US and Europe rethink role of Cold War alliance
  • This Section
  • Latest
  • Web Wrap
Last Updated: Wednesday, April 21, 2010, 23:40
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."


First Published: Wednesday, April 21, 2010, 23:40

comments powered by Disqus