In the post-Cold War era, there was never as much interest in and focus on NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) until Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 – the most serious military conflict in Europe since World War II. That historic development was amplified in comments by a top-ranking NATO official at a recent event co-sponsored by the Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs Dorothea Green Lecture Series.
“We don’t have security (to take) for granted anymore,” said Carmen Romero, NATO deputy assistant secretary general for public diplomacy, at a talk on the role of NATO on May 15 at the Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus.
Romero discussed a number of issues concerning NATO, including the current military conflict in Europe, the importance of unity among its partners, its role in other parts of the world, and the organization’s expansion to include new member nations.
Her talk was part of the Mark Samuelian Distinguished Speakers Series presented by the World Affairs Council of Miami and co-sponsored by Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus and Honors College along with the Green School.
Romero noted that the collective military strength of NATO member nations has preserved peace in Europe since its establishment in 1949, adding that Russia and terrorism now pose the most serious threats. In addition, new dangers include cyberattacks, the militarization of space and hybrid threats – propaganda, deception, sabotage and other non-military tactics. In a world that is more interconnected than ever, the new NATO strategy acknowledges that threats are often global, not just regional.
Concerning the war between Ukraine and Russia, Romero said NATO is determined to increase its deterrence measures to prevent escalation to neighboring states, maintain the unity of the organization, and resolutely support Ukraine. When it comes to Ukraine, she emphasized that they are committed to its right to self-defense, achievement of a fair and sustainable peace, and recovery of as much of its territory as possible.
“We have to support Ukraine for as long as it takes,” she said.
Romero also touched on the recent admission of Finland as a NATO member as well as Sweden’s forthcoming entry, explaining that there was a dramatic shift in public opinion in the nations to support membership. “It was “one of the most incredible and impressive experiences I’ve seen since working for this organization,” said Romero, who has been with NATO since 2004.