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 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.
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.
  • NATO’s mission is to protect the freedom of its members. For example, on July 8, 2016, NATO announced it would send up to 4,000 troops to the Baltic states and eastern Poland. It will increase air and sea patrols to shore up its eastern front after Russia’s attack on Ukraine. NATO considers an armed attack upon one…shall be considered an attack upon them all.
  • The only time NATO invoked this was after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It responded to U.S. requests for help in the war in Afghanistan. It took the lead from August 2003 to December 2014. At its peak, it deployed 130,000 troops. In 2015, it ended its combat role and began supporting Afghan troops.
  • NATO’s second purpose is to protect the stability of the region. In those cases, it would defend non-members. On August 28, 2014, NATO announced it had photos proving that Russia invaded Ukraine. Although Ukraine is not a member, it worked with NATO over the years. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatened nearby NATO members. They worried they would be next because they were also former U.S.S.R. satellite countries.
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.
  • NATO itself admits that “Peacekeeping has become at least as difficult as peace-making.” 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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