With little fanfare -- and even less notice -- the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has gone global. Created to protect postwar Western Europe from the Soviet Union, the alliance is now seeking to bring stability to other parts of the world. In the process, it is extending both its geographic reach and the range of its operations. In recent years, it has played peacekeeper in Afghanistan, trained security forces in Iraq, and given logistical support to the African Union's mission in Darfur. It assisted the tsunami relief effort in Indonesia and ferried supplies to victims of Hurricane Katrina in the United States and to those of a massive earthquake in Pakistan.
NATO's expanded ambit is a result of the new global politics that emerged after the Cold War. Today, terrorists born in Riyadh and trained in Kandahar hatch deadly plots in Hamburg to fly airplanes into buildings in
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