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Strategic Concept Outlines Views On China, Hybrid Warfare, Art. 5 Defence


As the NATO leaders' summit continues in Madrid, the alliance has released its 'Strategic Concept', a 16-page document outlining NATO's vision for its future aims and purpose.

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  • There has been speculation that NATO could seek to shift to a more global role, representing a security alliance of democratic states not just in North America and Europe but around the world Document states: "We will strengthen dialogue and cooperation with new and existing partners in the Indo-Pacific to tackle cross-regional challenges and shared security interests."
  • Highlighting this shift the Strategic Concept contains sections on NATO's stance on China. Says that China's "...stated ambitions and coercive policies challenge our interests, security and values. [...] The deepening strategic partnership between the [China and Russia] and their mutually reinforcing attempts to undercut the rules-based international order run counter to our values and interests."
  • Strategic Concept also reinforces Art. 5 stance, talking up NATO's intent to defend all members and facilitate rapid deployment to any member under attack: "We will significantly strengthen our deterrence and defence posture to deny any potential adversary any possible opportunities for aggression. [...] We will deter and defend forward with [...] improved capacity and infrastructure to rapidly reinforce any Ally, including at short or no notice." Previously some concerns in Baltic states in particular about NATO ability to defend should Russia invade.
  • Strategic Concept raises prospect that 'hybrid attacks' such as cyberattacks and energy or economic warfare "could reach the level of armed attack and could lead the North Atlantic Council to invoke Article 5". Would be a major step given Art. 5 previously only seen as being invoked when under physical attack.

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