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Nato old and new

Debate over who should be included in the first round of Nato expansion has obscured the more important question of what is Nato's purpose. It should remain a military alliance with a peace-keeping mission, in the Balkans and elsewhere

By Peter Rutland   July 1998

This year, the legislatures of the 16 Nato member countries will take the most momentous decision regarding European security since the Yalta and Potsdam meetings at the close of the second world war. Seven years after the end of the cold war, should Nato quietly declare vic-tory and stalk silently from the European scene? Or should it go boldly forward, to seek new tasks from the Carpathian basin to the foothills of the Hindu Kush?

The accession of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to Nato was approved at the Nato Madrid summit last July. In February their entry was…

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