Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Looking for a ‘Berlin-Plus in Reverse’? Nato in Search of a New Strategic Concept

Looking for a ‘Berlin-Plus in Reverse’? Nato in Search of a New Strategic Concept

As NATO celebrated its 60th anniversary, its leaders agreed at last year’s Strasbourg/Kehl Summit to replace the outdated 1999 Washington Strategic Concept. This was the right decision as events over the past decade rendered the old strategic concept obsolete. New security risks and challenges included terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and global climate change and energy security. While NATO’s track record in the 1990s was solid, the question arises: is it time for strategic consolidation and reflection? The answer is yes, and NATO is well advised to not only reduce those strategic deliberations to agreeing on a new Strategic Concept. Rather, with the Albright report on the future of NATO in hand, the new strategic concept offers one of the rare opportunities to re-define when, where, how, and why NATO needs to act and where not, and thus to engage the allies in a continuous process of strategic thinking. In other words, this is the right moment to publicly engage in a debate about a new grand strategic bargain and to consolidate some of the diverging forces in the alliance rather than simply refurbishing the old strategic concepts as was done the last two times around.

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