Most member governments will be content if they can limit formal discussions to areas of consolidation rather than bold new initiatives.
The 2003 intervention in Iraq triggered a particularly difﬁcult period for the Organisation, members were divided about its legitimacy and wisdom. As action depends on consensus, NATO stood aside. Slowly, the diplomatic damage has been repaired, but the alliance contribution to the desperate problem of Iraq remains small and limited to a training mission. Despite the strains felt by the United States and British forces, there is little prospect of discussion in Riga about extending that mission.
Nevertheless, NATO has in this period established a major and expanding mission well outside its traditional area of responsibility. After the short operation led by the US against Afghanistan in late 2001, an international reconstruction effort was mounted, supported by an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).