1 March 2007


NATO: Defence of security and shared values

Speech by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
at the Grandes conférences catholiques

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The list of past speakers of the Grandes Conférences Catholiques is about as impressive as one can imagine.  Eminent individuals from all walks of life have talked about the arts, politics, or philosophy.  So when I received the invitation to speak at this distinguished forum, my initial reaction was: what have I done to deserve that honour? 

But then I remembered that saying by Schopenhauer that honour is not something one can gain, only something one must avoid losing.  And given the generous amount of time allotted to my speech tonight, it seems that I will have a full hour of opportunity to lose it!

The major focus of the Grandes Conferences Catholiques is on Europe, but also on our continent's relationship to the wider world.  Not surprisingly, therefore, many speakers in this distinguished series of lectures have been involved in matters transatlantic.  And this includes almost every Secretary General of NATO: from Paul-Henri Spaak to George Robertson. 

I will try to follow in their footsteps.  First, by looking at our security landscape, then by offering some reflections on the state of the transatlantic relationship, and finally by laying out the basic characteristics of what I call an “enlightened Atlanticism” in security. 

For a few short years after the collapse of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, we, the liberal democracies in Europe and North America, developed a natural tendency to think of ourselves as the new global majority.  As history had supposedly come to an end, and as no ideological rival challenged the supremacy of liberal societies, it became easy to believe in a brighter future.  Military conflicts would be a thing of the past as the global system became increasingly dominated by trade and economics. 

The spread of democracy would be inevitable as more and more people overthrew authoritarian systems and demanded freedom.  Globalisation would take down barriers, make totalitarian control and censorship impossible.  Above all, globalisation would create the world that the journalist Tom Friedman called “the flat world” – a world of individual enterprise and prosperity for all. 

It was almost as if we believed in some sort of reverse Marxism, in which historical forces would run the international system and produce a universal triumph of liberal democratic values.  All we needed to do was to sit back and to cheer the process on. 

How quickly this vision has disappeared.  Globalisation is continuing, of course, but we increasingly recognise its darker side; it is not only a means of opening up economies, lifting people out of poverty, and spreading democratic values.  It is also a vehicle for importing radicalism, religious fanaticism and the techniques of terrorism into our own societies.

We use cyberspace to spread knowledge and information – our adversaries use it to spread something equally powerful: irrational ideas.  The same flow networks that allow money and information to be transferred instantly across borders can also be used by criminal networks to traffic virtually any commodity – people, missile components, laundered finance, guns and fissile materials.

In a similar way to the beginning of the 20th century, the 21st century is seeing an initial wave of liberal globalist euphoria giving way to a much more sombre mood as the extent of the security challenges before us becomes ever clearer.  Proliferation is one of them, and the disturbing North Korean and Iranian programmes present major threats to our security. 

If we take a look at Europe’s immediate neighbourhood, the picture is not terribly reassuring.  The Middle East remains a region in transition.  In some parts of the region, we see democratic progress, advances in education and greater opportunities for women.  But the security situation in Iraq remains precarious, the Iranian issue is becoming increasingly acute and the Arab-Israeli dispute is still unresolved.  And, on top of all that, we now have to cope with the spectre of violent conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

Just to the south of us, in Africa, the picture in just as uneven.  On the one hand, there appear to be the beginnings of a certain African unity, for example in the peace support operations led by the African Union.  As someone who lived in Africa, and who loves this continent, this is a heartening development.  At the same time, however, Africa is predicted to have some 1.2 billion inhabitants by 2025, while there will be 50% more young people between the ages of 15 and 25 in the Middle East.  If these exploding demographics produce despair from lack of jobs and opportunity at home, the migratory pressure on Europe, which is already intense, will become extreme.

At the same time, the centre of gravity in world politics, which for the past half century has been dominated by the attractiveness of Western liberal democracy, based on the transatlantic community, is now shifting towards Asia -- with the emergence of China and India and the reconstitution of Russia based on its energy resources.  This shift in power is not only reflected in population terms but also in the fact that in 2005 for the first time there was more investment in the emerging economies than in the developed countries.

Compared to the challenges in our neighbouring regions, our continent of Europe may seem like an oasis of relative stability and prosperity.  But we are increasingly aware of how much we still have to do to fully integrate our own multicultural societies into a common framework of the rule of law, the capacity to cope with multiple identities and mutual tolerance.

Only a Europe that is sure of itself – only a Europe that is conscious of its own identity and values – will be able to master this challenge.  In my view, we are not yet self-confident enough.  If we were, we would not look at Turkish membership in the European Union as a challenge to Europe’s unity and cohesion.  Instead, we would welcome it as an enrichment of our cultural, spiritual and economic life.  And we would come to appreciate the crucial role that a Muslim but secular Turkey can play as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East.

This brief tour d’horizon may lead one to the conclusion that we are in danger of being overwhelmed by the darker sides of globalisation.  Yet this would be the wrong conclusion to draw.  I do not accept the proposition that we are somehow helpless victims of events that are beyond our control. 

I believe that our societies can shape events and not be their victims.  I believe that our values – freedom, human rights, democracy, and religious tolerance – give us the compass to chart a course through an increasingly complex world.  Above all, however, I believe that we have a unique instrument for upholding and promoting our universal values – and for protecting them when they are under threat: our Atlantic community of nations. 

This Atlantic community came about after World War Two.  It was based on the idea that the United States and Canada should have their distinct place in Europe.  It was an attempt once and for all to end the traditional pattern of European states to provide for their defence autonomously, and often at each others' expense.  By forging a transatlantic community, we removed one of the prime causes of war in Europe. 

Today, well over half a century later, the foundations of our Atlantic community have changed.  Containing Europe’s self-destructive energies is no longer the main motivation for our cooperation.  But the logic of Europe and North America acting together remains as strong as ever.  For even in this new century, Europe and North America continue to represent the nexus of democracy, pluralism, market economy, and technological innovation.  No other continents are greater stakeholders in global stability, and, hence, no other continents have a greater responsibility for upholding global security.

For this reason, a look at our emerging security environment is not a cause for pessimism.  For me, it simply underscores one fundamental fact, which is that we need a vibrant transatlantic community more than ever.  In the 21st century, the need for an organised response to the challenges that are rapidly building up on the frontiers of the transatlantic community will become compelling.  And more than ever, we need tried and tested frameworks in which Europe and North America consult, coordinate and act together. 

In principle, two such frameworks exist.  One is the dialogue between the European Union and the United States.  This dialogue is instrumental in coordinating transatlantic policies on a host of important international issues, such as trade relations and environmental policies.  That’s why this dialogue will become increasingly important, and why we should nourish it.

However, when it comes to “hard” security, the Alliance is the obvious choice.  When the foundations of our security are at stake, we need a framework which brings together the United States and the Europeans not simply as two sides in a negotiation, but as true Allies.  A solid framework where everyone is part of the political consensus-building, the military planning, and the military operation.  A framework which gives the United States a role and responsibility in the security of Europe, but which also gives Europe access to – and a degree of influence over – the United States.

Such a framework does exist: NATO, our transatlantic Alliance.  An Alliance that continues to be based on the core principle of collective defence, but which is now increasingly the organisation of choice when it comes to formulating Europe and North America’s joint strategic response to the new, global security challenges, shaping political initiatives, and delivering coordinated political-military answers.

The key question, then, is this: can the transatlantic community deliver?  The frameworks for common action are there, but do we also have the sense of common purpose to face the complex challenges that I just laid out?

Immediately after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, there was a great sense of transatlantic unity.  America and Europe both realised that these attacks were not simply aimed against the United States.  They seemed fully determined to come to grips with the threat of a new breed of indiscriminate, lethal terrorism – and convinced of the need to do so together.

Just a few years later, in the wake of the Iraq debate, that transatlantic common purpose seemed to have vanished completely.  When people talked about the transatlantic ties, they talked about ties that they believed were fraying.  Instead of talking about a new consensus on how to tackle 21st century security threats we were talking about transatlantic drift.  We were told that America and Europe had become so incompatible in their respective outlooks on the world that cooperation was no longer viable. We were told that our ideas of “world order” had become so different that we no longer saw eye to eye on the great issues of our time.

The split was real.  But we are overcoming it.  Today, just a few years later, the situation is markedly different.  There is a clear reappraisal of the need for transatlantic cooperation.  And, by the same token, there also is a clear understanding of the need for NATO to play a central role in this relationship.

What has accounted for this change of attitude?  What has turned the pessimism of a just a few tears ago into the realism of today?  In my view, there are three reasons.

The first reason is that the lessons of the Iraq debate did sink in:  the US needs Allies, just as Europe cannot act as a “counterweight” to the US.  In short, both sides of the Atlantic have become more humble.  And humility is never a bad foundation for dealing with one another.

The second reason why there is now more realism in the transatlantic relationship is that both sides of the Atlantic now have a clearer appreciation of the need to adapt this relationship.  After all, the terrorist attacks of “9/11” are now more than five years behind us.  Europe was struck by terrorism as well not long after “9/11” – with vicious attacks in Madrid, Istanbul, London and other places.  And even if the images and emotions of all those attacks have seared into our consciousness forever, it is fair to say that enough time has now passed to allow for a more cool-headed analysis of where the transatlantic community stands -- and where it needs to go. 

We now realise that much of the subsequent debate about the decline of the transatlantic relationship was based on a flawed logic.  The pundits had confused necessary painful adjustments in the transatlantic relationship with decline.  Today, this confusion has finally evaporated.  We now realise that the transatlantic relationship is going through a formative period, perhaps not unlike the immediate post-war years, when our transatlantic community emerged.  Such formative periods are fraught with difficulties and risks, and they hold much scope for disagreement.  But, like in the post-war years, we’ll get it right if we keep our eye on the ball.  Divorce is simply not an option.

And this brings me to the third reason for the increased realism – and dare I say, optimism – in the transatlantic relationship: NATO’s recent evolution.  The transformation of this Alliance since “9/11” is perhaps the strongest demonstration of the ability of the transatlantic community to reinvent itself. 

Indeed, if one takes a closer look at NATO’s agenda since “9/11”, one can discern the key characteristics of a new transatlantic security partnership.  By that I mean an Atlanticism that is not based on Cold War nostalgia, but on a common appreciation of the need to adapt the transatlantic toolkit to entirely new circumstances.

What are the main features of this new, “enlightened Atlanticism”?  I believe there are six.

The first and foremost element of this new Atlanticism is the recognition that projecting stability has become the central tenet of modern security management.  In the Cold War, threats were associated with the physical occupation of territory.   Today, however, as Henry Kissinger has put it succinctly, the survival of a country can be put at risk by developments that happen entirely within the borders of another country. 

Afghanistan is a case in point.  For a long time, the Taliban regime appeared like a relic from a distant past – a curse for the people of Afghanistan, but irrelevant for the rest of the world.  On “9/11”, that view changed for good.  It became clear that the major challenges for transatlantic security no longer emerge from within Europe, but from outside the Old Continent.  And as a result, the traditional, geographical approach to security was quickly replaced by a functional approach that seeks to tackle emerging problems at their source.

The deployment of NATO troops to Afghanistan marked the victory of a functional approach to security over a geographical one.  The Allies thus resolved in practice what they never seemed to be able to resolve in theory: to turn NATO into a framework for pursuing transatlantic common interests unhampered by geographical constraints.

Developments since our first deployment to Afghanistan indicate that this shift is indeed a permanent one.  Today, more than 50,000 troops are deployed under NATO command, in missions and operations on three continents – from the Straits of Gibraltar all the way to the Hindu Kush. 

In Europe, NATO continues to keep the peace in the Balkans, notably in Kosovo where we are facing challenging times in the weeks to come.  In the Mediterranean, we are conducting naval anti-terrorist patrols.  In Afghanistan, our most important and challenging mission, NATO is leading the International Security Assistance Force, a mission that ranges from peacekeeping to reconstruction tasks and to combat operations.  In Iraq, NATO is training Iraqi security forces.  In Pakistan, after the earthquake in 2005, NATO provided humanitarian relief.  And in Africa, NATO in cooperation with the EU is airlifting African Union troops to the crisis region of Darfur. 

This is a broad spectrum of actvities indeed – and some have raised the question whether this means that NATO is now trying to take on every problem thrown up by globalisation.  I can reassure you that this is not the case.  If we tried to do that, we would fail.  Our strength lies clearly in stabilisation operations.  We have a range of invaluable assets.  We have integrated military forces.  And we have a well-established and tried and tested political-military decision making structure, as well as a network of partners and a wide range of troop contributors from around the globe.  This has enabled us to meet the challenges of stabilisation in Afghanistan.

Yet even if we all agree that NATO is not a humanitarian relief agency: if we can help, as in the case of the earthquake in Pakistan, should we say “no”?  And if the African Union asks us for help – not for boots on the ground, to be sure, but for logistical support – can we tell them that we are too busy elsewhere?  In my view, this would have been the wrong answer.  Our security policy is based on interests and on values.  And this means that we need to help when we can, where we can.  Helping the people of Afghanistan to shed the Taliban’s yoke, or helping the African Union to be more effective in looking after its own continent – both are investments in a more stable and just global order.  And that means they both are investments in our own long-term security.

Allow me, at this point, to say a few more words about the interrelationship between values and interests.  The transatlantic community is a community based on the Judaeo-Christian Humanist tradition.  And I am certainly not the first to observe that much of what NATO is doing these days is to engage in regions of predominantly Muslim belief.  In Bosnia, and later in Kosovo, NATO used force to protect innocent civilians most of whom were Muslims.  And NATO’s largest military operation today takes place in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.  Not surprisingly, perhaps, some observers, Christians and Muslims alike, have questioned NATO’s motivation.  Is NATO’s agenda an attempt to impose distinct Western values on non-Western societies?  Are we trying to re-shape the world in our image?

Ladies and gentlemen, nothing could be further from the truth.  Yes, NATO is an association of Western countries.  Yes, with the exception of secular Muslim Turkey, NATO is predominantly an Alliance of Christian countries.  Each December, the NATO compound here in Brussels is illuminated by a huge Christmas tree.  But the values that NATO stands for are not uniquely Christian.  The values that we promote and defend through our engagement are universal values.  The right of women to go to school is a universal right.  The right to choose your own religion, and not having to fear the death penalty for doing so, is a universal right.  The right to elect your democratic government in a free and fair election is a universal right.

These are the values we are defending, from the Balkans to Afghanistan.  They are non-negotiable.  But they are neither uniquely Western, nor are they uniquely Christian.  Indeed, I believe that countries from all parts of the globe, and from all major religions, should be able to agree on them.  For they are the true foundation for mankind’s survival in the 21st century.

The second element of the new, enlightened Atlanticism that I wish to briefly highlight is the need for fairer sharing of responsibilities among Allies.  Today, as in the past, in some cases there is simply no substitute for military force.  But if the major threats to our security are now outside of Europe, and if we agree on the need to address these problems when and where they emerge, we need military capabilities that are quite different from those we used to have in the Cold War.  We need forces that are far more flexible, forces that can react quickly; forces that can be deployed over long distance, and then sustained over a long period of time.  And we need forces that are capable of performing both combat operations tasks and post-conflict reconstruction work.  I must emphasise this point: we cannot afford a two-tier Alliance with some countries doing only the peacekeeping and reconstruction and others doing the high intensity and occasionally combat operations.  Solidarity and equitable burden sharing means that Allies must be willing and able to do both – and have the military forces to back up their political commitments.

Within NATO, we have made good progress in developing modern military capabilities.  Among the most important developments in this respect is the NATO Response Force, which gives NATO an entirely new rapid reaction capability.  We are also increasing our pool of strategic transport aircraft, so that we can get our forces quickly to where they are needed.  And we are taking a hard look at the way we prepare our operations, to ensure that they can be better planned, equipped, and paid for.

I do not intend to turn this into a lecture on defence transformation, but allow me to say just one more thing on this subject.  Transformation cannot be had on the cheap.  There are ways to spend our money smarter than we currently do, for example by pooling our resources and doing certain things multinationally.  But we simply cannot ignore absolute defence spending levels.  And that is why I will continue to press for the benchmark of two per cent of GDP as a minimum for each of the 26 NATO Allies.

A third feature of enlightened Atlanticism is NATO’s closer interaction with other major institutions.  The deployment of NATO forces into a crisis area may be indispensable for ending a conflict and for providing a secure environment for political and economic reconstruction.  However, that reconstruction – “nation-building” in the broadest sense – can only be achieved through cooperation with other actors, including the European Union, the United Nations and Non-Governmental Organisations.

Again, Afghanistan may offer the best example of the need for this comprehensive approach.  For the past few years, Afghanistan has been NATO’s number one operational priority.  It is in this country, more than in any of the Alliance’s other engagements, past or present, that we have been confronted with the strong inter-relationship between security and development.  After all, this is not a traditional conflict.  We have engaged ourselves to help resolve a conflict that resembles a “war among the people” rather than the classical war between states.  And it is vital not just for NATO, but for the entire international community, to take that experience to heart.

This means, first and foremost, that NATO needs to build a true strategic partnership with the EU.  I have said on many occasions that the current NATO-EU relationship is still not as comprehensive as I would like it to be.  The scope of our discussions is still too narrow.  But I remain convinced that the logic of coordination and cooperation will ultimately prevail over notions of institutional pre-eminence or competition. 

A more structured relationship between NATO and the United Nations is another near-term aim.  NATO and the UN operate in the same areas, from the Balkans to Afghanistan.  Yet our daily cooperation in the field contrasts with a lack of political consultation at the strategic level.  We want this to change.  NATO and the UN should develop a more coherent strategic relationship.  If such a relationship were to materialise, it would open many new exciting possibilities.  For example, NATO could provide training and mentoring of UN peacekeepers, or provide advice on operational planning.

A fourth element of the new, enlightened Atlanticism is the development of a common transatlantic approach vis-à-vis regions that lie beyond the traditional Euro-Atlantic area.  One such region is the Middle East.  I have often said that, in the years to come, no other region is going to affect transatlantic security more than the Middle East.  That is why NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue with seven countries in Northern Africa and the Middle East has been given more substance; why the Alliance is reaching out to countries in the Gulf region, and, last but not least, why we are training Iraqi security forces.

Let me underscore that we are fully aware of the diversity within this vast region.  We are also keenly aware of the fact that perceptions of NATO in this region are not always favourable.  But perceptions can change.  And the Alliance’s very positive experience of cooperation with a diverse group of partner countries throughout Europe and Central Asia suggests that this delicate balance can be struck.

In developing our relations with countries from the Middle East and the Gulf region, we will focus more and more on using NATO’s unique multinational experience in education and training.  Through almost six decades of military cooperation among Allies, NATO has acquired a wealth of experience in this area.  By sharing this experience with our partners from the Mediterranean and the Gulf region, we will foster the “human interoperability” that is so crucially important – for the success of future joint missions, as well as for our day-to-day cooperation.

Interest in NATO’s training capacities is not confined to the Middle East.  We also get requests from Africa.  A few years ago, it was almost unthinkable to put the words “NATO” and “Africa” in the same sentence.  Today, NATO is supporting the African Union in addressing the Darfur crisis – at the request of the AU.  And we are thinking about other ways in which we can support the evolution of the African Union into a stronger and more effective regional peacekeeper.

The fifth element of a new, enlightened Atlanticism is its commitment to enlarge our Atlantic community.  Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has acted in line with this commitment.  In recent years, 10 countries, most of which once belonged to the Warsaw Pact, have become full members of the Alliance.  These countries have tremendously enriched our Alliance.  They are full of enthusiasm.  They take their obligations very seriously.  And they know about values – after all, they once paid a high price to defend them.

Today, several more countries are knocking on NATO’s door.  They, too, want their fair share of Atlanticism; they, too, want to join an Atlantic Europe.  These are legitimate aspirations to which we must respond.  Perhaps not today and not tomorrow, to be sure, but eventually we must.  A Europe whole and free must be based on the principle of each nation being able to freely choose its security alignments.  As long as some nations are deprived of this freedom, as long as others are trying to make that choice for them, Europe will remain unfinished business.  That is why NATO’s doors must remain open – as a beacon of hope and inspiration for all those nations that have yet to complete their journey into our community.  After all, European and transatlantic integration have been, and will continue to be, the best recipe for long-term stability.

Let me stress at this point that the enlargement of NATO is not directed against Russia – or conducted at the expense of Russia.  Like every other country, Russia will benefit from a Europe whole, free, and at peace.  And, needless to say, NATO, no matter how many members it will ultimately have, will continue to honour its special relationship with Russia. 

NATO and Russia have come a very long way together over the past ten to fifteen years – in developing our political dialogue and enhancing our practical cooperation in a wide range of areas.  But what strikes me are not just the achievements but also the untapped potential: for instance, we could do much more in operations; in making our forces interoperable in peace support missions; in supporting each other in disasters and emergency situations; in fighting terrorism; and in developing tactical ballistic missile defences. 

This spring will mark two anniversaries in our NATO-Russia relationship – that of the 1997 Founding Act and of the 2002 NATO-Russia Council.  I hope that this will not be just an opportunity for a high-level ceremonial meeting but an impulse for more cooperation, and for a bigger and better effort to make this cooperation visible to our publics.

Reinforcing our Atlantic community is not just a question of bringing in new members and deepening our existing partnership relations.  In an age of globalisation, we can and must expand our community in yet another way as well: by developing new ties with additional countries that share our security concerns – and our values.  If Australia and New Zealand are already putting forces under NATO command in Afghanistan, and if Japan and South Korea are offering financial and other support in many crisis regions of the world, the time has clearly come to respond to the demands of these countries and develop closer relations with them.  Developing such ties to Asia and other regions does not reflect a desire or ambition to become the world’s policeman, the “gendarme du monde”.  It simply reflects a strategic necessity in an age of global challenges.

The sixth and final element of enlightened Atlanticism is a political element.  Simply put, we must look at NATO not only as a mechanism for generating forces for certain missions.  We must also use the Alliance as a forum for a broader strategic debate.

Let us be clear: The disagreements over the Iraq war – arguably the deepest crisis in NATO’s recent history – were not caused by a lack of collective military power.  They were caused by fundamental differences over whether to use military power.  In other words, NATO’s crisis at that particular moment was caused by differing interpretations of what constitutes a threat – and what constitutes an appropriate response.

If we want to prevent similar crises from erupting, we need to use NATO as a forum for a broader political debate about security issues.  In an environment where new security players, such as the EU, are finding their role, and where other parts of the world, such as the “Broader Middle East”, are growing in relevance, the transatlantic community can only make real progress if contending ideas are put to the test through informed and frank debate.

As I said earlier, we are now engaged on three continents, and in countries and cultures that were never on our radar screen during the Cold War.  So we have to have a much better understanding of the environment in which we are operating.  We need to constantly improve our expertise and to make sure that we are giving our diplomats and commanders on the ground the best strategic guidance.  That can only come from more political dialogue, information and intelligence sharing within the Alliance.  Avoiding controversy is a Cold War reflex that is now definitely out of date. 

As Albert Einstein used to say, knowledge emerges through dialogue.  And even if not all of our Council debates proceed on the intellectual level of Einstein, it is certainly high time to follow Einstein’s advice.

Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Europe and America are coping with a paradigm shift of historic proportions - a change of their entire security outlook. To believe that Europe and America could manage such a major readjustment in perfect lockstep, or that such a transformation could really happen without minimal discussion or disagreement, would be utterly naïve. Europe and the US are both transforming, it is true. The key question is whether they can maintain a mature security relationship that enables them to advance their common interests.

Coping with such massive change is never easy.  Some, on both sides of the Atlantic, hope to be able to return to an era when America was dominant and Europe was weak.  It was a time when the United States was ready to provide the leadership and the Europeans were generally ready to follow.  But in the complex world we are heading for, America will have difficulty in acting alone.  And Europe now exists and is asserting itself as a credible partner.  I am not saying that this renewed partnership will enable us to succeed in all circumstances, but I am convinced that without it we have little chance of influencing world affairs in the 21st century. 

That said, I know there are also a number of Europeans today who have lost their faith in the transatlantic relationship.  Those people have perhaps allowed themselves to be unduly influenced by a stereotypical image of the United States and by a political and especially media debate that has sometimes lost a sense of proportion.  To those people I would say Europe and America have experienced a whole series of crises in the past and we have always overcome them.  Do not lose sight of the essential fact.  We need America.

It is not in our interest to leave it to confront the new challenges on its own.  Anti-Americanism may be an easy and popular fashion but it has never served the interests of Europeans.

So, in my view, we have only one option:  we must embrace change.

This is the approach I have come to label “enlightened Atlanticism”.  It is the path NATO has chosen to take.  If the North Atlantic Allies remain committed, and if they push NATO’s agenda energetically forward, this great Alliance will remain the anchor of stability it has been for almost six decades, and deliver security well into the future.


Thank you.