U.S. Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison to NATO, in a 12 October 2017 interview with David Ignatius (See video below, The Washington Post), explains that, among NATO ambassadors, North Korea and related issues are starting to be discussed, because “North Korea is a common threat…” “and that “is beginning to come to the forefront”. She mentions the host of complications involved, notably considering the American missile defence that is protecting Europe, as, according to her, these are currently directed towards the Middle East and would have to be redirected to face a North Korea threat. So “all of that is in the early stages of being discussed”.
However, she also stresses twice that North Korea is not discussed “as a decision”. She underlines that there would be “so many steps before we come to this point”, i.e. before the U.S. would come to the stage of activating Art. 5 on Collective Defence.
The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security .”
Ambassador Hutchison reminds us that, in a worst case scenario, still unlikely, whatever the doubts of European states and of the European Union regarding the use of a military option against North Korea by the U.S., whatever their declarations according to which they would not back military actions by the U.S., and whatever their wishes for an emphasis on negotiations with North Korea, they would be likely to become, even unwillingly, embroiled in a potential future conflict with North Korea, by virtue of alliance mechanism (note that discussions regarding who attacked first would be most likely to take place too).
The impacts are severe. First, should NATO Art. 5 be triggered and should members of the Alliance, then, not withdraw from NATO, this could be the start of a war involving three continents. The potential military Chinese and Russian responses would determine the possibility to see the start of an even more global war.
Second, this points out the intrinsic weakness of a European Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), as long as there is no proper common defence, and as long as NATO is privileged over a European Defence. As a result, European States and the European Union are highly likely to be forced into a foreign and security policy rather subservient to American interests.
Alternatively, should the price of war appear as too high for Europeans, then we could see an unravelling of NATO. The impacts above would then have to be reassessed.
Signal located between minutes 14:13 – 20:06 of the interview.
Securing Tomorrow with David Ignatius and Amb. Kay Bailey Hutchison On Thursday, October 12, The Washington Post hosted Kay Bailey Hutchison, the U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO, for an interview with columnist David Ignatius. Ambassador Hutchison discussed the future of the transatlantic alliance, mounting threats from Russia and North Korea and her top priorities in the areas of military cooperation, intelligence-gathering and combating terrorism.