NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gave a keynote speech to the Munich Security Conference recently.

Mr Stoltenberg stressed that in a more unpredictable security environment it was essential to have strong multilateral frameworks; strong defence; and strong transatlantic cooperation.

“Thank you so much. It’s really a great pleasure to be back here at the Munich Security Conference, especially because the focus this year is on the need for global institutions, for global order.

And we all know that these institutions, this rules-based order is under pressure. And therefore we also know that when these institutions are under pressure, we also see more uncertainty and more unpredictability.

And therefore today, I will actually focus a bit on how we can deal with that unpredictability and the more uncertain security environment that surrounds us.

I will do that of course out of the perspective of NATO. And I will also do that knowing that one way of dealing with uncertainty is to try to predict the future.

At the same time, we know that to predict the future is extremely difficult.

We were not able to predict the fall of the Berlin Wall. We were not able to predict the 9/11 attacks. And we were not able to predict the rise of ISIS.

And I can also confess to you that I know it’s not only in the realm of international security that it is hard to predict the future.

Because for many years – well, not so many years – but in my first job, as an economist in the Central Bureau of Statistics in Norway, we tried to predict the oil price.

And we were wrong all the time. So to predict the future is not easy.

What is therefore needed is not only to try to predict the future, but to develop strategies to deal with uncertainty, to be prepared for the unexpected. And when it comes to security, there are at least three essential things we need to address when we try to develop a strategy to deal with and be able to tackle uncertainty.

One is strong multilateral frameworks; Second, strong defence; And third, strong transatlantic cooperation.

All of these help us to reduce risks. And to cope with surprises when they happen. And they will happen.

So first, we need strong and effective multilateral frameworks.

After the destruction of World War Two, visionary leaders created institutions that enabled countries to compete and cooperate peacefully.

That covered everything from European security and arms control. To monetary policy and international trade. They protected the weak from the strong. They ensured our peace and prosperity. And they have benefitted us all, and they have been incredibly effective in meeting the needs of the people they served.

Yet today, these institutions are under pressure. If we want them to remain effective. We need to continue to reform and modernize them. That is why one of my main objectives in NATO has been reform. To make sure the Alliance remains fit for the future.

One important framework that has served us all very well is the nuclear arms control regime. Which, over many decades has dramatically reduced the number of nuclear weapons. In the early 1990’s, the United States and the Soviet Union each deployed 12,000 long-range strategic nuclear warheads.

Today there is a limit of 1,550 warheads for each country. There were also almost three thousand intermediate range nuclear weapons in Europe. The INF Treaty banned them all,

And brought that number down to zero. But now, the whole nuclear arms control regime is under assault. Russia has deployed several battalions of its new SSC-8 missile system, in breach of the Treaty.  

These missiles are mobile. Easy to hide. And nuclear-capable.

They can reach European cities, like Munich, with little warning. They lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons in a conflict.

It was on this very stage, at the Munich Security Conference in 2007, this was the place that President Putin first publicly expressed his desire for Russia to leave the INF Treaty. A treaty that is only respected by one side will not keep us safe.

Then it is just a piece of paper. That is why, with the full support of all NATO Allies, the United States has announced its intention to withdraw from the Treaty.

This will take effect in six months. So Russia still has a window of opportunity to return to compliance.

We call on Russia to take that opportunity. And to verifiably destroy its intermediate range missiles. The clock is ticking. We want Russia to return to compliance.

But we are also preparing for a world without the INF Treaty. And a world with more Russian missiles in Europe. NATO has already started this work. And I will not predict the outcome. But what I can say is that we will do this as an Alliance.

United and measured.

And that NATO has no intention of deploying new land-based nuclear weapons in Europe. NATO will always take the necessary steps to provide credible and effective deterrence.

While we remain determined to avoid a new arms race, we cannot afford to be complacent, and we cannot afford to be naïve.

And that brings me to my second point, the second thing we must do to deal with uncertainty. To continue investing in our defence.

For centuries in Europe, conflict was our constant companion.

The last 70 years of peace have been the exception, and not the rule. We must never take peace for granted.”

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keithdwat
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keithdwat

I dont see NATO lasting too much longer, EU-US/UK tensions are on the rise and the EU is almost constantly naming the US as a threat these days for some reason(??). I suppose you always need a boogeyman, but with these talks of EU-US trade tariffs, rightly so from a US perspective, and I suppose UK one now as well, we may be beginning to see the beginnings of the unravelling of the western alliance, I hope not. Although I suppose those tensions have always been there though. Unfortunately NATO is not united, nor do countries seem to care about… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest

With most of our Parliament in love with the EU in every shape and form I fear the UK will be stuck in the middle.

captain P Wash.
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captain P Wash.

“Between The Rock and a Hard Brexit Place” so to speak !

(Sometimes I just come up with the odd Gem, Most of the time though, It’s just Waffle. !)

Ulya
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Ulya

Waffle is such an interesting word. Describes his speech well

keithdwat
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keithdwat

yes well, stuck between associating with the US and stuck half in and out with the EU is not an ideal option, however possible, which is why I said the optimistic option would be the 3 pillars of the west idea so to speak! we’ll see what happens!

maurice10
Guest

EU and US relations will always be strong, and Britain’s unique link with American forces will only strengthen in the coming years. Once Trump is gone, the old order will return and strengthen if Russia fails to change from its current defence / foreign policies. The only destabilizing factor is the new military alliance between Germany and France. I do believe, this is only a cosmetic exercise to demonstrate their independent thinking, and to stick two fingers up in Trump’s direction?

johnf
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johnf

Russia does not trust China, and China will never trust Russia, they will only be allies for the PR, never for real.

We live in interesting times, and Brexit is just a sideshow ( mainly because the UK politicians prefers it that way.)

Ulya
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Ulya

Trust is for children John, mutual interests and a mutual enemy is a far stronger bond. Russia and China have alot to gain from working together and alot to loose if we dont, so old mistrust must be put behind us if we are to survive

Simon
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Simon

It is highly upsetting that NATO came out of an Anglo-French arrangement (because of Nazi Germany) and a Franco-German one might destroy it.

I’ve said for many years it is an Anglo-French defence and trade relationship that will unite both sides of the Atlantic – not what is currently happening. Anglo-French > Anglo-French-Canadian > Anglo-French-Canadian-American.

Hopefully Italy is even earlier than the USA but without the French I can’t see a united North Western hemisphere.

dave12
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dave12

NATO is not going to be destroyed for some who wish it to be, Trump is not going to be around for ever as some who wish it to be and when hes gone the status quo will return. I really doubt the EU would break away from it as some who wish it to do .
NATO has kept us in the west pretty much safe since its creation and will keep doing so.

keithdwat
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keithdwat

The EU wish to be fully independent of outside support, its a long time until we will see a potential breakup(of course it may never happen but i see it as a possibility!) but there are forces at work in the continent.
As for Trump I dont think he wants to end NATO he just wants nations to pay their fair share and not just free load off the US. Meanwhile EU nations dont even pay their share but are willing to pay for a new European force!

dave12
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dave12

I agree with the EU free loading off the US in NATO terms.I dont take what trump says to seriously he just reacts immediately any one who disagrees with him right here and now without thinking ,North koreas Kim is a good example ,hes showering kim the dictator with kind words now.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest

Yes.

But what did all the previous presidents do?

He’s doing more than any of them.

dave12
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dave12

I think bill clinton in international terms did much more good than what Trump is doing but my political views are center, not right .

Daniele Mandelli
Guest

Maybe so but I am talking purely on the North Korean situation.

Trump is talking to them. Meeting with them.

And other Presidents did didlly squat and kicked the situation into the long grass.

Clinton liked launching Cruise missiles at countries too. Much like what Trump did in Syria and got lampooned for.

Understand your centre ground view Dave, I respect that.

It is something our parliament desperately needs to offer alternative to the other two. And I say that as someone with largely, but not totally, right wing views.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest

“there are forces at work in the continent.”

There certainly are!

Don’t believe what they show you on the BBC news…it’s what they don’t show.

Plenty of sources for that if you know where to look.

Before the Orwelian thought police close them down for daring to differ from the PC norm.

Johnf
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Johnf

Very unlikely that the status quo will return. USA is changing in all sorts of ways, Trump is a sign of that change, he is not the cause of it.

dave12
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dave12

Lib dems have failed in the centre ground ,labour have lost reality with loony corbyn,SSB with out nukes lol!! Rory stewart MP impresses me ,Hes got great documentary on netflixs about the afgan war.

antidote
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antidote

He has lost the plot, but how many of the public would also get rid of them? Didn’t Corbyn say something about keeping the subs but sending them to sea without the missiles?

The man’s a communist. Communism is said to have been the cause of 100,000,000 deaths in the 20th century. Enough said.

dave12
Guest
dave12

yep for sure.

Johnf
Guest
Johnf

Looks like Trump is going to let Europe defend itself, and he will let someone else pay the bills.

David Steeper
Guest

Have to say I like this guy. As politicians go he’s pretty honest but have to say it’s also because of a Norwegian film called Troll Hunter. I’d recommend to you all especially his appearance right at the end. Won’t spoil it for you but safe to say I can’t imagine any of our politicos having the sense of humour he has.

antidote
Guest
antidote

Seen it. Enjoyed it greatly.