In 1991 the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was a nominally defensive military bloc with sixteen members that, as the cliche ran, had never fired a shot.
In 1991 the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the only simultaneously multiethnic and multiconfessional nation (entirely) in Europe, consisting of six federated republics with diverse constituencies.
By 2009 NATO had grown to 28 full members and at least that many military partners throughout Europe and in Africa, the Caucasus, the Middle East, Asia and the South Pacific. Next month NATO is to hold a summit in Estonia to be attended by the foreign ministers of 56 nations. Last month a meeting of NATO’s Military Committee in Brussels included the armed forces chiefs of 63 nations, almost a third of the world’s 192 countries.