On the 29th of June 2022, in Madrid, NATO’s 30 members adopted a new Strategic Concept for the Alliance. The successful adoption of the long-awaited new Concept is a positive achievement and the process leading up to its’ presentation has been extensive both in effort and scope. NATO arranged and participated in meetings across Europe with government officials and expert communities, and Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has been applauded for the open and inclusive process leading up to the adoption. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24th marked a new watershed that changed the parameters for the drafting of the Concept.
Russia has gone from being described as a potential “strategic partner” in 2010 to being defined as an aggressive adversary. As a clear message to Russia and Ukraine, the Concept underscores that a strong, independent Ukraine is vital for the stability of the Euro-Atlantic area. The balancing act of both communicating firm condemnation of Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine and presenting a vision for a more resolved relationship in the future is a key challenge for NATO.
The security environment has dramatically changed since the last Strategic Concept was adopted in 2010 and it predated the Arab Spring, the migration crises, the annexation of Crimea, Donald Trump’s presidency, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the joint security approach to Russia. This policy brief looks at the key takeaways from NATO’s new Strategic Concept.
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