NATO is the abbreviated form of North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Canada, Turkey, the United States and many members of the North Atlantic Ocean totalling to 28 countries came into an alliance to form the NATO.
When Was NATO Established
It was after the Second World War that NATO was established as a part of the UN or the United Nations. It was established on April 4, 1949 under the North Atlantic Treaty. Headquarters of NATO are located in Belgium at Brussels.
The treaty has been a countermeasure by major western nations against the aggression threat during the Cold War by the Soviet Union. The main aim was to safeguard freedom of the community of the North Atlantic. Social, political and economic cooperation was also encouraged by the treaty. IN 1952, NATO was centralized and reorganized and has undergone a number of reorganizations subsequently.
Aims And Objectives Of NATO
Main purpose of NATO is protecting the freedom of the member countries. As per the definition in the Treaty’s Article number 5, even if one of the member countries is attacked then it will be considered that all the nations have been attacked.
Defending the member countries against troops present in the pro-communist nations, in large numbers was the main purpose of NATO. European Union was made possible as even United States wanted to make its presence felt in Europe for fostering political union and preventing a resurgence of nationalism in the military.
A partial true fact is that it was founded in response to a Soviet Union threat. Actually the alliance was created as part of an effort for serving three different purposes including, deterring expansionism of the Soviet Union, to encourage political integration in Europe and to forbid revival of European nationalist militarism through North America’s strong presence on the continent.
In the past few years, the purpose of this organization has gradually expanded to defence against cyber attacks, terrorism and use of weapons for mass destruction. The organization has had to keep redefining focus as a political and military alliance for keeping up the changing face of war right from the time the Second World War came into inception.
Members Of The NATO
The twenty eight members countries of NATO are the United States, Albania, United Kingdom, Belgium, Turkey, Bulgaria, Spain, Canada, Slovenia, Croatia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Romania, Denmark, Portugal, Estonia, Poland, France, Norway, Germany, Netherlands, Greece, Luxemburg, Hungary, Lithuania, Iceland, Latvia and Italy. An ambassador represents each of the member countries which receive support of the officials serving on different committees of the NATO.
For building new partnerships, new members were accepted by NATO. Accordingly the establishment of NATO-Russia Council took place in 2002 to enable Russia and member states of NATO to work as equal partners on issues of common interest related to security. The Istanbul Cooperation was launched by the Alliance in 2004, to offer practical security on bilateral cooperation to nations in the broader region of the Middle East. Rounds of enlargement took place subsequently thus bringing in more allies into the fold like Albania and Croatia in 2009 and Lithuania, Romania, Estonia, Bulgaria, Latvia, Slovenia and Slovakia in the year 2004.
Functions Of NATO
For discussing the business of NATO, the head of Defence or the Prime Minister/ President of Foreign Affairs, keeps meeting from time to time. The North Atlantic Council is the highest organ or NATO. This council may meet the permanent representatives, minister or government heads at various levels. Military and civilian agencies are supervised by the Council which also determines policies for the same. The council is chaired by the secretary general of NATO. The Military Committee comes under the Council and keeps meeting at the permanent representative or the chiefs of staff level.
From 1966 to 1995, France withdrew from the Military Committee but continued to remain a Council member and till 2009 did not return to the military command of NATO. It is in two commands that division of NATO has taken place. SACEUR or the Supreme Allied Commander Europe heads the Allied Command Operations and directs NATO for controlling air, sea and land operations and in war times. The other command is the Allied Command Transformation which has its headquarters at Norfolk. The main responsibility of this command is to make recommendations on transformation of the organization‘s forces in a strategic manner in the era, post the Cold War.
Advancing goals related to foreign policies and global interests is one of the core functions of NATO. In fact new realities are being faced by this organization.
Recent Issues Handled By NATO
Massive crisis are being faced in the economy by Europe and United States. This has led to reduction in internal investment and weakening of economic performance since many years. This has called for the need of NATO’s assistance to advance and support projection of global power.
Fighting against terrorism is one of the main points on the agenda of NATO. It has been made clear by the Lisbon Summit Declaration and the Strategic Concept that a serious and real threat has been posed on the safety and security of the Alliance and its members by terrorism. This scourge is being fought by NATO, collectively and individually, in accordance with the UN Chapter principles and the international law.
New policy guidelines have been put into place for the purpose of Alliance work to counter terrorism and focus majorly on improving enhanced engagement, adequate capabilities and awareness of threat, with countries in partnership and other factors at international level.
One of the dominant issues that face the Alliance is Afghanistan. Efforts are being taken to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan. If this is not done then NATO will have to face repercussions besides which its image could get tarnished. So to find a way towards stabilizing Afghanistan and handling the issue is very critical for NATO.
Efforts are being taken by the United States for preventing emergence of arrangements of European only security which could lead to the undermining of NATO. Preserving this organization as the main instrument of security and defence is of fundamental importance as well as an important channel for United States influence and security affair participation in Europe.