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If it is serious about its new mandate, NATO is likely to be rather busy. To their credit, Albright and other expansivists are quite frank about this. More Bosnias and Kosovos? You bet. "NATO's recent experience in Bosnia and Kosovo exemplifies the military involvement that will become the norm,'' writes Daalder. Of operations like the ones in Bosnia and Kosovo, Albright says that "hopefully they will be rare, but--as is now the case--there may be more than one ongoing at any given time. . . . And by definition, they will involve operations outside alliance territory, with all the logistical complications that entails.'' Translation: Get used to it.
Those of us who wonder if this is really the best way to stabilize Europe, and who would have preferred a NATO with less elastic "core purposes,'' must now try to sharpen the second round of the argument whose first round we lost. My contribution is to suggest that the most important things to do next are two.
First, figure out how to contain the natural imperialism of the new doctrine of humanitarian intervention. For that doctrine recognizes neither traditional borders nor traditional interests. It will pose ceaseless temptations for America and NATO to dash hither and yon, possibly making evil thugs think twice but also possibly turning NATO into Keystone Kops. To judge from their rhetoric, the proponents of an expansive NATO mission have not thought much about this. They had better start.
Second, someone had better tell the people about the New World Order. Committing NATO to serial open-ended actions on non- NATO soil will require support at home. Not just fleeting support but willingness to stay for as long as it takes: to keep spending, keep patrolling, keep bombing, and keep dispatching soldiers to get shot at.
"The President needs to make a case for this,'' says James M. Goldgeier, a George Washington University foreign affairs scholar. "You're going to call someone's mother and say, `Your son died because we have to defend the credibility of NATO'? That's preposterous. It's irresponsible.''
So far, Clinton and NATO have hitched a ride with the public's reflexive desire to win. That got them this far, but it can't sustain the bold new NATO, and it may not even sustain the action in Kosovo. "Unfortunately,'' says Goldgeier, "the President has made an open-ended commitment at the same time as he made a declaration on national television that he wouldn't make an open-ended commitment.'' Not a promising start.
The new NATO is now a fact. Like it or not, the bombers are dropping the seeds of a new European order. NATO's member states, having so valiantly contained the Soviets, now need to figure out how to contain NATO. The alliance has been worried about losing in Kosovo; it had also better start worrying about winning.