van Heuven, Marten (2000) Where will NATO be ten years from now? ZEI Discussion Papers: 2000, C 67. [Discussion Paper]
Introduction. This might seem like an innocent question, hardly worth much attention in the midst of NATO's fiftieth birthday celebrations. It implies that NATO will be around a decade hence. It suggests that, like people, NATO will grow naturally more mature and, hopefully, more respected. It assumes that prediction is possible. We should know better. So let us look again. NATO is a bundle of commitments, efforts and procedures agreed upon by a growing number of countries over the past half century to safeguard their vital interests. It now faces a world marked by accelerating change, in which everyone is connected but nobody is in charge. Its utility as a tool to serve the security interests of its members-demonstrated with resounding success during the Cold War-is not a given in the current age of transition and globalization. So the title question is serious. It deserves a serious answer. This answer will not be predictive. No one can tell where NATO will be ten years from now. However, it is possible to build an estimative assessment. Such an assessment can examine key variables and identify socalled drivers. This approach can lead to an appreciation of the factors that will influence the future of NATO, key events that may determine its course and, hopefully, policy choices on the road ahead. This paper will not, however, go into the question whether one possible scenario is more-or less-likely than another. To be sure, the official world of estimative intelligence usually does make such an effort. In this paper, however, there is neither the time nor the space to apply probability analysis to the many issues making up this complex subject.
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