The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, has defended the security and freedom of Europe and North American for nearly 75 years. In a recent speech at NATO headquarters in Belgium, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the primary challenge going forward is to adapt and renew NATO so that it can meet today’s challenges.
Secretary Blinken identified three categories of the greatest threats facing the alliance today. The first is dangers posed by militaries from other countries, including China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.
The second category is non-military threats from many of these same countries -– the technological, economic and informational tactics that threaten the security of NATO member states. The third category of threat is global crises like COVID-19 and climate change. Global terrorism also remains a danger.
To confront and deal effectively with these threats, “we must recommit to our alliances,” said Secretary Blinken:
“Our alliances were created to defend shared values. So, renewing our commitment requires reaffirming those values and the foundation of international relations we vow to protect: a free and open rules-based order.”
To remain effective, NATO must continue to modernize. “That begins with improving our military capabilities and readiness to ensure it maintains a strong military deterrent,” said Secretary Blinken. “We’ve also got to broaden our capacity to address threats in the economic, technological and informational realms,” he said.
Secretary Blinken urged NATO members to form broader coalitions of allies and partners. That, he explained, is the idea behind the Quad -– a group made up of Australia, India, Japan and the United States:
“We share a vision of a free, open, inclusive, and healthy Indo-Pacific region, unconstrained by coercion, and anchored by democratic values. We make a good team. And our cooperation will strengthen parallel efforts to ensure security in the East and South China Seas and to expand safe, affordable, and effective vaccine production and equitable access.”
The way forward for NATO, said Secretary Blinken, is “rooted in our shared values, and committed not only to rebuilding our alliances and partnerships, but to building them back better. If we do this, there are no challenges we cannot and will not overcome.”