At one level, Lord Robertson, the NATO Secretary General, should be celebrating his achievements after three years as the frontman for the alliance. It has been an extraordinary period of strategic change in the world, and there are plenty of successes to toast over this volatile period. Yet the trends for NATO are not encouraging.
At the end of the Cold War, it managed to ﬁnd a role as Yugoslavia disintegrated. Developing new capabilities and doctrines, the alliance, which had deterred an east-west nuclear war for half a century, transformed itself into an effective peacemaking and stabilising force. As the Balkans played out, in 1999 NATO even found itself running a shooting war for the ﬁrst time in Kosovo. Yet the success of the Kosovo air campaign was a salutary reminder that the real effective military might depended almost totally on US contributions.