What is NATO?

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What is NATO?

NATO stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organization or sometimes often called North Atlantic Alliance. NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance, which was signed on April 04, 1949. Originally, twelve countries signed on this North Atlantic Treaty. Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Great Britain, and the United States of America are the twelve original members of NATO.

The treaty was made for the purpose of collective defense, where all members agree to respond to any attacks to its members by any external party. Each member country agrees and commits to peace and security to all members. It is like a fellowship where an attack to each member is treated as if it were an attack on itself. Attackers would have to face military actions from all the members of the alliance.

The alliance deterred and discouraged possible attacks from most Communist countries such as the Soviet Union and other Communist countries in Eastern Europe. Moreover, the alliance also discouraged members to fight and attack each other. The alliance may have been successful in promoting world peace. It is because countries will have to think twice on bullying other countries, especially members of NATO.

After the Cold War, NATO members felt the need for a redesign in the structure of the treaty. The change was all about the maintenance of peace through military and political guidelines of the treaty. Even other countries that are not members of the alliance were given a chance to participate or cooperate with the alliance. The alliance also worked on crisis management. Crisis management includes new set of guidelines to avert conflict between nations and aid in resolving any predicament.

NATO had just not brought peace to its member countries but to other non-member countries in distress. One example is the action made by NATO to stop the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. In 1999, thousands of people from Kosovo fled their country due to government repression. Many were left homeless and with nothing to eat. NATO acted and helped the refugees to return home safely. NATO also helped in rebuilding the homes of the refugees. The alliance had also played an important part in the development of a democratic society. Through NATO’s efforts Kosovan people was led to live in peace.

Another goal, which NATO had achieved, is keeping peaceful relations with Central and Eastern Europe. The top priority also is the Russian relations. Moreover, the treaty had also given way for United States and Canada to join forces with Europe. After World War II, Europe was able to rebuild and it is all due to NATO’s written agreement. For over 50 years, the Alliance has established and maintained its peacekeeping objectives.

From its formation on 1949, NATO is still encouraging aspiring European countries to join the Alliance as part of its enlargement. NATO is inviting aspiring countries for an Intensified Dialogue about their aspirations and related reforms. Today, NATO has grown from its 12 original members (1949) to 28 members. The open-door policy is expected to bring more aspiring countries to be member of the Alliance.

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