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Global concerns: Russia, missile shields and cyberterrorism
Thus domestic concerns such as internal instability and even energy scarcity have global repercussions that affect NATO nations. That is why, despite the end of the Cold War, tensions between NATO member and non-member nations remain bubbling so close to the surface. It has not been forgotten by the Russian leadership that NATO was founded to address the security concerns raised by the now-defunct institutions of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. Fears of 'Star Wars' shield defense systems were reignited in March when Secretary General Rasmussen, warning of the "looming threat of weapons of mass destruction," made a case for a missile shield system for all NATO alliance states against "unconventional weapons and the missiles that [they] could carry…Should Iran produce intermediate- and intercontinental-range missiles…the whole of the European continent, as well as all of Russia would be in range," he stated (Brunnstrom 2010). Rasmussen's deliberate mention of Russia as a potential target for rogue states and terrorist organizations did little to allay the Russia's fears that a NATO missile shield system would pose a threat to its security. In 2009, before the U.S. announced its abandonment of a missile defense system in the Czech Republic, "a national security document released by Moscow describe[d] the U.S. And NATO as major threats to the security of the world and Russia" ("Russia," Press TV, 2009).
Along with its disputes with Russia, cyberterrorism and terrorism have been pressing concerns in framing NATO's global agenda for the future. The most visible aspect of NATO's anti-terrorist campaign has been in terms of its military capacity through efforts such as Operation Active Endeavour (OAE), "a maritime surveillance operation led by NATO's naval forces to undertake anti-terrorist patrol, escort and compliant boarding in the Mediterranean," as well as NATO policing assistance protecting the public during high-profile events such as the Olympics and other international sporting events ("Topic: Terrorism," NATO, 2010). NATO has also made every effort to deploy new technology in its efforts to subvert terrorist threats such as its Defense Against Terrorism Program of Work (DAT POW) which created the precision air-drop technology currently used in Afghanistan. Since 2007 cyber attacks in Estonia swamped government websites shortly after the Estonian government challenged the Russian government regarding the possession of a national monument, NATO's awareness has been heightened about the security risks posed by cyberterrorism. "The protection of NATO's key information systems in general, and cyber defense in particular, are integral parts of the functions of the Alliance" ("Topic: Terrorism," NATO, 2010).
In addition to specifically-coordinated military efforts, NATO has attempted to promote information sharing between member nations regarding terrorist threats and counter-terrorist efforts. However, the maintenance of hostilities between NATO and Russia continues to be of concern, given Russia's fears of NATO missile defense systems, Russia's desire to expand its territorial outreach for energy reserves, and Russia's lack of willingness to engage in information exchanges with the Alliance. Russia is a critical partner in fighting global warming and terrorism, particularly because of its size, resources, and the fact that many cyber attacks have been traced to Russia. Building stronger relationships with Russia without compromising NATO's domestic and global agenda will be a critical challenge for the Alliance in the 21st century.
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