NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is a remarkable case of institutional survival in the face of changing circumstances. It was created in 1949 to protect Western Europe from the Soviet threat, and in 1989 the Soviet threat vanished. Yet NATO not only survived the collapse of the Soviet Union, but expanded, taking in all the former satellite states of Eastern Europe and even the Baltic republics that had been part of the Russian empire for more than 200 years. But the Georgian debacle could break NATO.
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