There’s a photograph above the desk where I sit and write. It’s a picture of one of my academic adventures to Shape (Strategic Headquarters of the Allied Powers in Europe). The photograph was taken in March 1994. I had just returned from Mogadishu, and would later head to Rwanda, before returning to London to wrap up an academic year.

Since that late northern winter of 1994 I have been following Nato and its search for a new role. The Cold War had ended, and there was a sense of “what now?”. But they persisted. It’s not unlike something former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright said, along the lines of: “We have this enormous military, we might as well use it.” Led by the US, Nato had a huge military presence in Europe, so why not find a use for it? They did when Nato bombed Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995, and Serbia in 1999.

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