Every day, NATO does very good work, but it is “a bit of an anachronism.” It represents a world that has “rapidly begun to evaporate.” Talk of a Euro-Atlantic security community and the unity of the West harks back to an era when the West stuck together out of necessity to "survive against the Soviet Union's threat."
But "we don’t need American protection anymore." Europe and the United States diverge geostrategicaly. While the United States is very sensibly focusing on the Pacific, what matters to Europe is its neighborhood, which is "turbulent and interesting and full of opportunity, but its not actually full of military threat." This is why Robert Gates' words "have fallen on deaf ears."
Europe's sense of safety is "accentuated by the stabilisation of…the eastern front." Russia is a European pole of power. It is not a military threat but a power pole with which Europe needs to engage to manage common interests such as frozen conflicts and energy issues.
As a third pole, Turkey is a "hugely important growing regional power with which we as Europeans need to engage on that basis for the management of our shared neighbourhood."
The United States represents a further pole, and the transatlantic relationship is "one of the few relationships in the world that can properly be called a strategic partnership."
European integration is necessary to build a new security architecture. "And thats a problem." This process seems to have not merely stalled "but actually…gone into reverse."
Nick Witney spoke on the panel "New challenges and old alliances? EU, NATO and a security architecture for the 21st century" moderated by Dr. Ulrike Guérot, Head of the Berlin Office of the European Council on Foreign Relation's (ECFR). You can watch the recorded livestream from the entire panel with Dr. Stefanie Babst, NATO's Acting Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Division, Walter Stevens, Head of Crisis Management and Planning Department at the European External Action Service, and Dr. Dimitar Bechev, Head of the Sofia Office of the ECFR.
Nick Witney's panel contribution summarised here by Joerg Wolf and Elias Gladstone from atlantic-community.org's editorial team.