Not content with expanding from 16 to 28 members over the past decade in a post-Cold War world in which it confronts no military threat from any source, state or non-state, and not sufficiently occupied with its first ground and first Asian war in Afghanistan, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization - the world's only military bloc - is eager to take on a plethora of new international missions.
With the fragmentation of the Warsaw Pact and the breakup of the Soviet Union between 1989 and 1991 NATO, far from scaling back its military might in Europe, including dissolving itself, saw the opportunity to expand throughout the continent and the world.
Beginning with the bombing campaign in Bosnia in 1995, Operation Deliberate Force and its 400 aircraft, and the deployment of 60,000 troops there under Operation Joint Endeavor, the Alliance has steadily and inexorably deployed its military east and south into the Balkans, Northeast Africa, the entire Mediterranean Sea, Central Africa, and South and Central Asia. It has also extended its tentacles into the South Caucasus, throughout Scandinavia including Finland and Sweden, and into the Asia-Pacific region where it has formed individual partnerships with Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea along with recruiting troops from Mongolia and Singapore to serve under its command in the eight-year war in Afghanistan.
With the upgrading of its Mediterranean Dialogue program (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia), with the Persian Gulf component of the 2004 Istanbul Cooperation Initiative partnership underway and planned for the Gulf Cooperation Council states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and with the deployment of U.S.-trained Colombian counterinsurgency forces for its Afghan war, a military bloc ostensibly formed to protect the nations of the North Atlantic community now has armed forces and partnerships in all six inhabited continents.
It has waged war in Europe, against Yugoslavia in 1999, and in Asia, in Afghanistan (with intrusions into Pakistan) from 2001 to the present and into the indefinite future, and is currently conducting military operations off the coast of Africa in the Gulf of Aden. The "Soviet menace" invoked sixty years ago to create even at the time the world's largest and most powerful military alliance receded into history a generation ago and the gap provided by the disappearance of the Warsaw Pact and the USSR has been filled by a military machine that can call upon two million troops and whose member states account for over 70 percent of world arms spending.
But the past fifteen years' expansion is not sufficient for NATO's worldwide ambitions. It is now in the process of elaborating a new Strategic Concept to replace that of 1999, introduced during the air war against Yugoslavia and the first absorption of nations in the former socialist bloc. One which NATO described at the time as the Alliance's Approach to Security in the 21st Century. In the decade-long interim the bloc has come to refer to itself as 21st Century NATO, global NATO and expeditionary NATO. (The first Strategic Concept was formulated in 1991, the year of the breakup of the Soviet Union and the Operation Desert Storm war against Iraq.)
The updated version was deliberated upon at NATO's sixtieth anniversary summit this April, the first held in two nations: Strasbourg in France and Kehl in Germany.
Over a year in advance the bloc's Secretary General at the time, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, "called on the transatlantic military alliance to develop a new, long-term strategy designed to tackle third-millennium concerns such as cyber attacks, global warming, energy security and nuclear threats" and demanded that it increase its budget to address a "growing list of responsibilities." 
If upon its founding in 1949, NATO justified the launching of a military bloc in a Europe still nursing the wounds of the deadliest and most destructive war in human history; if after the end of the Cold War it transformed its self-defined mission to encompass military intervention in the Balkans to prove its ability to enforce peace, however one-sided; if after September 21, 2001 it obediently adjusted to Washington's agenda of a Global War On Terror and efforts against weapons of mass destruction everywhere but where they actually exist; in the past few years NATO has announced new roles and missions that will allow, in fact necessitate, its intrusion into any part of the globe for a near myriad of reasons.
If fact, myriad is the exact word used on October 1 at a conference jointly organized by NATO and Lloyd's of London - "the world's leading insurance market" as it describes itself - by the latter's chairman, Lord Peter Levene, in reference to NATO's new "third millennium" Strategic Concept.
Levene's address included these words: "Our sophisticated, industrialised and complex world is under attack from a myriad of determined and deadly threats. If we do not take action soon, we will find ourselves, like Gulliver, pinned to the ground and helpless, because we failed to stop a series of incremental changes while we still could."
His allusion to the character who lends his name to Jonathan Swift's novel Gulliver's Travels invites the opportunity of quoting a paragraph from it about the protagonist's - and Levene's - native land, Great Britain.
After Gulliver boasts to a foreign king of, among other matters, Britain's vast colonial domains and its military prowess, his interlocutor responds:
"As for yourself, who have spent the greatest part of your life in traveling, I am well disposed to hope you may hitherto have escaped many vices of your country. But by what I have gathered from your own relation, and the answers I have with much pains wrung and extorted from you, I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth."
Lord Levene hosted the conference on the Alliance's updated Strategic Concept, one which was attended by what were described as "200 high-level representatives from the security and business community." 
This past July NATO announced that a "group of experts" would be convened to discuss and plan its new strategy. Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, as much as anyone responsible for the Alliance's first prolonged armed conflict, the 78-day air war against Yugoslavia, chairs the group. The co-chairman is Jeroen van der Veer, who until June 30 was chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell.