The Future of NATO

The Honorable R. Nicholas Burns, Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics, Harvard Kennedy School

Nicholas Burns at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is facing new challenges and opportunities in a rapidly changing global economic, political, and security environment. In June 2011, former U.S. secretary of defense Robert Gates warned of “a dim, if not dismal future” for the transatlantic alliance, unless member states strengthened their cohesion, coordination, and commitments. What does the future hold for NATO? Should the alliance continue its enlargement? How should it relate to the rest of the world, especially a rising China, India, and Brazil? How does the Atlantic alliance fit into U.S. strategic priorities, particularly given Washington’s growing focus on the Asia-Pacific region? In May 2012, leaders from NATO member and partner countries will meet in Chicago to outline the priorities of the alliance. Join The Chicago Council for a conversation with The Honorable R. Nicholas Burns on the agenda of the Summit and his long-term vision for NATO.

This program formally commences a two-day international conference, titled “Smart Defense and the Future of NATO: Can the Alliance Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century?”, which The Chicago Council is hosting in partnership with the Chicago NATO Host Committee and eight of the world’s leading think tanks on international security and transatlantic relations. Approximately fifty delegates from more than a dozen countries will participate in a focused examination of the challenges confronting the alliance in a time of changing threats and constrained resources. Commissioned papers will serve as the backbone of conference discussions and will be released in advance of the NATO summit in May.

Speaker Bio

Pre-Reads

R. Nicholas Burns, “Obama Delivers a Clear Message on Iran,” Boston Globe, 03/15/2012 (Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University)

R. Nicholas Burns, “Diplomacy Returns to U.S. Arsenal,” Boston Globe, 03/02/2012 (Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University)

R. Nicholas Burns, “Dark Days in Mideast Test U.S. Policy,” Boston Globe, 02/17/2012 (Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University)

R. Nicholas Burns, “NATO on the Brink,” The Hill, 07/12/2011 (Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University)

Associated Press, “Russian President Says Missile Defense Plan U.S. Says Aimed at Iran Will Break Nuclear Parity,” The Washington Post, 3/23/2012

Thom Shanker, “General Says Afghans Need Big U.S. Force Beyond 2012,” The New York Times, 3/22/2012

Additional Information

Learn more about Ambassador Burns here.