NATO's Transformation

Can NATO play a role in the struggle against international terrorism? Will the Atlantic Alliance be able to defend our safety and security in a radically altered strategic environment? Can the old dog learn new tricks? Next week, NATO heads of state and government will answer these questions with an unequivocal "yes."

The months since the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington have been characterized by intense transatlantic debate. No holds were barred. Some Americans argued that the US no longer needed allies. Some Europeans argued that the US was irreversibly bent on unilateralism. Both views are wrong, and the Prague NATO summit will demonstrate why. The summit will bring home to even the greatest skeptics that when it comes to managing our long-term security, there is no alternative to Europe and North America acting together.

Tackling Terrorism: The events of September 11 th , 2001 clearly invalidated the conventional wisdom that terrorists want a lot of people watching, not a lot of people dead. Once a largely domestic concern, terrorism has become a major threat to international security.

This is why NATO will help tackle terrorism. The invocation of NATO's collective self-defense obligation on September 12 th , 2001 was only the beginning. A new NATO military concept for defense against terrorism will now follow, supported by the development of specific counter-terrorism capabilities. We will further increase our cooperation in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction and in dealing with the consequences should prevention fail. In short, NATO will become the focus for coordinating and planning the multinational military contribution to our defense against terrorism and other new threats.