Will NATO last another 65 years?

Full video transcript

NATO: Will it still be here

in another 65 years?

What has NATO learned

from recent events in Ukraine?

It was perfectly foreseeable

that the Ukrainian crisis

was going to come.

We have to start inventing the wheel

every time something comes along.

We went through the cold war,

we went through Bosnia,

then we went through Kosovo,

we had a crisis in Macedonia,

we had Afghanistan.

In each case we produced

voluminous lessons learned.

And we put them on the shelf

and each time something came along,

we started from square one.

Is NATO still

too dependent on the US?

I think there are some people

who live with delusion,

that if the challenge comes

in the future in the security world,

then essentially

the Americans will be there.

The Europeans better

abandon the delusion

that they’ll always be there

because they might not,

and there will be circumstances

where they certainly will not.

So they’ve got to make

the capacities and the thinking

and the strategies

that encompass a very new world

where they’re going to have

to show much bigger responsibilities

then they were willing

to do in the past.

What does this mean

for defence budgets?

There’s a huge problem

about declining defence budgets.

You either make the case

or you lose the cash.

And what you do with the cash

is also important

because the public

are increasingly frustrated

by the desire for capabilities

that don’t arrive or are flawed,

overtime, over cost...

So we’ve got to be more

prudent with how we buy things.

They’re being bought for yesterday’s

enemies and not tomorrow’s threats.

What are these new threats?

I went to speak to a local Rotary Club,

in my own locality recently.

So I outlined to them

my catalogue of current threats:

cyber, terrorism, extremism,

failed states etcetera.

You know, they were sort of saying:

You are getting us depressed.

I said: Well, if you look at it all,

this catalogue of problems

that are out there,

each one of which can suddenly

erupt upon us just as the events

of the last weeks have done,

yes, you can get depressed,

but there is an answer

and that is good,

robust defence capabilities.

How confident are you

in NATO’s capabilities today?

So when I came to NATO

headquarters in October of 1999

I said my three priorities

were capabilities,

capabilities, capabilities...

Well, if I was arriving now,

and somebody will be by the end

of the year, it’s exactly the same.

I hate to say that maybe

it will take another crisis for people

to start thinking soberly and sensibly

of what is needed

and often that’s maybe

the only way that you get

the politicians and NATO to think

about it properly, but without them,

you know, we in general,

never mind NATO in particular,

are not going to be equipped

to make our populations

as safe as they think they are.

Following Ukraine’s crisis,

what’s NATO’s role?

One of the great dangers

of this present crisis

is that NATO goes back

to the idea of territorial defence.

That’s of course essential,

but it’s not NATO’s future.

NATO’s future is dealing

with the broad range of challenges

that we’re going to face,

whether that is terrorism

or resource conflicts

or climate change

and cyber warfare, you know,

all of these different things

that are now facing the world,

they will not make people safer.

Will NATO still exist

in another 65 years?

I absolutely believe that NATO

will be around in 65 years' time

because it’ll still be necessary.

The problems, the challenges,

both in security

and the wider political context,

won’t have gone away.

So, that kind of organisation

will be required in the future

and that has been

hugely successful in stopping Stalin,

stopping the bloodbath

in the Balkans,

stabilising Afghanistan...

What will future NATO look like?

It’ll be a bigger NATO in the future.

I hope just as effective,

but it’s going to have

to encompass people at the moment

who themselves don't think

they want to be part of NATO,

but whose people will

eventually say: That’s the way.

We’ll have a safer country

and a safer world as well.

There’s no security in Europe, unless

there’s an eventual perspective

of an organisation that says:

We stand for values,

stand for liberal values,

and that has to include Russia,

whether under the present

or a future leadership,

because the previous leadership,

when Mr Putin was first president,

believed in exactly that objective.

And that’s what we’ve got to aim for.

So, yeah, in 65 years' time

somebody, not me,

will be saying:

What about the next 65 years?

NATO: Will it still be here

in another 65 years?

What has NATO learned

from recent events in Ukraine?

It was perfectly foreseeable

that the Ukrainian crisis

was going to come.

We have to start inventing the wheel

every time something comes along.

We went through the cold war,

we went through Bosnia,

then we went through Kosovo,

we had a crisis in Macedonia,

we had Afghanistan.

In each case we produced

voluminous lessons learned.

And we put them on the shelf

and each time something came along,

we started from square one.

Is NATO still

too dependent on the US?

I think there are some people

who live with delusion,

that if the challenge comes

in the future in the security world,

then essentially

the Americans will be there.

The Europeans better

abandon the delusion

that they’ll always be there

because they might not,

and there will be circumstances

where they certainly will not.

So they’ve got to make

the capacities and the thinking

and the strategies

that encompass a very new world

where they’re going to have

to show much bigger responsibilities

then they were willing

to do in the past.

What does this mean

for defence budgets?

There’s a huge problem

about declining defence budgets.

You either make the case

or you lose the cash.

And what you do with the cash

is also important

because the public

are increasingly frustrated

by the desire for capabilities

that don’t arrive or are flawed,

overtime, over cost...

So we’ve got to be more

prudent with how we buy things.

They’re being bought for yesterday’s

enemies and not tomorrow’s threats.

What are these new threats?

I went to speak to a local Rotary Club,

in my own locality recently.

So I outlined to them

my catalogue of current threats:

cyber, terrorism, extremism,

failed states etcetera.

You know, they were sort of saying:

You are getting us depressed.

I said: Well, if you look at it all,

this catalogue of problems

that are out there,

each one of which can suddenly

erupt upon us just as the events

of the last weeks have done,

yes, you can get depressed,

but there is an answer

and that is good,

robust defence capabilities.

How confident are you

in NATO’s capabilities today?

So when I came to NATO

headquarters in October of 1999

I said my three priorities

were capabilities,

capabilities, capabilities...

Well, if I was arriving now,

and somebody will be by the end

of the year, it’s exactly the same.

I hate to say that maybe

it will take another crisis for people

to start thinking soberly and sensibly

of what is needed

and often that’s maybe

the only way that you get

the politicians and NATO to think

about it properly, but without them,

you know, we in general,

never mind NATO in particular,

are not going to be equipped

to make our populations

as safe as they think they are.

Following Ukraine’s crisis,

what’s NATO’s role?

One of the great dangers

of this present crisis

is that NATO goes back

to the idea of territorial defence.

That’s of course essential,

but it’s not NATO’s future.

NATO’s future is dealing

with the broad range of challenges

that we’re going to face,

whether that is terrorism

or resource conflicts

or climate change

and cyber warfare, you know,

all of these different things

that are now facing the world,

they will not make people safer.

Will NATO still exist

in another 65 years?

I absolutely believe that NATO

will be around in 65 years' time

because it’ll still be necessary.

The problems, the challenges,

both in security

and the wider political context,

won’t have gone away.

So, that kind of organisation

will be required in the future

and that has been

hugely successful in stopping Stalin,

stopping the bloodbath

in the Balkans,

stabilising Afghanistan...

What will future NATO look like?

It’ll be a bigger NATO in the future.

I hope just as effective,

but it’s going to have

to encompass people at the moment

who themselves don't think

they want to be part of NATO,

but whose people will

eventually say: That’s the way.

We’ll have a safer country

and a safer world as well.

There’s no security in Europe, unless

there’s an eventual perspective

of an organisation that says:

We stand for values,

stand for liberal values,

and that has to include Russia,

whether under the present

or a future leadership,

because the previous leadership,

when Mr Putin was first president,

believed in exactly that objective.

And that’s what we’ve got to aim for.

So, yeah, in 65 years' time

somebody, not me,

will be saying:

What about the next 65 years?