The drop in investments in research and development may erode NATO’s technological edge in comparison with Russia and China.
The drop in investments in research and development may erode NATO’s technological edge in comparison with Russia and China. This is the conclusion of a document presented by the NATO general rapporteur Thomas Marino at the latest meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly hosted by Bucharest. The document makes a parallel between the situation in Russia and China and that in the NATO member countries.
Major changes are emerging in the field of science and technology and some tendencies might affect the strategic balance related to production, on short terms, and artificial intelligence on the long term, said Thomas Marino who also claimed that NATO was not ready to face such challenges. One of the main reasons identified is the low level of investments which some Alliance members channel into research and development in the defense industry. On the other hand, Russia and China allot more money for that purpose. For instance Moscow’s budget for research and development in the defense industry doubled as of 2012 until 2015, while Beijing will allot more money by 2022, its budget being set to exceed that of Washington, which at present provides for two thirds of NATO’s total expenses.
Why is it important to look at these issues carefully? The political committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly mentioned in a report that Russia is strengthening its military capabilities and is enlarging its range of action at the eastern border of NATO, thus putting pressure on the Euro-Atlantic space. Interviewed by Radio Romania, the head of the Romanian delegation at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Vergil Chitac, has tried to draw the area’s geo-strategic picture.
Vergil Chitac: “It is obvious that after Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation in 2014, the so-called geo-strategic holiday that we have had for almost 50 years, namely since the end of the Cold War, has now come to an end. At present, Russia is an actor discontented with the place it was offered at the table of world geopolitics. Russia believes that the great powers must have a say in their areas of hegemony. After Crimea was annexed, all sorts of provocative actions were started against NATO, more precisely Crimea started being militarized. After the Caucasus 2016 Drill, Russian Chief of Staff, General Valery Gerasimov said - and I’m quoting from memory – ‘Russia entirely dominates the Black sea basin and is capable of destroying any target from the moment it leaves its berth.’ The process of militarizing Crimea had the following strategic purpose: Crimea’s military facilities and power reflect Russia’s military might in the eastern Mediterranean. Now we see a very active Russian presence in the conflict zone between Syria and Iraq, and besides militarizing Crimea, destabilizing Ukraine, and staging all sorts of provocative military drills, Russia has also become active in the Western Balkans, doing anything so that these countries may not join the European Union. It grants them loans, energy projects, with a view to raising anti-Western feelings, particularly in countries like Serbia. We should not overlook this asymmetrical warfare, propaganda and the dissemination of false news. Everything that Russia is doing is meant to undermine the North Atlantic Alliance and to divide and even dismantle Europe.”
Security in the Black Sea area and the Russian threat have been the top issues debated at the latest meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Bucharest. The Alliance’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, has thanked Romania for its contribution to collective defence saying that NATO keeps its promises and is adapting to new challenges and security threats. Against the backdrop of Russia’s cyber warfare, Stoltenberg has referred to the freedom of the press, now “when we see attempts of interference and disinformation to try to manipulate the media”. “We are concerned about Russia’s military buildup close to NATO’s border and its lack of transparency when it comes to military exercises”, Stoltenberg went on to say. According to NATO’s Secretary General, the Alliance ‘doesn’t want a new Cold War with Russia”.
Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis has also referred to the Russian threat pleading for strengthening NATO’s eastern flank. He also pleaded for the consolidation of North Atlantic partnership and NATO’s partnership with the European Union, in the context of a worsening security climate. President Iohannis has given assurances that Romania will continue to be a trustworthy ally within the Alliance.