Published Friday, 18 October 2013
Mr Robinson said unionists must "think and act strategically”. (© Pacemaker)
The DUP leader made the comments in a speech to Castlereagh Council on Friday night.
In it he addressed a number of contentious issues which have contributed to a turbulent past 12 months in NI, including parades, flags and commemorations.
Urging Protestants and Catholics to go forward together, Mr Robinson insisted that the constitutional question is settled and that the only threat now "comes from within".
He explained: "Unionism has historically had a siege mentality.
"When we were being besieged it was the right response. But when we are in a constitutionally safe and stable position it poses as a threat to our future development.
Unionism needs to think and act strategically.
"Demographic changes and social change mean that we need to build bigger and broader coalitions and not to retreat into an ever-diminishing core."
Mr Robinson said the decision to lower the union flag at Belfast City Hall was "wrong".
He continued: "It was unnecessary, divisive and aggressive and the legacy of that decision has plagued the political process in the months since."
However, while voicing support for peaceful protest, the First Minister also criticised those involved in violence: "The violence was not only wrong but politically self defeating."
He continued: "I fear the real danger for unionism lies not in what our opponents would seek to do to us but in what we sometimes do to ourselves.
"When there should be confidence about our future there is defeatism among certain unionists. This is a feeble substitute for a political strategy. They are like Private James Frazer from Dad's Army, running around crying 'We're all doomed. We're all doomed'.
"It's hardly an approach likely to endear those politicians to the wider electorate or provide the leadership to overcome the problems we face."
Mr Robinson's speech comes as US diplomat Richard Haass prepares to return to NI to continue chairing talks on issues such as flags, parades and the past.
He added: "Unionists and nationalists will face some big decisions in the next few months.
"We can get back on track to a shared and united community which can benefit everyone in Northern Ireland or we can go back to the forty year conflict. There is no middle option."
© UTV News