An organisation formed to assure security to its member nations through political and military aid against the expansion of Soviet Union.
Slovakia, which is a NATO member and also borders Ukraine, is deploying Patriot Air Defence from the NATO countries. German and Dutch forces will operate the deployment in the coming days.
Initially, the deployment will be in central Slovakia to strengthen NATO in the east. The Russian invasion of Ukraine provoked NATO to reinforce its defence system near Ukraine.
On March 13, Russia attacked the Yavoriv Military Training Base, which is about 24 km away from Poland, a NATO member. Russia has clearly sent a message to the NATO countries. According to Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, all NATO arms shipments to Ukraine will be considered a legitimate target of the Russian army.
What is NATO?
NATO, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, came into existence in 1949, soon after the end of World War 2. It is a political and military alliance of North American and European nations. The headquarters of NATO are in Brussels, Belgium. Its current Secretary General is Jens Stoltenberg.
It was formed after the end of the Second World War to maintain peace and political cooperation on both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean. Initially, it had 12 members, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, etc. But now it has spread to 30 nations.
Furthermore, in 1955, the USSR formed its own alliance treaty called the Warsaw Pact. The organisation was a military alliance of the eastern European communist countries like Albania, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania. After the disintegration of the USSR, many countries that were a part of the Soviet Union joined NATO.
Purpose of NATO
The organisation was formed to maintain peace and cooperation among the countries around the Atlantic Ocean. NATO provides freedom and security to all the member nations through the means of political and military assistance.
It supports its democratic values and provides political assistance regarding defence and security-related issues to solve problems. The first concern is resolving issues diplomatically.
However, when diplomacy fails, the military takes charge. NATO’s founding principles suggest that an attack on any NATO member is an attack on all. The organisation follows a principle of collective defence, which is written in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.
NATO’s influence over Russia
Initially, NATO’s alliance was to limit the expansion of the USSR to its neighbouring countries during the Cold War. In 1945, when World War 2 ended, the superpowers—the USA and the USSR—fought another war. Both nations fought for their ideologies and struggled to implement them in newly independent nations.
Both alliances revoked each other’s supremacy over the entire world. NATO was formed in response to the USSR’s alarming expansion in European countries. Thus, NATO incorporates the major nations of the European Union. And, for decades, NATO has made certain that none of its members have ever been attacked by the Soviet Union. Further, after the end of World War 2, most of Europe remained conflict-free.
Since its formation, NATO has been expanding its membership across the European continent. And many small European nations that were once part of the USSR have joined the alliance. These small countries fear a potential threat from Russia that might attack them to regain control of these countries once again.
Even after the disintegration of the USSR, NATO continued to expand its member countries. It included some of the very powerful nations that were once part of the Soviet Union, like the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland. Now, NATO has its eyes on Ukraine.
Russia perceived this expansion in Eastern Europe as a threat to its own security. The Russians say this to back up their recent attack on Ukraine. They said that Ukraine was willing to join NATO.
Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Currently, NATO is an alliance of 30 nations. Initially, NATO was comprised of 12 nations when it was formed in 1949, namely: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Other countries that joined NATO later are-
- Greece and Turkey– Greece and Turkey became NATO members together after 3 years of the signing of the Washington Treaty in 1952. This escalated NATO’s security towards the “Southern Flank” of Europe.
- Germany– After years of negotiations, Germany joined the NATO alliance in 1955.
- Spain– the European nation, Spain allied with other NATO members in 1982, despite major public opposition.
- Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland– The fall of the Berlin Wall, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, along with the disintegration of the USSR in 1991, gave way to NATO to incorporate many other nations that feared the threat from Russia. Following diplomatic talks in 1999, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland became part of the NATO group.
- Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia– the 7 countries were invited to join NATO in 2002. After negotiating for 2 years, these countries became NATO members in 2004.
- Albania and Croatia– Before joining NATO, both countries contributed to this alliance by being partners. Later in July 2008, both nations signed the Accession Protocols and officially joined NATO in 2009.
- Montenegro– Montenegro became independent in 2006. Shortly after this, it joined the Membership Action Plan, and later in 2017, it became an official member of NATO.
- North Macedonia– North Macedonia gained its independence in 1991. Since then it has been trying to accomplish NATO’s conditions to join it as a member. Finally, in 2020 it became a NATO member.
Published By : Revathy G Sanal
Edited By : Subbuthai Padma