ON a Norwegian island 165 miles inside the Arctic Circle, engineers are blasting an airfield out of rock. In Balikesir, where two years ago Turks welcomed their first U.S.-made jets by sacrificing a sheep, Turkish pilots stand ready to "scramble" whenever the radar indicates enemy aircraft. Both outposts, and with them an immense array of armies, navies and air fleets, are joined together in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, history's greatest peacetime military alliance.

NATO-land is 14 nations with 384 million people, whose governments have agreed that an armed attack on one is an attack on all. Linked with the 14 by...

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