NATO’s Future: Relevant or Relic?

Robert E. Hunter30. Economic Conference

NATO’s Future: Relevant or Relic?

Amb. Robert E. Hunter

How to save freedom? An important topic – one might argue that it is the “evergreen” topic, always relevant and always at or near the top of the list of matters of concern to humankind. But to link that topic with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – NATO – is not at all obvious. What, indeed, can the future of a military organization have to do with “saving freedom?” “Everything” is not an implausible answer. Indeed, to see “freedom” and “NATO” as two separate and distinct topics or phenomena is to deny to history its proper place. Let us remember that the North Atlantic Treaty was signed in 1949 not just as part of a broad policy of containing both Soviet power and the spread of Communism in Europe but as one means, believed then to be an essential means, of defending freedom, in all of its components. Indeed, before the treaty speaks of military issues it speaks of the political and human values to which the new compact of then 12 nations was devoted:

The Parties will contribute toward the further development of peaceful and friendly international relations by strengthening their free institutions, by bringing about a better understanding of the principles upon which these institutions are founded, and by promoting conditions of stability and well-being. They will seek to eliminate conflict in their international economic policies and will encourage economic collaboration between any or all of them. [Article 2]

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