The German Institute for Global and Area Studies (led by India-born Professor Amrita Narlikar) welcomed NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg for a GIGA Distinguished Speaker Lecture on 30 June 2020 (via webinar format).
The Secretary-General spoke on Geopolitical Implications of COVID-19 and gave valuable insights to NATO’s response in the battle against the pandemic. His statement addressed the impact of this global crisis on the geopolitical landscape.
The Secretary General’s remarks went beyond this immediate crisis and outlined his vision on how NATO will continue to keep us safe in a more uncertain world. He has launched NATO 2030 to reflect on where he sees the Alliance ten years from now.
He addressed a range of global challenges and how to meet them. He pointed to the need to take greater account of cyber threats, the security of our supply chains for essential goods, the consequences of foreign ownership and control of critical infrastructure, and the necessity to counter disinformation efforts.
The Secretary General carefully considered the implications of China’s rise. He underlined that while China is not an adversary of NATO, we must fully understand what its rise means for us – and for our security. Especially since it has become apparent that China does not share our values: democracy, freedom, the rule of law. When it comes to China, he identified a clear pattern of authoritarianism at home and increased assertiveness and bullying abroad.
NATO should take a more global approach, Secretary General Stoltenberg said, as a best way to face global challenges, keep our societies secure and our people safe. This would entail working even more closely with international partners to defend our values in a more competitive world. Partners near and far – like Finland and Sweden. And also, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea as well as working with India and other interested democracies.
The GIGA offers a complementary global approach to scholarship (see paper by GIGA President Prof. Amrita Narlikar: https://www.giga-hamburg.de/en/publication/because-they-matter).
The event provided an opportunity for questions and exchange. Participants included renowned researchers, plus influential politicians, diplomats, journalists, and also many students and the broad interested public. Prof. Narlikar chaired and moderated the exchange.
The GIGA Distinguished Speaker Lecture Series brings leading minds in academia and policy from all over the world to Hamburg to stimulate public exchange on key global developments.