NATO officials must have opened bottles of champagne when Joe Biden’s election as the next President of the United States was announced in December last year. A painful period of four years, in which the White House undermined, instead of strengthened the Alliance, came to an end. NATO would return to sailing in calmer waters. Better conditions for discussing the adaptation of the Alliance were to be expected. As long as Donald Trump was in the White House, an update to the 2010 NATO Strategic Concept was deemed too risky. The NATO Summit on 14 June 2021 will launch this work.
What can be expected? No doubt, there will be friendly handshaking, smiling faces and positive statements on 14 June to underline that ‘NATO is back in business’. But the day after the Summit, the cumbersome and painful process will start to turn political-diplomatic expressions of goodwill into a new NATO strategy. As usual, this will prove to be more difficult, in particular as diverging interests and opposing views of the Allies will come to the fore.