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Ramsfeld: Greek Intimidation Tactics Getting Old

March 28, 2008

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Wall Street Journal Source: Wall Street Journal

New York - Greece threatens to veto Macedonia's admission to NATO, and the future of the Alliance is too important to be constrained by intimidation tactics more befitting the last century.

These are the remarks by the former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the author of commentary "NATO Expansion Should Continue", published in Wall Street Journal.

"Greece threatens to issue a sole veto over Macedonia's entry because Macedonia refuses to change the country's name. The future of the trans-Atlantic alliance and its credibility as the pre-eminent political and military instrument of the world's democracies are too important to be constrained by narrow disputes over semantics or to intimidation tactics more befitting the last century," Rumsfeld said.

He underlines there is no better way for NATO to move forward than by extending full membership invitations to Albania, Croatia and Macedonia and by beginning the process to bring Georgia and Ukraine into the alliance in the future through membership action plans (MAPs). At a time when European commitments to the NATO mission in Afghanistan are being questioned, the determination of Albania, Croatia and Macedonia to contribute to tough missions is clear. Collectively, the three Balkan nations have more than 650 troops currently serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

For the past several years under membership action plans, the governments of Albania, Croatia and Macedonia have been preparing to join the ranks of NATO. They now meet the necessary criteria for membership.

"Perhaps most important in light of NATO's demonstrated shortcomings, Albania, Croatia and Macedonia have made use of those capabilities in Afghanistan and Iraq by taking on the tough missions that several current NATO members are unwilling to carry out."

Expanding NATO to Albania, Croatia and Macedonia and building closer partnerships with Georgia and Ukraine would help to assuage any concerns that the alliance no longer has the collective grit for the tough work necessary to overcome the challenges in Afghanistan. All five non-NATO nations currently under consideration -- in contrast with several full NATO members -- have demonstrated willingness to accept NATO responsibilities.

"Albania, Croatia and Macedonia are today ready to accept those responsibilities. Georgia and Ukraine will likely be ready to accept NATO responsibilities in the coming years if issued membership action plans next week. The Bucharest summit presents an opportunity to advance the interests of all 26 member nations by expanding the NATO alliance. Now is not a time for self-doubt. It is a time for U.S. and European Union leadership."

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