North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed in 1949. 

Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, OTAN in French 

NATO is an alliance of 28 countries bordering the North Atlantic Ocean. It includes Canada, the United  States, Turkey and most members of the European Union. 

NATO’s headquarters are located at Boulevard Leopold III in the city of Brussels, Belgium, where the  Supreme Allied Commander resides.  

NATO’s members: 

  • Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France,  Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands,  Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. 
  • Each member designates an ambassador to NATO. It supplies needed officials to serve on NATO committees. It will send the appropriate official to discuss NATO business. That includes its President, Prime Minister, Foreign Affairs Minister, or head of Defence.

Vision 

Allied Command Operations (ACO) will be a top-quality command responsible for the planning and execution of combined, joint, effects-based operations. 

Mission 

To prepare for, plan and conduct military operations in order to meet Alliance political objectives. 

History

The founding members of NATO signed the North Atlantic Treaty on April 4, 1949.  NATO’s primary purpose was to defend member nations against troops in pro-communist countries. The United States also wanted to maintain a presence in Europe. It sought to prevent a resurgence of aggressive nationalism and foster political union. In this way, NATO made the  European Union possible. 

A political and military Alliance 

Security in our daily lives is key to our well-being. NATO’s purpose is to guarantee the freedom and security of its members through political and military means.

OBJECTIVE 

POLITICAL - NATO promotes democratic values and enables members to consult and cooperate on defence and security-related issues to solve problems, build trust and, in the long run,  prevent conflict. 

MILITARY - NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. If diplomatic efforts fail,  it has the military power to undertake crisis-management operations. These are carried out under the collective defence clause of NATO's founding treaty - Article 5 of the Washington  Treaty or under a United Nations mandate, alone or in cooperation with other countries and international organisations. 

Collective Defence 

NATO is committed to the principle that an attack against one or several of its members is considered as an attack against all. This is the principle of collective defence, which is enshrined in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. 

So far, Article 5 has been invoked once - in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United  States in 2001. 

The Transatlantic link 

NATO is an alliance of countries from Europe and North America. It provides a unique link between these two continents, enabling them to consult and cooperate in the field of defence and security, and conduct multinational crisis-management operations together. 

The 2010 strategic concept 

Strategic Concepts lay down the Alliance’s core tasks and principles, its values, the evolving security environment and the Alliance’s strategic objectives for the next decade. The 2010  Strategic Concept defines NATO’s cores tasks as collective defence, crisis management and cooperative security. 

Purpose: 

  • NATO’s mission is to protect the freedom of its members. 
  • NATO’s second purpose is to protect the stability of the region. 

Alliances: NATO participates in three alliances. 

  • The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council allows partners a vehicle to become NATO  members. It includes 23 non-NATO countries that support NATO’s purpose. It began in  1991. 
  • The Mediterranean Dialogue seeks to stabilize the Middle East. It non-NATO members include Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. It began in 1994. 
  • The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative works for peace throughout the larger Middle East region. It includes four members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. They are Bahrain,  Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. It began in 2004. 

NATO cooperates with eight other countries in joint security issues. There are five in Asia. They are Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mongolia and New Zealand. There are two in the  Middle East — Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Today

  • NATO itself admits that “Peacekeeping has become at least as difficult as peacemaking.” As a result, NATO is strengthening alliances throughout the world. 
  • In the age of globalization, transatlantic peace has become a worldwide effort. It extends beyond military might alone. 
  • The United States contributes three-fourths of NATO’s budget. Donald Trump said other  NATO members should contribute more. He also accused it of being obsolete. He argued that it focuses on defending Europe against Russia instead of combating terrorism.

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Blog Post written by:
Anurag Trivedi
UPSC Mentor