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The long and short of NATO

Tension among alliance members compounds the challenge of the task at hand (Afghanistan) and a larger universe of threats for which NATO must prepare -- such as a nuclear Iran.

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This has not been a good week for the NATO alliance. The Dutch government fell over the issue of its NATO troops in Afghanistan, while at least 21 Afghan civilians were killed by NATO pilots who mistook them for insurgents. The upshot: the Dutch plan to pull out in August; the NATO commander in Afghanistan, US Gen. Stanley McChrystal, had to apologize on national television to the Afghans and directly to President Hamid Karzai

But this has also been a good month for NATO. 

The transatlantic alliance, along with Afghan troops, is making progress in its assault on the Taliban stronghold of Marjah. Key Taliban leaders in Pakistan have been arrested. The Taliban are on the defensive. 

The snapshot vs. the longer-running video is worth remembering as the 28-member military grouping of democratic nations struggles to hold together in the ninth year of war in Afghanistan – and much longer into the future: NATO is about to write its “strategic concept,” a periodic rethink that defines its reason for being.

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