— Grzegorz M Poznański (@G_M_Poznanski) February 24, 2016
— German Marshall Fund (@gmfus) February 24, 2016
Lute: we wish to declare NATO BMD IOC at Warsaw summit, we're not there yet but there are 4 months to go #NATOGMF
— mswierczynski (@mswierczynski1) February 24, 2016
On February 24, 2016, The Warsaw office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) hosted Ambassador Douglas E. Lute, permanent representative of the United States of America to NATO, Ambassador Jacek Najder, permanent representative of the Republic of Poland to NATO; and Ambassador Adam Thomson, permanent representative of the United Kingdom to NATO for a discussion titled ‘Counting Down to the NATO Warsaw Summit 2016’. The purpose of the meeting was to review key topics, identify priorities for the upcoming NATO Summit 2016 in Warsaw, and to discuss priorities in the run-up to the Summit. The event was moderated by Michal Baranowski, director of GMF’s Warsaw office.
Panellists presented their analysis of pressing issues that are on the agenda for the NATO Summit, and proposed potential policy solutions. They all agreed that the 2014 NATO Wales Summit was an important step for the Alliance to adapt to the new security environment. In this context, the upcoming NATO Summit will be a crucial moment to assess the progress achieved since the Wales Summit, and to concentrate on determining further steps for tackling external threats, such as the annexation of Crimea, conflict in Ukraine’s Donbass region, the increasing turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East, and the rise of the so-called Islamic State Group (ISIS).
Ambassador Lute said that he is confident that during the Warsaw Summit there will be solidarity among NATO’s allies and that the Summit itself will mark the beginning of a new phase in NATO’s history.
“I believe that the summit in Warsaw will be the moment of obvious transition to the next phase. Why do I say that? Because now, in 2016, it is obvious that NATO, as it was for the last 25 years, ceased to be valid. Above all, Russia is not a strategic partner […].”
Ambassador Najder echoed this statement, while assuring that Poland is equally concerned by the challenges on NATO's eastern and southern flanks. He highlighted the importance of the upcoming Summit by stating that “the Warsaw Summit must be the moment of decision-making.”
In response to questions on NATO’s permanent presence in Eastern and Central Europe, Ambassador Thomson explained that in the current geopolitical situation, NATO’s permanent presence is not necessarily the best solution to deal with the challenges the Alliance faces nowadays. However, NATO has multiple capabilities, which could be developed in order to be used as a deterrent. According to Thomson, NATO has moved forward to implement a deterrence strategy during the last ministerial meeting in February. He also indicated that the strategy should be ready before the Summit.
"I believe that in the next four months we will work out the details of how to create a program of deterrence and defence […]," said Thomson.
The event closed with an active question and answer session between the speakers and audience that consisted of representatives of embassies, a senior group of government officials, think tank and private sector representatives.