NATO Evolving: Time to Deliver

This April, almost unnoticed amidst a sea of media gloom about the prospects for the transatlantic relationship, the United Nations and international cooperation generally, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member states agreed to take on the International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan. What is more, the debate within NATO was short and decisive. From August, NATO, working under the Assistance Force banner, will play a key part in rebuilding Afghanistan. While some debate NATO’s future, the organisation itself is already creating it.

The World Today
Published 1 June 2003 Updated 21 October 2020 4 minute READ

George Robertson

Secretary General of NATO and President of Chatham House

It is one of the supposed truisms of public relations that to even acknowledge criticism of yourself or your organisation is to give that criticism more substance. In my view, however, the readers of The World Today are well aware of, and may even contribute to, the debate about NATO’s future. I would therefore prefer to address the points made by critics, not least because I believe that the alliance has an extremely good story to tell.

No international organisation has a right to exist. They must continually prove their relevance and utility if they are to deserve the support of members. Because the international security landscape is dramatically changing and posing wholly new challenges, any body that wants to stay in good health had better pay heed to Charles Darwin and evolve.

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