giuliani's comments that NATO should be expanded to include israel, japan, australia, india and singapore (singapore?!?!) is ripe for ridicule. as steve jokes, rudy doesn't seem to be aware of where the north atlantic is.
but all kidding aside, giuliani's comments raise a real issue: what is NATO for? it was created to counter and deter the soviet union. when the soviet union collapsed it's purpose was over. i don't really know why the alliance wasn't just dissolved at that point. the members could still be allies, they just should have renegotiated a new arrangement that reflected the state of the world then, rather than the one that existed in 1949.
instead of working out a new arrangement, NATO stuck around, even expanded. at the very time people were starting to question whether NATO had a purpose anymore, the alliance doubled in size. in the 1990s the clinton administration tried to re-cast the alliance as a force to stop ethnic cleansing in the former yugoslavia. i suppose there was some logic to that. the alliance was originally formed to deal with the soviet union, then maybe it made sense for it to deal with some of the bloody messes that came out of that country's collapse as a superpower.
throughout the 1990s, the u.s. emphasized that NATO was not an anti-russian alliance. and yet, the idea that being under the NATO umbrella would protect them from russia is precisely why much of eastern europe was clamoring to join. and while every former soviet-block country got invited to work towards joining the alliance, russia itself never got one.
and now we're in the post-9/11 era. and with NATO still in search of a purpose, i guess it's not surprising that giuliani would want to make it an anti-terrorism alliance. but if anti-terrorism is put under the NATO umbrella that makes it harder for the u.s. to follow the unilateralist approach that president bush favors and giuliani has endorsed.