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A benign imperialism

Nato at 50 must switch from defence of the west to upholding international law everywhere

By Mary Kaldor   April 1999

In april, nato celebrates its 50th anniversary. The anniversary summit will welcome three new members-the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland-and will announce a new strategy for the post-cold war era.

There are competing views about this new strategy. One view, dominant in Germany and central Europe, holds that Nato should stick to its old role of territorial defence against an external threat, presumably Russia. The second view, which prevails in the US, focuses on “asymmetric threats”-terrorists and “rogue states.” Weaker enemies will discover inventive ways of threatening the west; from bombs in suitcases, to attacks on information systems and germ…

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