Europe’s Defences: New Horizons and Old Challenges
Posted: 15 Oct 2009
Date Written: October 13, 2009
The year 2009 marked both the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Washington Treaty establishing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The 1989 revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe (beginning in Poland), which swept aside nearly 70 years of Soviet-style communism in Europe, have resulted in a regional stability which, with some critical exceptions, has come to be taken for granted. Certainly, the nature and the structures of security in Europe have been transformed. There has been a shift from a security based upon territorial defence, mutual security and military alliances to one that aspires to collective security, the institutionalization of security communities and an active global engagement. That is not to say that traditional military and security concepts are in any way redundant. Indeed, Europe has struggled — and continues to struggle — to reshape its military and defence capacity in such a way as will meet its contemporary security challenges. This process has also occurred within the context of an Atlantic Alliance that has weathered significant storms in recent years, not least in terms of contrasting approaches to meeting the threat seen to be posed by terrorist groups.
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