|Updated: 06-Dec-2000||NATO Review|
An Alliance fit for the 21st century
Letter from the Secretary General
This will be my last letter to the readers of the NATO Review. After
four years as Secretary General of NATO, I will be leaving to become the
Secretary General of the Council and High Representative for the Common
Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union. Given the growing importance
of creating a European Security and Defence Identity in NATO, I consider
my new job as a logical continuity of the old. By working towards a Europe
that acts more coherently on security matters, I will in many ways be
working on a more mature transatlantic relationship as well.
This transatlantic relationship will remain at the heart of NATO and
of Euro-Atlantic security. Indeed, in these four years that I had the
pleasure to be Secretary General of this Alliance, the dynamism of our
transatlantic community has, if anything, increased even further. It has
enabled NATO to accelerate the adaptation it embarked upon after the Cold
War had ended. In these four years, we have changed the face of NATO and
Today, at its 50th anniversary, we can proudly say that NATO is well
prepared for the 21st century.
It is impossible to sum up all the many fascinating developments I have
been privileged to be a part of, but perhaps the central lessons I may
draw are these:
First, security in the 21st century is what we make of it. The future
can be shaped if there is a common vision, the means, and the solidarity
to implement it.
Second, security policy, like any policy, must be value-based. A policy
that does not reflect humanitarian concerns and protects the rights of
the individual misses the mark. In Kosovo, where our values were being
threatened, we decided to act - and we prevailed.
Third, an Atlantic approach to security remains our best hope to shape
the future. Kosovo has demonstrated this fact with utmost clarity. Together,
Europe and North America can overcome any challenge.
And yet one final observation may be in order here: NATO's dynamism is not generated by abstract political processes or military structures. It is generated by the people who work in it. Thus, my final thanks go to the people at NATO Headquarters, SHAPE and SACLANT, and to those in Allied and Partner nations. My very special thanks go to our men and women in Bosnia and Kosovo. They are building a better future for us and for the generations that will follow.