Monday, 16 February 2009

The Future of NATO

Last week I attended a lecture by Lord Robertson (former NATO Secretary General & previously UK Defence Secretary). He highlighted the fact that currently we face no existential threats - but there are new vulnerabilities..

            • failed states
            • health threats - a pandemic
            • nuclear proliferation
            • energy insecurity
            • climate change
            • piracy
            Our interconnectiveness makes our vulnerability greater. Robertson argued for a new definition of security. The key challenge for the 21st Century is - how do we keep people safe!

            NATO is "not simply a military organisation ... and is no longer even its main business". Robertson argued that NATO has a key role to play, if we are prepared to recognise the imperative of new multilateralism.

            He pointed out the main challenges to NATO

            1. Enlargement - should we put up the "No vacancies" sign - "Russians need not apply"?
            2. Capabilities - are we able to deal with reconstruction after a conflict?
            3. Political Will - are we prepared to stress the importance of NATO and of NATO's missions?