Lisbon Summit: NATO To Retain Nuclear Arms, Build Missile Shield In Europe
In little more than a week the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will convene a two-day summit in Lisbon, Portugal with the heads of state and government (presidents and prime ministers) of its 28 member states.
At the summit the world's only military bloc will endorse its new Strategic Concept, the first since 1999 and as such the first for the 21st century, a doctrine which will formalize NATO's role as an international military-security-political force and a rival to the United Nations in that regard.
The main items on NATO's Lisbon agenda will be the war in Afghanistan, the Alliance's first armed conflict outside Europe and the first ground combat operations in its history; the launching of a continent-wide interceptor missile system subsumed under U.S. global missile shield auspices; an analogous cyber warfare operation building upon initiatives like NATO's cyber defense center in Estonia and subordinated to the Pentagon's new Cyber Command; the retention of hundreds of American nuclear bombs on air bases in five European nations; a multiplication of new roles and missions from patrolling strategic sea lanes with warships to guarding NATO member states' energy interests in any in every part of the world.
As an illustration of the ever-broadening scope of the U.S.-dominated military alliance, in regard to the Afghan war in particular, where there are currently 140,000 troops from the U.S. and almost 50 other nations assigned to NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), leaders of various NATO partnership nations will also attend the Lisbon summit.
They could include participants from NATO's Partnership for Peace program in Europe and Asia: Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
The Mediterranean Dialogue in Africa and the Middle East: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.
The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative in the Persian Gulf: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Contact Country allies in East Asia and the South Pacific: Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
The NATO-Russia Council: President Dmitry Medvedev will be the first Russian head of state to attend a NATO summit.
The military commanders' Tripartite Commission of NATO, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Official Troop Contributing Nations (TNC) for NATO's ISAF not in any of the above categories: Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore and Tonga. Colombia has also pledged troops for ISAF and nations like Bangladesh are being pressured to do the same.
The 28 NATO member states and the partners listed above total 75 nations. Almost 40 percent of the 192 members of the United Nations. This is 21st century NATO, history's first global military alliance, one which has military forces troops, equipment, warplanes and warships deployed outside the territory of its member states in three continents: In Southeastern Europe, Central and South Asia, and Northeast Africa. Dozens if not scores of African nations are developing relations with NATO in tandem with the new U.S. Africa Command, which was created by U.S. European Command whose top military commander is also that of NATO in Europe.
On the eve of last year's NATO summit in Strasbourg, France and Kehl, Germany, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that he was bringing his country back into NATO's military command structure from which his predecessor Charles de Gaulle had withdrawn it in 1966.