NATO: A Strategic Concept for Transatlantic Security

By Kerry, John | Hampton Roads International Security Quarterly, January 1, 2010 | Go to article overview

NATO: A Strategic Concept for Transatlantic Security


Kerry, John, Hampton Roads International Security Quarterly


Today we will discuss the future of our NATO alliance. Earlier this week in Afghanistan, I saw firsthand NATO's single largest present-day commitment. And let me tell you, whatever our differences, our allies have made enormous sacrifices in Afghanistan. They, too, are serving heroically. While questions remain on both sides of the Atlantic about the future of our Afghan mission, our confidence in the idea and the cohesion of NATO remains strong. Our commitment to defend our NATO allies is unwavering. NATO turned sixty this year. As we all know, there have been times when NATO's critics called it an alliance in search of a mission. Today, as new challenges multiply and old ones resurface, it has become clear that as long as NATO continues to adapt, it will remain essential going forward. The Strategic Concept review is an important vehicle for NATO to evolve recalibrating its priorities, reinventing itself and preparing to protect the West from challenges new and old. That is why, even as we grapple with Afghanistan and other present concerns, it remains the right time for a public dialogue about NATO's future. In a recent speech at the Atlantic Council, Senator Lugar was once again ahead of the curve in emphasizing the need for the alliance to incorporate emerging threats such as terrorism and drug trafficking. I agree. We don't choose threats to our security, they choose us. If the alliance is serious about the security of its members, then it must focus on the real threats. Of course, while the world has changed, we are still dealing with some of the same geostrategic and ideological concerns that brought NATO into being: in particular, a deep and durable commitment by like-minded democracies to cooperate closely and deter aggression with a promise to rise up in defense of any NATO member under attack. …

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