on the ISAF (Cf. the remarks of a German general (4 stars) very recently).

Other topics covered: Guantanamo, Iraq, Iran…

Guantanamo, to be closed, and Iraq, to ​​be developed

German minister offers support for closing Guantanamo – with European offer to house prisoners. and a new policy in Iraq: “There are good reasons. You were like me, six years ago against the war. Today it is important to look forward.” “As America reaches out to others, I pledge that the international community and Europe will not abandon the new administration in accomplishing this task” He says.

Iran, necessary resumption of dialogue

“Certainly, there are non-negotiable conditions from the international community: no response to terror and violence in the region, no nuclear rearmament. However, everyone's dialogue with Iran – which is neither weakness nor concession – is healthy. That's why I encourage you and your team to borrow
this way
.” says Steinmeier.


(*) A few extracts have been published.

(Photo: German Foreign Office)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).