Diplomacy requires substantive debate and, above all, thoroughly considered and rational argumentation. This seems particularly important today, when the EU is in a crisis, facing increasingly serious challenges. All too often emotions overpower rational judgment and plain common sense, and voicing radical opinions in sharp-tongued language makes debate difficult, if not entirely impossible.
The decade of the 1960s was probably one of the stormiest moments in NATO history. It was a time characterised by Moscow’s advantage in the field of conventional weapons, and its rapidly growing nuclear potential, and a persistent dispute over a new Allied strategy to escape from the “massive retaliation” trap and stalemate military escalation. It was also a decade that debated nuclear policy, and one that saw France leave the Alliance in 1967. It was also a time of differences in opinion among the members in regards to the perspective of easing strained relations with the communist bloc. All of these factors appeared to have been leading the organisation to the edge of a crisis. Finally, a solution came by way of a political reflection that resulted in the so-called “Harmel Report” released in December 1967.