The US in NATO: adapting the Alliance to new strategic priorities
- NDC Policy Brief 17-21: The US in NATO: adapting the Alliance to new strategic priorities, by Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer and Martin Quencez*
At the June 2021 NATO Summit, Allies agreed that “[we] will engage China with a view to de fending the security interests of the Alliance”, as “China’s stated ambitions and assertive behaviour present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to Alliance security”. For Washington, it was a win to have NATO, the cornerstone of the United States’ network of alliances, acknowledge the challenge posed by China and expand the Alliance’s predominantly transatlantic focus.
During his visit to Europe in Spring 2021, President Biden signalled that “America was back” with a clear vision for NATO and that he was seeking European partners’ support. The US President’s recommitment to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty is premised on the expectation that NATO address the country’s current and future strategic concerns, in a security and geopolitical environment that has dramatically changed these last twenty years. China, technological competition, climate change, and hybrid threats and their destabilizing effects on NATO member states’ political cohesion, are now at the core of the US strategic agenda. These priorities redefine NATO’s purpose. In this context, NATO’s new Strategic Concept, to be presented in 2022, aims at addressing these very changes, especially as the Alliance enters the post-Afghanistan era.
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* (back) Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer is Director of Research for Transatlantic Security and Director of the Paris office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Martin Quencez is Fellow and Deputy Director of the Paris office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.