New Perspectives on Shared Security: NATO’s Next 70 Years

Throughout its history, NATO has endured because it adapts to each successive new challenge. As the alliance enters its eighth decade, it shows every indication of doing so again.

Nothing is forever, not even the world’s most powerful military alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Other regional bodies modeled on NATO, such as the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, have long ceased to exist.1However, the need for a common, principled, effective, and adaptable institution to help allies in North America and Europe look after their defense requirements is hardly going away. The world remains an unpredictable and, at times, violent place.

The most fitting way to celebrate NATO’s seventieth birthday is therefore to reflect not on the alliance’s past but on how NATO can best serve its member states’ interests in the future. This collection of essays from some of the world’s leading think tanks aims to do just that. It offers insights from the brightest minds in allied countries on the challenges facing NATO, as well as recommendations on how the alliance should respond if it is to retain its centrality to its members’ defense thinking for decades to come.

The focus on how best to secure NATO’s future might seem misplaced. After all, the alliance has outlasted the many phases of the Cold War, a decade of near unipolarity, and two decades of an increasingly fractured geopolitical landscape, successfully adapting to each new period while growing in size. Why should the future be any different?

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