Marshall Seminar Background Reading: Part I

Last year the German Marshall Fund held a blog competition on transatlantic cooperation.  Participants were asked to write entries on “what has the transatlantic relationship meant to you, and how can we preserve it and make it even stronger for future generations.”  I entered and wrote a piece titled, “Teachers and the Transatlantic Relationship,” and much to my surprise, I was chosen as an honorable mention.  As a result, I have the honor to attend the GMF’s Marshall Seminar on Transatlantic Security.

When I saw the preliminary agenda for the Seminar, I was quite excited.  I finally have the chance to talk with others who are as interested as I am in maintaing and strengthening transatlantic relations.  To prepare for the seminar, I starting looking for articles on each topic.  I was not looking to become an expert, but I wanted enough to have some sort of knowledge so that I can follow the discussions and maybe ask a question or two.  I have now made my way through about half of the reading, and I wanted to share them, in case somebody else out there is interested in the topics.

General Reading
The North Atlantic Treaty with Accession Protocols– Articles 4, 5, and 6 are especially important when we start talking about concerns by Eastern European members about Russia and the situation with ISIS along the Turkey-Syria border.

NATO in an Era of Global Competition– If I were to pick a few ideas that stuck out to me: 1) impact of fiscal austerity, 2) how to build public support for NATO, and 3) the opportunities for the U.S. and Europe to collaborate on more than just security/defense.

NATO at a Crossroads– Short set of recommendations, but a lot to think about.  In particular, the recommendation on the need for more public diplomacy from NATO, especially for younger generations, resonated with me.  To my knowledge, NATO does not have anything on its website geared to educators in Member States that would help with that.

Wales Summit Declaration– Good to get a sense of what leaders see as important for NATO and what they foresee in its future. Addresses most of the topics for the Marshall Seminar.

Munich Security Report: The section on “Challenges” (e.g. hybrid warfare, war on terror, refugees, etc.) is especially useful.  I also appreciated the fourth section, “More Food for Thought,” which gave recommendations for further reading.

New Face of Warfare and How to Deal with Russia and the Islamic State
Counter-Unconventional Warfare is the Way of the Future. How Can We get There?– The definition of hybrid warfare was useful, as was the discussion differentiating counter-unconventional warfare from counter terrorism and counter insurgency.

Deterring Hybrid Warfare: A Chance for NATO and the EU to Work Together?– Argues that NATO and the EU working together creates more flexibility when it comes to deterring adversaries.  Mentions the work the EU has done in the realm of Security Sector Reform.

Energy as a Part of Hybrid Warfare– Discusses three actions Russia has taken using energy as part of its hybrid warfare in Ukraine. Great point at the end about Russia acting alone as a single state as opposed to the West, which has to coordinate actions, thereby giving Russia an advantage.

Russia’s Hybrid Warfare: A Success in Propaganda– Interesting discussion of the evolution of Russia’s use of traditional and social media in framing the narrative and how Western media has played a role in its current success.

Preparing Finland for Hybrid Warfare: Social Vulnerabilities and the Threat of Military Force– Argues that “societal preparedness” must be part of a response to hybrid warfare and gives five recommendations.

Nothing New in Hybrid Warfare: The Estonian Experience and Recommendations for NATO– Fascinating section on Estonia’s experience with Russia’s historical use of hybrid warfare. Great point that “It is the combination and orchestration of different actions that achieves a surprise effect and creates ambiguity, making an adequate reaction difficult, especially for multinational organizations that operate on the principle of consensus.”

Nonviolent Civilian Defense to Counter Russian Hybrid Warfare– Argues that nonviolent actions taken by civilians can be more effective and less costly than military measures.  Uses historical examples of Denmark in the Second World War and Czechoslovakia in 1968.

The Future of Conflict– Brussels Forum panel including Gen. Philp Breedlove, Michele Flournoy, Yang Jiemian, and Marwan Lahoud.  Gen. Breedlove’s discussion of hybrid warfare, his use of the “DIME” model (diplomatic, informational, military, and economics), and his idea of an “all of government approach” was especially useful.  Best quote about information warfare came from him- “the way to attack the false narrative is to drag the false narrative out into the light and expose it.”

The Threshold for Collective Defense- Article 5 and Emerging Threats
Collective Defence– Basic information from NATO. Includes a section on collective defense in regards to Ukraine.

How to Avoid Wars: NATO’s Article 5 and Strategic Reassurance– Recommends that NATO “react strongly to Russia’s aggression.”  Also urges NATO to be more reactive, rather than proactive, when it comes to “new risks.”

Article 5 Revisited: Is NATO Up to It?– The discussion on Article 4 of the NATO Treaty is thought-provoking, as is the question posed at the end of the paper- “If not now, when?”

How NATO’s Article 5 Could Work in the Case of Turkey– Important to think about in terms of the threat to Turkey posed by ISIS.

I will try to post my thoughts on the next two Seminar topics soon.  If you have any other recommendations or thoughts, please let me know.

Thanks for reading.


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