August 1, 1999
NATO In 2010
By Marten H.A. van Heuven
Download the PDF
According to van Heuven, there are six issues that will shape the future of NATO: new security threats, the future of Russia, the state of the European Pillar, American involvement in NATO, the state of the global economy, and potential cataclysmic events. NATO in 2010 will be forced to adapt and respond to the technological innovations of the 21st century, including advanced weaponry, terrorism, and subsequent security threats. Additionally, U.S. leadership will continue to be an essential requirement for the maintenance of stability and prosperity of Europe. Yet, this ongoing responsibility will ensure relentless debate over the extent of U.S. obligations and those of our European allies. Van Heuven suggests that the proverbial glue of the future NATO will be cooperation based on common values, the same incentive that initiated the creation of the alliance post-WWII—although in absence of the Cold War threat, cohesion of the alliance will be more difficult to achieve.
The year 2010 might be seen as beyond the horizon of those engaged in operation planning, but short of the point where assumptions become sheer speculation. While Marten van Heuven does not presume to predict the future, he can and does illuminate the need for solidarity, organization, and leadership in the NATO of the 21st century.