The NATO partnership policy

Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia

Radenko Mutavdžić


The essay examines the partnership policy of NATO from its beginnings after the end of the Cold War to the present plans for the further development of the partnership policy during the NATO summit conference in Wales in September 2014. The partnerships of NATO have passed through an accelerated and ambiguous development process, from the first reactions on the changed threat situation after the break-up of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw treaty, over the establishment of the “Partnership for Peace” program and its promulgation, to the present state of development of partnerships with governments and international organisations all over the world who are willing to take over the responsibilities and efforts for the securing and progress of collective security. The partnership has characterised both policy and practice of international relations at the intersection of two centuries. It affirms a reinforcement of the precepts of cooperative security as well as a redefinition of the security concept, dialogue and cooperation, which will achieve the stability of international relations more effectively than the traditional approaches towards security, as well as the reinforcement of the power which is primarily measured with military power. The cooperative security of NATO under the different formal general conditions of fair cooperation is the recognition of a wide and incentive-making policy for the reinforcement of the security process on both the European and the international level. Apart from the 22 countries taking part in the Partnership for Peace program, the Western Alliance develops NATO-partnerships within the framework of the Mediterranean Dialogue, the Istanbul-Initiative for Cooperation, as well as special partnerships with Ukraine and Georgia, and, recently, with so-called “worldwide partners” or “global partners”, too. The partnership policy of NATO has evaluated their answer as a reaction to regional and global changes. NATO was and is dominated above all by the superpower USA and its global interests. The new partnership policy of NATO is moulded correspondingly. In addition to its own transformation and to this future partnership, NATO perceives a reinforcement of its overall capacity enabling it to perpetuate its leading position within the global distribution of power and the performance of the tasks of collective defence and collective security. In order to keep its position and its control of trouble spots of the potential crises all over the world, NATO will have to represent appropriate overall military capabilities by taking over an important role within the geostrategic situation of the world and by establishing the necessary potential for already existing as well as for future global partnerships.