Where does NATO's "boundary" lie?

08:11, May 06, 2011      

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Attendants pose for a family photo before the Second Contact Group meeting on Libya in Rome, capital of Italy, May 5, 2011. Foreign ministers and representatives of international organizations met in Rome on Thursday to seek a political solution to the crisis in Libya. This is the second contact group meeting on Libya after the first meeting was held in Doha on April 13. (Xinhua/Wang Qingqin)

Diplomats from countries involved in the military campaign in Libya held a contact group meeting in Rome on Thursday. The envoys discussed how to assist the Libyan rebels fighting Muammar Gaddafi but dodged the question: Where does NATO's "boundary" lie?

NATO last November adopted a new Strategic Concept, the alliance's roadmap in the second decade of the 21st century, which reconfirms the commitment to defend -- not attack -- as the bedrock of Euro-Atlantic security.

However, just a few months later, the alliance launched its military campaign in Libya, a sovereign country, casting doubt over its commitment uttered in its new strategy.

It is widely known that NATO is a product of the Cold War. This supranational organization was established to counterbalance the Warsaw Pact. The centerpiece of the North Atlantic Treaty, Article 5, promises its major mission of "restoring and maintaining the security of the North Atlantic area."

Following that article, the alliance did not intervene in the war between Argentina and member state Britain in 1982 over control of the Malvinas (Forkland) Islands and associated island dependencies.

The Warsaw Pact was dissolved in the early 1990s after the Cold War ended but NATO remained.

Since then, the alliance has constantly broken through its "frontier" and looked for new opponents in the name of "strategic transformation."

It stepped over the Europe-North Amercia defense zone for the first time in 2001 by declaring war on Afghanistan in support of the United States.

Though a moral "high ground" might be proclaimed by NATO in the Afghanistan War, which was launched just after its member state suffered in the Sept. 11 terrorism attack, it's hard to find any excuse for the military campaign in Libya.

Some analysts say the alliance for this time had been taken by some of its member states as a "tool box" to reach their political and diplomatic aims.

The frequent use of force by NATO, the world's largest military alliance whose member states accounting for 70 percent of all global military spending, runs against the common aspirations for peace and development of mankind.

If not stopped, people can't imagine the unpredictable aftermath of power politics and military interference.

In the 21st century, in the face of a crisis, mankind needs more dialogue and negotiations and no additional "international police."

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