NATO’s Four Categories of Power

NATO headquarters in Brussels

From Julian Lindley-French, the New Atlanticist:  Coalitions are fast replacing alliances as the place where real security business is done. Institutions are fast becoming places where the complacently secure try to prevent the dangerously insecure from doing what they must to protect their citizens. This is not simply inconvenient, it is downright dangerous.

In the Atlantic Alliance today we have four categories of power and weakness: America – the erstwhile superpower; Britain and France – the ersatz pocket superpowers; Germany, Italy and Poland – the pretend weak powers; a ‘proud to be weak’ group of dodgy powers with a propensity for bicycles, and what I call the McEnroe Six – the ‘you cannot be serious’ ‘powers’. The exact composition of the Six I will leave to your imagination.

Which brings me to the where are we "at" over Libya question? Well, we are at the "go all the way or simply go away" point.

Professor Julian Lindley-French is a member of the Strategic Advisor’s Group of the Atlantic Council of the US in Washington, Special Professor of Strategic Studies, University of Leiden, Netherlands and Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, London. Excerpts from essay which first appeared on his personal blog, Lindley-French’s Blog Blast.   (photo:

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