The Platform

Mark Nash/U.S. Navy

NATO is trying to work out how best to confront a rising China. To that end, the alliance’s Concept for Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area, or DDA, could go a long way in this regard.

The new military policy was signed by the NATO Military Committee made up of NATO’s defense chiefs in May 2019, and this is the initial document written by NATO since the late 1960s. Later, they introduced two minor documents that explain how to execute the alliance’s policy, the first of which is the DDA. The DDA delineates the intention of the alliance. This intention demands deploying the alliance’s military power to dissuade and protect against Russia and international terrorism. The second paper, the NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept (NWCC), summarizes a twenty-year plan for the alliance’s warfare capacities and traits.

The DDA concentrates on short-term menaces, while the NWCC concerns itself with long-term challenges and threats. Together, these theories should help NATO channel its existing devices, methods, and actions to guarantee there is considerable cohesion in how the alliance secures and solidifies the Euro-Atlantic region. Nonetheless, the alliance comes up short because some in Europe object to framing China as a direct threat. They contend that China is not a military threat, hence, NATO should devote considerable resources to challenging China.

Several threats to European security emanating from China today are barely worth mentioning. For instance, China belittles Europe’s military abilities by illegally taking defense-related intellectual property, and rationing it with its military and defense industry as China enhances its offensive weapons capabilities.

In other cases, the Chinese threat to Europe shows in the form of full-on attacks. Chinese cyberattacks on European infrastructure are vast. In 2014, NATO announced that cyberattacks could cause the invocation of NATO’s Article 5, which is the alliance’s mutual defense clause.

Further, the Chinese threat to the global commons also influences Europe. Looking at the percentage of its entire foreign trade, Europe has a greater share of its trade passing through the militarized South China Sea than the United States does. But the United States needs to focus on how China affects European security as Europe wakes up to the risks of the Chinese domination.

Politically, policymakers in Europe need to act. Practically, it is effortless for European governments and defense institutions to discharge power locally and regionally than into East Asia.

Furthermore, some NATO members keep tabs on China because China is perceived as a military contender to NATO to date, as an effect of its assaults on alliance members in Europe and North America. This, however, must be answered by the DDA.

Isaac Silvermann is one of Europe's young and respected analysts of international affairs. He hails from Sweden where he studied political science and graduated with a Master's degree from Mittuniversitetet in 2006. Isaac worked as a foreign policy advisor for two MPs and nowadays is a lobbyist and author. He is also the author of 'Let Me Explain 1948 - 2021'. Isaac possesses an abiding interest in the art and craft of foreign policy and international relations.