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Policy brief | 29 August 2014

NATO at a Crossroads – Again: Recommendations for the Newport Summit

Image of Lukasz Kulesa

Lukasz Kulesa |Deputy Head of Research, Polish Institute of International Affairs

NATO Russia-West Relations Security Euro-Atlantic Security

‘Only a couple of months ago, the September 2014 meeting of NATO’s heads of states and governments was expected to be a rather dull event, haunted by the Member States’ post-Afghanistan deployment fatigue, lack of clarity regarding NATO’s strategic priorities, and the budget austerity pains… Following the Russian aggression against Ukraine, and Jihadist advances in the Middle East, the Summit is now being described by the British Prime Minister David Cameron as taking place at a “pivotal moment” in the history of the alliance. Its importance can hardly be overstated. The decisions taken by the 28 leaders would have important consequences in terms of adapting NATO’s mission and fine-tuning its instruments to the new challenges.’ 

In a new brief for the ELN, Łukasz Kulesa discusses what success at the Summit will look like across four of the most pressing issues before the Alliance, focusing on:

  • reassurance package at the core of the Summit;
  • policy towards Russia – deterring Moscow but showing a way out;
  • policy towards Ukraine – solidarity with limits;
  • budgets, capabilities and NATO burden-sharing.


Three keys conclusions drawn in the brief are that:

  • success or failure of the Summit would be judged by the ability to deliver a unified response to the immediate challenge coming from Russia;
  • avoiding extremes and striking an internal compromise on reassurance would signify that the Alliance is capable of navigating effectively through crises.
  • NATO leaders should be aware of the much more multi-dimensional realities of the security environment today.


The opinions articulated above represent the views of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the position of the European Leadership Network or any of its members. The ELN’s aim is to encourage debates that will help develop Europe’s capacity to address the pressing foreign, defence, and security challenges of our time.