NATO: Addressing the Alliance’s Southern Flank - Keeping an Eye on the Geopolitical Ball

Eye on the Geopolitical Ball

Peace, Security & Defence

Keeping an Eye on the Geopolitical Ball, brought to you by Jamie Shea, Senior Fellow of Friends of Europe and former NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General, provides a weekly overview of the current and emerging crises or threats in security and defence.

Using his past experience as an ex-NATO insider, his in-depth knowledge and insights gained throughout the years, Jamie casts his eye on the state of geopolitics in Europe and across the globe. He brings an independent view and essential insight into a range of conflicts and emerging threats on our shores and further afield.

Keeping an Eye on the Geopolitical Ball is essential viewing for anyone who wants to keep track of events as they unfold.

This week on Keeping an Eye on the Geopolitical Ball, Jamie Shea, Senior Fellow at Friends of Europe, discusses the need for NATO to look south at a time where its Eastern front is at the centre of all the attention. Indeed, while the Alliance aspires to have a global reach and is more active in designing its approach to the Indo-Pacific region, it still lacks a coherent strategy for its Southern flank. Shea examines how regional tensions, migration pressures, the rise in the north of terrorist groups and Russian mercenaries, and new Chinese ambitions on the continent are factors that make this situation precarious. In this context, Shea affirms that NATO must set out to define its action plan for Africa, the first step of which should be to recognise the primacy of the European Union in shaping the continent’s policy towards Africa. Working with the EU, NATO should therefore organise a “lessons learned” exercise to identify where mistakes have been made in the past before going any further. The Alliance and the EU should also establish enduring ties with reliable partners in Africa such as Senegal, the Ivory Coast, Niger and Nigeria, for instance through an Africa-EU-NATO contact group and an EU-Africa Union permanent security forum. Additionally, the West should improve its information strategy and push back against the Russian and Chinese narratives in Africa, which effectively undermine any chance of fruitful cooperation between the two continents.

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