NATO: Soldiering On

SPC MATTHEW T. LITTEL / AFP / GETTY

UNION POWER: Formed to protect Western Europe from the Soviet Union, NATO has endured, with troops, such as these in Afghanistan, deployed around the globe

Alliances die when they win. Take away the enemy, and you take away the glue that holds a coalition together. The European alliance against Napoleon was all but dead seven years after they had danced the last waltz at the Congress of Vienna. The entente that followed the defeat of Wilhelmine Germany collapsed five years after the armistice. The Soviet-American alliance against Hitler was practically finished by V-E day 1945.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, formed in 1949 to counter Soviet expansion into the heart of Europe, started winning 20 years ago, when the Berlin Wall fell, and...

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