NATO May Be a Relic but It’s Still Relevant

“NATO is a relic that remains relevant,” said Dr. Hans Binnendijk, senior fellow at the SAIS Center for Trans-Atlantic Relations, speaking Sept. 17 at the Air Force Association’s 2013 Air & Space Conference in National Harbor, Md. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has “been fairly flexible, adjusting … to new realities” after the Sept. 11 attacks, he said and added that the alliance has been able to stay relevant by shifting its focus. When asked his thoughts about how relevant the US is in NATO today, Binnendijk said that most European countries would answer, “Without the US, there would be no alliance.” He countered, however, “you’re going to get different answers” about needed capabilities depending on which country you ask. He explained that countries in southeastern Europe want the US to do more about missile defense, whereas Poland would want boots on the ground.