NATO's New Strategic Concept and Peripheral Contingencies: The Middle East
On July 15-16, 1999, RAND's Center for Middle East Public Policy and the Geneva Center for Security Policy held a workshop on the likelihood of out-of-area roles for NATO, with emphasis on the Middle East. The 25 attendees explored NATO's role in operations beyond its borders, European capabilities for power projection, Western policy toward the Middle East and the Gulf, the Arab-Israel area and external power intervention, and external intervention and the Persian Gulf. There was a general consensus that any military action required in the Gulf or Middle East would probably be carried out by a "coalition of willing" NATO members rather than NATO as an institution. The gap between U.S. power projection capabilities and those of Europe is particularly striking in modern and transport aircraft and in smart weapons. The disparity was particularly evident in the Kosovo conflict. Considerable attention was given to Turkey's role in Middle East affairs, particularly the danger that NATO might be dragged into a conflict in the Middle East as a result of a dispute between Turkey and a Middle Eastern neighbor. This factor might be complicated by Turkey's relations with Russia.