As NATO approaches its 70th anniversary, the alliance sustains its relevance by maintaining the trans-Atlantic bonds in the face of different challenges, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said today in Kosic, Slovakia.
The alliance was founded after World War II to prevent World War III. “For 40 years since NATO was established back in 1949, until the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, NATO did actually only one thing: and that was to deter the Soviet Union,” the secretary general said at a “Bucharest 9” meeting, an initiative begun by Romania in 2014 as a platform for strengthening cooperation among Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary.
The mission to deter the Soviet Union was serious, and it was the only priority for the Western alliance, Stoltenberg said. “We were able then to end the Cold War without one single shot being fired on European soil,” he added.
The fall of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact led to calls for the alliance to disband on the grounds that NATO was outdated and unneeded in a post-Soviet Europe.
NATO turned its attention toward the Balkans and helped end the unrest that threatened the continent. “We helped to end two wars in the Balkans — Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia-Kosovo,” the secretary general said. “We started to also address the global fight against terrorism with our mission in…