Washington: Secretary of State Hillary
Rodham Clinton is heading to a meeting of NATO ministers in
Estonia at a time when the 61-year-old organisation is
suffering from a kind of mid-life crisis.
Almost 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet
Union, the 28-member North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is in
the midst of an intense self-examination, trying to rethink
its basic purpose and reason for being.
NATO was founded to blunt the long-extinct threat of a
Soviet invasion of Western Europe.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the NATO secretary general,
thinks the organisation should work more closely with other
military alliances far beyond Europe`s borders, to include
rising powers China and India. He says the Afghan war
experience has shown the need for such global linkages.
"But some fear NATO stretching itself too thin," he
told a University of Chicago audience on April 8. "Others are
afraid that NATO wants to rival the UN. For these reasons
among others, there is hesitation about NATO engaging more
systematically with countries like India or China."