Sunday, February 12, 2006

Do we need a new NATO?

Professor, USC School of International Relations
The Los Angeles Times
February 12, 2006

The current concern about involving military forces from NATO allies in Iraq, Afghanistan and other potential global hot spots dates to the adoption of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's "new strategic concept" in November 1991. The "new strategic concept" commits NATO members to military action outside of Europe when agreed to by all alliance members.

Despite this major makeover of the NATO charter, however, no elected parliament in Europe or Congress has ever ratified this major change. It should be no surprise that our allies were reluctant to become directly involved in Iraq under the banner of NATO. Their voters wouldn't have it. It should also not surprise us that NATO allies might balk at expanding their combat role in Afghanistan. Many voters in NATO-allied countries still wonder what got them there in the first place. Perhaps NATO has finally outgrown its Cold War origins and needs a successor.


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