The old charge that Nato is simply a front for US imperialism will not wash any more. The war for Kosovo further underlines this point, in that the US has no strategic interest in restoring the Kosovar Albanians to their homes.
The present war marks another departure for Nato in that it is not a defensive operation in the sense envisaged by its founders when they pledged to "maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack". In 1995, Nato launched air strikes against the Serb forces who were threatening the territorial integrity of Bosnia, which was already a recognised state by then.
Now its members are at war to defend the human rights of a minority group within the sovereign state of Serbia which, along with the autonomous republic of Montenegro, is all that is left of Yugoslavia. The Americans were keen yesterday to insist that the new mission statement for Nato did not contradict or go beyond the founding treaty. This kind of sensitivity about an expansion of Nato's aims is timid and counter-productive. Kosovo is a test of a new international morality. If the war works and the Kosovars return to their homes, it will be hailed as a triumph for a new style of muscular ethical foreign policy.
Nato should proclaim its new role with pride.Reuse content