FAES Papers Special The Atlantic Alliance 70 Years Later: From Reform to Rebuilding


Ten years ago, FAES published a report on the state of the NATO alliance1. Within the report, it was brought to light a serious deterioration after the loss of a direct nuclear threat which would have guaranteed a high level of strategic
cohesion. The Alliance, as illustrated in the text, had passed from being a collective defense system to an international security organization, more concerned by projecting security within its own surroundings and in organizing peace missions. Without denying the importance of such developmental work, the report also maintained the importance of recuperating the focus that brought meaning to the Alliance, and as a result, the Organization, the instrument it was endowed to achieve its goals. In order to do so, proposed lines of action were insisted upon such as counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, the promotion of democracy, antimissile defense… as well as the revision of decision-making procedures.

A decade later, we find ourselves in a different situation, without doubt much more complex, in which NATO has not been able to define its place and function and in which internal differences generate a serious ‘wear and tear’, as well as an increasing lack of credibility. Seventy years later, the Alliance is weaker, at a time in which the Organization has, after undergoing a process of increased bureaucratization, stressed its vocation as a security-based one.

Can we accept this NATO as the new normal? Is it an acceptable result of its adaptation within a new period? Should we not aspire to a better Alliance? Furthermore, does it even make sense that NATO exists in the year 2019?

Translation by Beth Erin Jones

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