Security and Defence


Expert Insights: Troubled NATO?

02 Dec 2019 - 12:16
Bron: Exercise Rapid Trident 2019 © Flickr / NATO

The NATO Leaders Meeting will take place from 3-4 December in London to celebrate the Alliance’s 70th birthday. In light of this event we have created a compilation of our best read publications and 'in the media' comments by our experts. Click on the titles. 

Top publications

1) Resetting NATO and European strategic autonomy

Clingendael Alert by Dick Zandee

NATO’s 70th birthday party in London on 3-4 December left the impression of an Alliance in political disarray. It resembled not a brain-dead NATO à la Macron, but certainly an Alliance suffering from a serious illness. It looks like the patient will not recover very soon. The Alliance has to sail through stormy weather as the transatlantic tensions are unlikely to disappear by themselves.


2) Podcast: Dick Zandee & Kimberley Kruijver on NATO Leaders Meeting

Dick Zandee and Kimberly Kruijver discuss with Rem Korteweg the political tensions during the NATO Leaders Meeting in London on 3 and 4 December 2019 as well as its outcomes.

3) The Future of Arms Control and Confidence-Building Regimes

Chapter by Dick Zandee (in 'New Perspectives on Shared Security: NATO’s Next 70 Years', Carnegie Europe)

NATO’s arms control policy should continue to be based on the combination of deterrence and détente. Yet the alliance must adapt its approach to reflect changed geopolitical realities.

4) (Dis)unity on the NATO Agenda 

Op-ed by Kimberley Kruijver

The 70th anniversary comes at a critical time for NATO, as tensions with Russia are high and worries are growing about threats from China. However, while the Alliance has to face the changing security environment threatening it from the outside, NATO must also confront its internal problems.

5) 70 Years of NATO: The Alliance in troubled waters

Op-ed by Dick Zandee

At its 70th anniversary in April 2019, the Alliance as the cornerstone of European security  is crumbling under the combined weight of American President Trump, the East-South divide and Turkey. 

6) Russia’s Hybrid Doctrine: Is the West Barking Up the Wrong Tree?

Op-ed by Hugo Klijn & Engin Yüksel

Russia will definitely be a subject during the NATO Leaders Meeting. For sure, in this context the term ‘hybrid’ will be used more than once. But is this an apt concept to apply to Russia’s military, or general, behaviour? Or is this, ironically enough, conjuring up a mirror image of our own thinking?

7) Turkey and NATO - living apart together

Crisis Alert by Dick Zandee

Protecting Europe against any further expansion of the Soviet Union’s area of influence and interference was the main argument for expanding NATO membership to Turkey in 1952. Allied strategic interests always dominated the Turkey-NATO relationship, both during and after the Cold War. They prevailed, even in one of the most dramatic periods of intra-Alliance tensions following Turkey’s military invasion of Cyprus in 1974. How different the situation is today.


8) Dutch defence spending: A gap between rhetoric and reality

Clingendael Alert by Dick Zandee

In September 2014 the NATO countries committed to spending two percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defence by 2024. Prime Minister Rutte gave the same commitment on behalf of the Netherlands. In February 2019 Prime Minister Rutte emphasised in his Churchill Lecture in Zurich Europe’s duty to assume responsibility for its own security. Not separately from NATO, but as part of a larger European contribution.

So far for the public rhetoric. What is happening in reality?

Dutch defence spending as % of GDP

Dutch defence spending as % of GDP


Expert comments in the media (Dutch) 

Een jubileum in mineur, Ko Colijn / De Standaard

Dag twee van de NAVO-top in Londen: Trump gooit defensiebudgetten in de strijd, Dick Zandee / BNR Nieuwsradio 

Verdeelde Navo richt blik naar de ruimte als mogelijk oorlogsgebied van de toekomst, Dick Zandee / Volkskrant

De Turkse ex-kolonel Halis Tunc zag op televisie dat hij 'verrader en terrorist' zou zijn, Dick Zandee / EenVandaag

Podcast Dit wordt het nieuws: 'De NAVO kijkt met argusogen naar link tussen Turkije en Rusland', Dick Zandee /