Decline of the West

Shah Marai / AFP / Getty Images

Pulling out French NATO soldiers attend a departure ceremony in Afghanistan on March 18

Opposite the Brussels headquarters of NATO, across Boulevard King Leopold III, lies what the organization hopes to become.

Cranes rise up from a vast, fenced construction site into the gray Belgian sky. Billboards and signs on the outside tout what will emerge by 2015: a $1 billion-plus spaceship structure of glass and steel, open-plan offices and soaring footbridges. An airy, light-filled "agora" — that ancient meeting place of the public — will thread through the curved wings of the complex, replete with "areas for collaboration" and espresso bars. It is a building,...

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