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NATO’s future discussed

Visiting members of NATO’s Supreme Allied Command discussed the security organization’s history and current role last week in Fred Lawson’s government 17 class.

Herman Jett, a U.S. airforce officer currently servicing at NATO’s Norfolk, Va, headquarters and part of a two person speaking tour, fielded questions about the possibility of NATO involvement in a war with Iraq.

“This has been U.S. driven from the word go,” said Jett. “And, the U.S. doesn’t want to be encumbered by NATO.”

British marine John Leigh discussed NATO’s expansion to Eastern Europe. He said that Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania would most likely be added the security organization’s roster by next year.

But growing NATO is “not just a matter of pushing the border further east,” he said. Leigh said that the growth was being done in a holistic approach which requires a state to be democratic, have political control over the military and sign on to treaties regulating arms before it is considered for membership.

All of this is done with the intention of keeping the peace established during the Cold War and allowing NATO to act as a conduit for talks between United States and Europe, Leigh said.

Jett also talked about the transition for NATO and the west following the Cold War.

“Many in the military, and I remember when this happened, where at a loss for our purpose” when the Soviet Union fell, Jett said. “For my generation and the generation before me the enemy had always been the Soviets.”

The visit to Mills was part of a tour of Bay Area colleges. Earlier in the day they had been to SF State, San Jose State and Stanford.