Tuesday, April 01, 2008


I was happy to see specific ideas about expanding NATO in Foreign Affairs magazine. Frequent readers will recognize the resonance of this idea with my refrains about the collective challenges faced by the world's democracies.

A couple of quotes [emph. mine]:

Clearly, NATO is changing. But is it changing enough? If the point of the alliance is no longer territorial defense but bringing together countries with similar values and interests to combat global problems, then NATO no longer needs to have an exclusively transatlantic character. Other democratic countries share NATO's values and many common interests -- including Australia, Brazil, Japan, India, New Zealand, South Africa, and South Korea -- and all of them can greatly contribute to NATO's efforts by providing additional military forces or logistical support to respond to global threats and needs. NATO operations in the Balkans and Afghanistan have benefited greatly from contributions made by non-NATO members. Australia, Japan, and South Korea have sent substantial numbers of troops to Iraq in support of efforts by NATO members to stabilize the country. Together with other non-NATO democracies, such as Brazil, India, and South Africa, they have also contributed significantly to peacekeeping operations around the globe.

Creating a global NATO is not about saving the alliance from obsolescence. The issue is not whether NATO goes out of area or out of business. The issue is how the world's premier international military organization should adapt to the demands of the times in a way that advances the interests not just of the transatlantic community but of a global community of democracies dependent on global stability. Global threats cannot be tackled by a regional organization. NATO has worked well in the past because its founding treaty demands that members be committed both to the political and economic principles underpinning democracy and to the common security challenges faced by the alliance. It would be foolish not to welcome into the alliance other countries that can make the same commitments and help confront new global challenges.