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On Monday, July 11, 2016, the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), together with Atlantik-Brücke, hosted a lively conversation on the results of the Warsaw NATO Summit. The event took place at the China Club in Berlin and featured Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, deputy secretary general of NATO; Thomas Bagger, director of policy planning at the German Federal Foreign Office; and Derek Chollet, counsellor and senior advisor for security and defence policy at GMF. Matthias Naß, chief international correspondent at Die Zeit moderated the discussion. Daniela Schwarzer, director of the GMF office in Berlin, concluded the evening by summing up the results of the discussion, stressing that past paradigms driven from the Cold War period do not work anymore to define the international arena.
The discussants pointed out the different reasons that make this historical moment so sensitive for the transatlantic alliance: the conflict in Eastern Europe, international terrorism and turmoil in Europe’s southern neighbourhood constitute serious threats to NATO and its member states. The panel unanimously assessed the strong unity the Alliance showed in Warsaw, as well as its increased presence in Poland and the Baltic states and the enhancement of collaboration on cyber security and hybrid warfare as a success. Questions about how to find the right balance between deterrence and dialogue towards Russia and how misperceptions can be avoided by all parties, however, were discussed more controversially. Moreover, scepticism about NATO’s tools to approach crises in the South was voiced.
The audience gathered several exponents from both politics and academia, who actively engaged with questions that touched upon Russian security interests, the new NATO mission in Iraq and the role that the Black Sea played in the discussion in Warsaw.