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NATO at 60

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mats Berdal, David Ucko

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55 - 76
Number of pages22
Issue number2
Early online date29 Mar 2009
E-pub ahead of print29 Mar 2009
PublishedApr 2009

King's Authors


As NATO turns 60 in April 2009, celebrations will be tempered by the continuing difficulties it faces in Afghanistan. The Alliance's first operation outside the Euro-Atlantic area has revealed a major gap between grand ambitions and actual capability. Central to this problem is the political disunity among NATO's member-states. The Strasbourg-Kehl summit may provide an opportunity to rethink what can most realistically be expected from NATO in terms of its contribution to international peace and security. Here, much can be learnt from the manner in which it has thus far responded to changing strategic circumstances since the Cold War, and the constraints, internal and external, that have impinged on its activities and are likely to continue to do so. The evidence points to a need for NATO to bring its exalted political purposes into closer alignment with its actual military missions and capabilities. The Alliance still has a potentially important role to play, but greater realism is needed both as to its strengths and its weaknesses.

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