Trade Tweets for Tangible Results: The 2019 NATO Summit
In 2019, the United States will celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the creation of the most important military alliance in history. The NATO alliance has prevented a continental war in Europe and aligned like-minded nations in a pursuit of peace and stability. To honor seventy years of transatlantic cooperation and security and reinforce its commitment to a Europe whole and free, the United States should host the 2019 NATO Summit.
NATO has withstood both internal and external pressures to ensure the security of all members. In both wartime and peacetime, twenty-nine allies seek common ground toward building a safer, secure, and more prosperous world. NATO has been the backbone of America’s security policy in Europe for seventy years and that should continue.
U.S. leadership has secured alliance-wide agreement on policies, from nuclear force posture to intervention in Yugoslavia, that ensure the safety of all members. Instead of criticizing allies through harmful tweets, the United States should host the next NATO Summit as a method to constructively develop a more cohesive approach to European security. The United States cannot ensure transatlantic security alone; it needs the ingenuity, strategies, and commitment of all allies.
NATO’s Article 5 collective security guarantee, which states that an attack against one ally is an attack against all allies, has been invoked only one time in alliance history – by the United States. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, in America’s time of need, our allies responded. The Article 5 collective security guarantee is not only the backbone of our Allies’ defense, but our own.
In an alliance of nations, all members must properly contribute resources. A lack of defense spending, democratic backsliding, or other policy disagreements should not be addressed online. We can best strengthen NATO not by harmful tweets, but by working for tangible results. The United States should use its leadership in NATO to address the internal problems the alliance faces and strengthen alliance cohesion.
The United States should host the 2019 NATO Summit to advance the alliance’s important work on military modernization and diversification. Modernization of both conventional and nuclear forces is essential. Forward positioning of forces in Europe is a strategic imperative to deter threats from the east. And finally, not all battles are won on the traditional battlefield; they are often won in the hearts and minds of everyday citizens. That is why the alliance must enhance its ability to combat disinformation campaigns and cyber-attacks that threaten democratic institutions – the foundation of our societies.
Some say that the end of the Cold War brought us the end of history – and with it, the end of the need for alliances. Yet NATO constantly reforms itself to meet new challenges, including weapons of mass destruction proliferation, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity. Though birthed at the onset of the Cold War, NATO plays a critical role in U.S. security policy and will continue that role in the 21st century.
The United States should host the 2019 NATO Summit to show our unwavering support for NATO’s role in our national defense. Just as our allies stood with America after 9/11, we should continue to stand with our allies as we face a changing world. U.S. leadership can strengthen NATO and ensure that its success for the past seventy years will endure for the future.