The North Atlantic TreatyOrganisation (NATO)
NATO is a military alliance involving several countries whose formation date from the Brussels treaty of 1948. The main reason behind the forming of NATO was to protect the security and freedom of its member countries through collective military and political means. It is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium (Wiebes 355 & Reid 43).
The 1939 to 1945 World War II left most of the European nations wrecked. More than thirty-six million Europeans were killed of whom about nineteen thousand were civilians. For example in Hamburg City, German more than half a million people were left homeless, thousands maimed and dozens killed. After the War, communists with the backup of the Soviet Union started to threaten European nation’s governments that were democratically elected. Luckily, by then the United States had stopped its political strategy of diplomatic isolationism and therefore provided financial support to the Europeans nations through the US-funded Marshall Plan and other ways which advanced a greater degree of economic stabilization, (Stein 550 & Folly 65).
Before the European nations could embark talking and trading with each other, they needed security. They needed military cooperation and security as these would lead to both political and economic progress. The Europeans countries also feared the military strength of the Soviet Union. With this reasons in mind, a number of western European democracies came together for the purpose of implementing several projects for the purpose of immense military cooperation and cooperative defense. This contributed to the formation of the Western Union in 1948 which later became the Western European Union in the year 1954. The European nations needed a strong security agreement which could stop the Soviet Union from expanding and also lay a strong groundwork for political integration. On 4 April, 1949 the treaty was signed. After signing of the treaty, the nations agreed on “Massive Retaliation” whereby the nations promised to assist each other militarily in case any of the member nations was attacked. The nations also devised collectively to use economic sanctions against any nations that acted in a manner detrimental to any other nation’s security and political stability. The Alliance members also focused on the establishment of the NATO Science Programme so as to boost robust consultation and scientific cooperation within the Alliance. This was meant to ensure innovation among the member countries.
History of NATO
The treaty of Brussels that was signed on 17th march 1948 is considered to be the first step to the formation of NATO. The Brussels treaty was signed by Netherlands, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom. This treaty later led to the formation of the Western European union in September 1948. The Brussels nations entered into a deep debate so as to involve the USA. The formation of NATO led to standardization of military technology among the allied countries (Milloy 67). In 1952, Greece and Turkey joined NATO leading to a lot of controversial negotiations from United States and Britain, who were against the joining of the two nations in the military command structure. In 1954, the Soviet Union did show her interest to join the pact so as to help NATO in its bid to restore peace in Europe. Consequently, the NATO member nations declined USSR request after seeing it as a way by the Soviet Union to weaken the Alliance. On 9th may 1955, West Germany joined the pact-this was described as one of the greatest turning points for the treaty. The main reason why Germany entrance into NATO was of great importance was its man power which would heavily help in overcoming the Soviet Union’s forces. To counter the forces of NATO, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Albania, Romani, and East Germany signed the Warsaw pact on 14th may 1955, (Kaplan 70).
NATO leadership is composed of NATO Heads of government, NATO heads of state, NATO ministers of defense, NATO ministry of Foreign Affairs and NATO Permanent Representatives. In addition, each member country is represented by a national delegation that is composed of officials and advisors who represent their nation in different committees of the NATO, (Lindley 53).
The top position of the Alliance is the secretary general, who is the Alliance’s spokesperson; he or she chairs all the major committees of the Alliance and facilitates all major discussions leading to a particular decisions and ensures all the decisions of the Alliance are implemented. Current secretary General of NATO is Jens Stoltenberg withy his deputy being Amb.Alexander Vershbow. The current spokesperson of NATO is Ouna Lungescu among other leaders.
Organization of NATO
The north Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is organized into three parts; the Civilian structure, Military structure and Organizations and agencies. Bodies under the civil structure include the NATO headquarters, the Secretary General, the permanent representatives, the International Staff (IS) and the National Delegations. The military structure consists of the military committee, Strategic NATO commanders, the Military Committee Chairman, Allied Command Europe (ACE), International Military Staff and Allied command Atlantic (ACLANT). Among the NATO Organizations and agencies include; the NATO procurement organizations, NATO support urgency, NATO science and technology Organization and NATO Standardization Agency (NSA), (Park 56).
During its formation on 4 April, 1949, NATO had the following members; Netherlands, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom. United States joined the treaty later. Currently, NATO has a membership of 28 members. There are minimum requirements that any nation that deems to join NATO must adhere to; the membership is open for any emerging European country that respects the sovereignty of other nations, shares the organization’s values and is ready to meet the responsibilities of the pact, the members must uphold the rule of the majority which include tolerating diversity, the countries must be progressing towards market economy, the country’s military force by firmly controlled by civilian, it must be good neighbors, they must have shown potential of being compatible with NATO forces, (Stein 550).
Reasons for the formation of NATO
There are many reasons why the treaty was formed. During the time of signing the treaty, most of the European nations were going through many economic, social, and political challenges resulting from the Word War II. The nations wanted an agreement that could unite them. The war also left many nations being enemies and therefore the signing of the treaty was a starting point towards a friendly Europe. In addition, the treaty was also signed was signed so as to protect and secure the member countries through collective security policy. According to the NATO agreement, the attack of any member nation was to be taken as an attack to the organization. When a member nation was attacked, all the member nations were required to rise against that country using military power. The pact was also meant to deter nations from amassing nuclear weapons. Moreover, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was made to ensure economic growth in Europe through cooperate initiative. For example, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Science Programme was formed so as to boost robust consultation and scientific cooperation within the Alliance. It was also meant to ensure innovation among the member countries for the purpose of technological development. The treaty restricts its member countries from entering into pacts that are contrary to the set guidelines of NATO (Cook 67).
Notable NATO achievements
In Afghanistan, NATO send more than one hundred thousand troops to help restore peace and the nation’s security forces. The NATO forces have also led to improved access to education, and health services in Afghanistan. In 1995 and 1996, NATO led multinational peace restoration activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This relieved the United Nation’s peacekeeping for UNPROFOR, which had previously deployed in 1992. About 60000 NATO troops were deployed in Bosnia to help restore peace. The KFOR (Kosovo Force) is one of the NATO-led international peacekeeping forces which is responsible for establishing peace in Kosovo. The force entered Kosovo in 199 under the mandate of the United Nations. During this time, there was a lot of ethnic tension in Kosovo. This tension led to death of a large number of people and displacement of others. However, KFOR led to peace in Kosovo (Solana 115).
In summary, unity, peace and security of every nation is paramount and therefore all nations should strife in ensuring that at all circumstances, peace prevails. Signing of more agreements or pacts like NATO should be implemented so as to foster peace and security among nations.in addition, it would be of great achievement if all the nations in the would sign pacts to work together regardless of their political ideologies.
Folly, Martin H. “Breaking the vicious circle: Britain, the United States, and the genesis of the North Atlantic Treaty.” Diplomatic history 12.1 (1988): 59-77.
Kaplan, Lawrence S. The long entanglement: NATO’s first fifty years. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1999.
Lindley-French, Julian. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization: The Enduring Alliance. Routledge, 2006.
Milloy, John C. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 1948-1957: Community or Alliance?. McGill-Queen’s Press-MQUP, 2006.
Reid, Escott. Time of fear and hope: the making of the North Atlantic Treaty, 1947-1949. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1977.
Solana, Javier. “NATO’s Success in Kosovo.” Foreign Affairs (1999): 114-120.
Wiebes, Cees, and Bert Zeeman. “The pentagon negotiations March 1948: the launching of the North Atlantic Treaty.” International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-) (1983): 351-363.
Cook, Don, and Lord Carrington. Forging the alliance: NATO, 1945-1950. London: Secker & Warburg, 1989.
Stein, Eric, and Dominique Cabreau. “Law and Peaceful Change in a Subsystem: Withdrawl of France from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.” Am. J. Int’l L. 62 (1968): 577.
Park, William, and William Dennis Park. Defending the West: a history of NATO. Wheatsheaf, 1986.