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Former Nato chief calls for economic version of ‘Article 5’ defence pledge

A former NATO chief calls for the creation of an economic version of the “Article 5” mutual defense pledge, which defines the transatlantic military alliance, to thwart commercial coercion by authoritarian states.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former Danish prime minister who served as NATO secretary general from 2009 to 2014, will announce on Friday a plan for Western allies and other democracies to respond more effectively to economic threats from countries like China and Russia.

“Our proposal is inspired by NATO Article 5, which states that a military attack on one ally is considered an attack on all,” Rasmussen wrote in a report prepared with Ivo Daalder, the former US ambassador to NATO. . “The aim is to produce the same deterrence and solidarity in the economic field among democracies that NATO produces in the field of security.

“It’s time to tell the bullies that if they poke one of us in the eye, we’ll all poke back,” they added.

The idea is being floated as Western leaders prepare to gather in Spain for a NATO summit later this month and in Germany for a G7 summit, where they will grapple with how best to tackle economic warfare and traditional security threats. .

The urgency of addressing economic aggression from authoritarian countries has increased in the wake of China’s commercial clashes with Australia and Lithuania, as well as Russia’s arming of its natural resources in the stalemate with the west over Ukraine.

Rasmussen and Daalder propose that an economic ‘Article 5’ commitment could be implemented through existing structures such as the G7, which, together with NATO, has been revived by the coordinated Western response to the war in Ukraine. But the authors say other democracies should be “involved” and that a standalone organization may need to be set up to manage the new guarantee.

In an interview, Daalder said officials in the administration of US President Joe Biden had been consulted about the plan, including at the White House, the Treasury and State Department, along with EU officials. While acknowledging that such an idea wouldn’t have gotten that far last year, he said the Russian invasion of Ukraine meant there was a greater understanding that “the world is changing”.

While the report does not describe specific retaliatory measures that could be imposed on countries deemed responsible for economic coercion, Daalder said these could include sanctions, secondary sanctions, import tariffs and other measures.

While such punitive measures could have negative economic consequences for the countries that impose them, and cause a corporate backlash, they could help concentrate supply chains in democracies, he said.

“There are geostrategic interests . † † that may have to trump economic interests in a way that probably wasn’t true in the last 30 years, but must be true in the next,” he added.

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