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Actions to Enhance Global Security*: Focus on WMD and Terrorism

Politicians are distracted with the on-going economic crisis and instability. While understandable this is far from the only challenge facing the world. If we are to seize the opportunities of the future then we have to address the legacy of the past and nowhere is this more evident than on defense and security issues. The blunt truth is that security policies in the Euro-Atlantic region, in NATO’s back yard, remain on Cold War autopilot, strategic nuclear forces remain to be launched in minutes, thousands of tactical nuclear weapons remain in Europe, a missile defense debate remains stuck in neutral, while new security challenges such as cyber, conventional, prompt strike force and space remain contentious and inadequately addressed. The truth is this legacy contributes to tensions and mistrust across the Euro-Atlantic region and needlessly drives up risks and most importantly at a time when unprecedented austerity drives up the cost of defense. But this is about more than guns and butter. The likelihood of a major war in Europe may have practically disappeared since the end of the Cold War but this legacy with its attendant mistrust undermines any effort to build a true partnership in the Euro-Atlantic region and beyond to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The status quo, the legacy, divides our continent and sets both Europe and Russia up for a future of failure but worse, a future of irrelevance in the 21st century.
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