This month marks the 75th anniversary of NATO’s founding. Following Sweden’s accession in March, the alliance’s membership has grown to 32, with its capabilities meaningfully strengthened. At the same time, NATO’s border with Russia has more than doubled over the past year – increasing by 1,340 km in the wake of Finland’s accession last April – a major expansion, with significant ramifications. How has the alliance evolved and been shaped over the past decades, where does it stand now, and, with a possible second Trump presidency on the horizon, what is its future? To tackle these questions, we are joined by a distinguished panel featuring Sir Adam Thomson KCMG, the UK’s Permanent Representative to NATO from 2014-16; Dr Marion Messmer, Senior Research Fellow in International Security at Chatham House; and acclaimed journalist and commentator Peter Apps, author of the recent and highly regarded book Deterring Armageddon: A Biography of NATO.

Biographies:

Sir Adam Thomson KCMG was the UK Permanent Representative to NATO from 2014-2016, the culmination of a distinguished 38-year career in the British Diplomatic Service. Prior to this, Sir Adam served as British High Commissioner to Pakistan from 2010, and from 2002-2006 was the British Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. Earlier postings included Moscow, NATO, Washington DC, and New Delhi. Sir Adam has also worked in London on issues related to Israel/Lebanon, in the Cabinet Office as the Soviet analyst for the UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee (1989-91), as Head of the FCO’s Security Policy Department, as FCO Director for South Asia and Afghanistan, and at the World Bank and Harvard University. He now serves as Director of the European Leadership Network, a position he has held since 2016.

Peter Apps is the author of the well-reviewed book Deterring Armageddon: A Biography of NATO (February 2024), hailed as ‘enthralling…relevant and important’ by former NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson. An acclaimed journalist, writer, and commentator, Peter was paralysed from the shoulders down in a car accident while reporting on the Sri Lankan civil war in 2006, aged just 25. Since then, he has continued to travel and write as a global affairs commentator for Reuters, with postings overseas in southern Africa and South Asia. He has covered conflicts and crises, reporting on everything from emerging markets to defense. Of the more than 20 countries he has reported from, over half have been since the injury. Peter is also the founder and executive director of a pop-up think tank, the Project for Study of the 21st Century, a member of the British Army Reserve, and an active member of the UK Labour Party.

Dr Marion Messmer is a Senior Research Fellow in the International Security Programme at Chatham House with expertise in Russia-NATO relations, arms control, and nuclear weapons policy issues. Prior to joining Chatham House, Marion was the Co-Director of BASIC, where she led the organization’s work on nuclear risk reduction and disarmament. A former N2 Innovation Fellow (2020-2021) and ACONA Fellow (2021-2022), she holds a PhD in Security Studies from King’s College London.

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