According to The Nation (of February 1), Liam Fox, the shadow Defence Secretary of 'Great Britain, wants an overhaul of the 60-year old NATO alliance to ensure all members of the group contribute to the collective war-effort, either by putting their soldiers in the line of fire or by coughing up money to foot the bill for the costs involved. Mr Fox is unhappy with the present situation in Afghanistan and has said Our forces are taking a disproportionate share of casualties and our taxpayers a disproportionate financial burden. Some countries neither want to fight nor fund. He suggests that members such as Germany with few troops on the frontline should be forced to make cash payments to the states bearing brunt of the fighting. Liam Fox did not clarify whether this facility would be available to those outside the alliance so that they could also hire the British Army to fight their dirty wars. I know losing the Empire has been a great shock for the British and they are still not fully reconciled to the idea of 'Britain the little island somewhere in the Atlantic. Some of the British leaders constantly dream of regaining at least some of the past grandeur, on a mini scale. Not being in a position to capture large territories, they are quite willing to make do with small military outposts in distant lands where they could fly the Union Jack and make unannounced visits to address their troops, for once feeling great again that they are 'still controlling the world. It would, thus, be reasonable to suggest that if the British wish to take up such costly hobbies, they better put up the money too. Alternatively, if they cannot afford such luxuries, they better stay at home and save all their money, as well as all the lives they are likely to lose if they keep sending soldiers across high seas. It is no good trying to persuade others to pay for their expensive misadventures. -S.R.H. HASHMI, Karachi, February 5.