Alliance Reborn: An Atlantic Compact for the 21st Century

North Atlantic Treaty Organization in orthogra...

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We tend to be pretty focused on the Pacific out here in the Middle Kingdom, and for people like me who grew up on one side of this ocean and lives on the other, it is easy to forget – on occasion – that the Atlantic remains at the center of what one could still call “western civilization.” But if you buy much into the Huntingtonian “clash of civilizations” worldview, the importance of the Atlantic is likely set to grow, not decline, as China, India, Brazil, the Muslim world, and Russia emerge as centers of power.

That is why this particular study from the Washington NATO Project is so interesting. NATO, formed in the chill early years of the Cold War, has been twice wrenched by shocks that could cause the alliance to unravel, first by the end of the quasi-conflict that gave it life, and second by the war in Afghanistan that threatens its dissolution. If NATO is to have a life after Afghanistan, it will need a new raison d’etre, and the authors eloquently call for something beyond simple strategy.

It is time, they suggest, for a new Atlantic Compact.

A provocative read.

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