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NATO Struggles to Find Unity of Purpose

Monday, April 6, 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama's debut NATO summit at the Franco-German border over the weekend was a triumph of style over substance. Although allies put on a public face of unity, they were unable to agree on any of the major problems facing trans-Atlantic security. As NATO marks its 60th birthday, the alliance is mired in a profound identity crisis offering little reason to celebrate.

The summit was dominated by the problem of Afghanistan and what to do about it. European allies heaped praise on Obama's new Afghan strategy, which sets benchmarks for progress in fighting al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The new plan also imposes conditions on the Afghans and Pakistanis in order to prod them into taking more responsibility for quelling the insurgency and building lasting political institutions. ...

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