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Thursday, 6 June, 2002, 08:57 GMT 09:57 UK
Does Nato still have a role?
Moscow has joined forces with Nato at a summit in Italy, marking a new era of joint decision-making and co-operation.

The new Nato-Russia Council demonstrates a change of focus in uniting Moscow and Nato against international threats of terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

Though President Bush spoke of partnership at the summit, the US did not involve Nato in its military campaign against Afghanistan.

Critics say that in Russia, suspicion of Nato's long-term plans remains, particularly as the three Baltic states may be invited to join the alliance.

Analysts say that expanding Nato will make a sprawling alliance even less effective and that awkward issues will be left aside, with decisions being made only on matters where there is already agreement.

Do you think this an uneasy association? Is Nato still a powerful alliance? Can there be common security between countries that act independently?

This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

It will one day become an important member of the organisation

Warwick Conway, UK
Russia has a vital role to play in the future of Nato. It will one day become an important member of the organisation. Russian intelligence sources could be vital to the war on terror and as such all should be done to help bring the country into the West.
Warwick Conway, UK

The USSR sought to join Nato in 1954. My parents then believed we were still allies after World War Two. But my country's bid was rejected. It became apparent that Nato wanted no friendship with us. These days finally, more westerners realise that cooperation is needed. Of course, it indicates that the old Nato mentality is gone.
Alexander Bolshakov, Russia

They have nothing to lose and everything to gain

John, USA
I think involving the Russians in as many international organisations as possible is a good idea. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Perhaps they will see the advantages of international cooperation and become a solid member of the world community.
John, USA

My hope is that the new Nato will bring dialogue that will tighten stability. The three strategic stakeholders, the US, Europe, and Russia, now have a common identity, in response to a common threat.
J. Gumbley, UK

Nato still has a role precisely because it could grow to be what the UN should have been - a great club that countries want to belong to, but that requires democracy and market economics to join. That alone makes it worth keeping.
Jeremy, USA

A positive step forward

Ron, Australia
This is a positive step forward. Even if the nations in this alliance do have differences, they are now more obliged to cooperate to reach agreement. Russia entering Nato will prove helpful to all involved if all parties are sincere in their objectives.
Ron, Australia

Who could ever dream that Russia would be joining Nato? I am pleased that the country has been accepted into the alliance and its inclusion has made the alliance all the more powerful.
Jen, USA

I believe that the incorporation of the Russian Federation into Nato is a grave error. Russia is still a very weak democracy as can be evinced by Mr Putin's constant suppression of his nations' press.
Alexander J. Hamilton, Detroit MI, USA

This spells danger

Bill Selsy,
Rayleigh, Essex
This spells danger and I do not like it one bit. This will inject unnecessary fear into the world we live in and will probably create as much tension as there is between India and Pakistan at present.
Bill Selsy, Rayleigh, Essex

This makes the world a better place. I was always praying that such a deal would be struck between these two parties. It is personally a huge weight off my shoulders.
Ami Sheri, Texas, US

Of course Nato still has a role. It was a most effective sword and a shield during the Cold War years, and it will continue to act efficiently in the future. Russia may be coming in from the cold, but there are no shortage of new potential enemies in the world today.
Graham Rodhouse, The Netherlands

No one in Nato has the stomach to do anything

John, Anaheim, Ca, US
Hmm, an anti-Russia club allowing Russia to join? I think this means that Nato has done its job and is no longer needed. The Russians are more interested in putting clothes on their back and food in their mouths than spreading communism. I'm not sure there is any substantial job left to justify the expense of keeping Nato around. So far they have managed to keep their hands nice and warm by sitting on them when it comes to the Middle East and Kashmir. Either situation is a potential catalyst for starting World War III (a nuclear one at that) and yet there is no action from Nato. No one in Nato has the stomach to do anything about current issues. Disband this silly Cold War club and spend much needed funds elsewhere.
John, Anaheim, Ca, US

See also:

28 May 02 | Europe
15 May 02 | Country profiles
28 May 02 | Media reports
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