MUNICH – Two years ago, together with a broad group of former officials and experts, we warned that, in the absence of a new military and political strategy for the Euro-Atlantic region, there was a risk that stability would weaken and security would break down. Sadly, there are clear signs that this is happening, with Europe now beset by its most serious and deadly crisis in decades.
In Ukraine, more than 5,000 people have been killed, over 10,000 more have been wounded, and 1.2 million have been forced from their homes. If we do not stop the killing and address the mounting divisions in Europe, our generation may claim to have ended the Cold War yet still failed to secure a peaceful future.
No security architecture, old or new, can succeed without leaders who are committed to addressing and resolving core issues. No process or structure, however elegantly designed, can substitute for bold political leadership and agreement on shared goals. Today, however, one cannot escape the conclusion that the Euro-Atlantic region’s existing security architecture is not up to the task of resolving the current crisis and increasing cooperation and stability in the region.
Just look at where we are. The institutions established to support constructive interaction between Russia and the West are badly broken and appear incapable of addressing today’s core political, economic, and security issues. Close personal relationships among leaders and clear, timely communications – essential for managing crises – have been lacking for years, severely hampered by mutual distrust.