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NATO 20/2020 February 24, 2021

Reimagine the Washington Treaty: NATO 20/2020 podcast

By Damon Wilson and Will O'Brien

 Reexamining NATO’s founding charter can be an exercise in creating an Alliance fit for a new geopolitical era. 

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About this episode

A transatlantic alliance only became a reality in 1949 when the end of WWII was overshadowed by the threat of communism. The North Atlantic Treaty, also known as the Washington Treaty, was an effective answer to an inflection point in the history of the international order, founding an alliance that succeeded in safeguarding the free world.

More than seventy years later, the global system sits at another inflection point. Increasing challenges from authoritarian regimes, namely Russia and China, combined with democratic erosion, abandonment of norms, and a dramatically changed geopolitical and technological landscape demand a reexamination of the only alliance capable of organizing free nations’ defense and guaranteeing their prosperity.

What would the Washington Treaty look like if it were written today? How should NATO meet today’s new and more complex geopolitical challenges while maintaining the elegant simplicity and flexibility of its founding treaty?

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Key Takeaways

  • 1:40: Damon and Will explain what the Washington Treaty is and the idea behind their recommendation to reimagine the Washington Treaty
  • 5:15: Damon explains how the reimagined NATO would position the Alliance as the backbone of the free world
  • 7:17: Damon and Will talk about how allies will be able to recommit to meeting democratic values and principles
  • 11:07: Damon discusses how their recommendation is different from what’s already in the Washington Treaty
  • 13:22: Damon adds how their recommendation is going to help NATO be able to hold its members to account to be able to face of the challenge of authoritarian regimes
  • 15:22: Damon and Will discuss the potential for a standalone article that would address protecting allies’ economic security in the midst of rapid technological change and great power competition
  • 24:24: Damon talks about how to use NATO to help bring disparate actors on board to develop common strategies and approaches while thinking about some of the big global challenges of today
  • 33:31: Will describes whether NATO needs a new treaty or if it needs to talk about the old treaty more and talk about how it can be enlivened
  • 37:53: Damon discusses if their recommendation is something that the Alliance would be willing to do

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NATO 20/2020

Oct 14, 2020

Reimagine the Washington Treaty

By Damon Wilson and Will O’Brien

Reexamining NATO’s founding charter can be an exercise in creating an Alliance fit for a new geopolitical era.

Economy & Business Europe & Eurasia

Explore the podcast series

The Transatlantic Security Initiative, in the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, shapes and influences the debate on the greatest security challenges facing the North Atlantic Alliance and its key partners.

Related Experts: Damon Wilson

Image: Raising of the flags at the handover ceremony for the new NATO Headquarters