Thursday, November 23, 2006
Overreaching? Big Expansion for NATO
According to a report in the Financial Times, arms will be twisted - hard - at next week's NATO summit in Riga to get the 16-member states to agree to a substantial beefing up of the troubled alliance.
NATO is already having a frustrating time getting more member support for the mission in Afghanistan as nations other than the US, Britain, Canada and Holland are unwilling to permit their forces to be deployed on combat operations in the south.
Washington clearly wants a more robust NATO, one that is capable of tackling two major operations at once. Given that the alliance is already under considerable strain from the relatively limited Afghanistan campaign it is difficult to imagine many of the member states embracing this 'two war' concept.
One sign that the summit probably won't be as productive as hoped in Washington and London is that the agenda has now been whittled down to two working sessions totalling only 24 hours. It also appears that the American initiative for an expanded NATO partnership with Australia, South Korea and Japan may be a non-starter. Australia has already indicated it's not interested.