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tags: NATO, Niall Ferguson, free speech, freedom of speech, debate
Niall Ferguson is a historian who was born and raised in Scotland, studied and taught at Oxford and now lives in the United States. He is a fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford, and the Center for European Studies, Harvard, and has written 15 books and made numerous TV documentaries.
Seventy years ago this month Nato was established to protect western Europe and the freedoms of its inhabitants from the threat of Soviet communism. It has become clear to me that we now need a similar organisation to protect western intellectuals from a growing threat to academic freedom.
The North Atlantic Treaty, signed by 12 governments in Washington on April 4, 1949, was a treaty of mutual defence “to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilisation of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law”. Article 5 of the treaty states that “an armed attack against one or more of [the signatories] . . . shall be considered an attack against them all”.