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NATO, will it survive in future? January 31, 2010

Posted by Yilan in NATO.
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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on April 4, 1949.NATO constitutes a system of collective defense whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party. After World War II, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. occupied much of Europe. Most the continent’s governments had fallen to the Nazis during the war, so the two superpowers were left with the responsibility of setting up new governments. Each promised to allow free elections, but in the end, did not. This left eastern and Western Europe divided by style of government (eastern was communist, western was not) and left Germany divided between the two superpowers.

When the Soviets began withdrawing from other countries around the world, it became evident that they were not going to go quietly. The USSR demanded oil concessions from Iran in exchange for withdrawal, but did not get them. In a similar manner, the Soviet leaders demanded that Turkey allow them to utilize its resources to spy on the western world. The Soviets also supported a communist revolution in Greece that led to a bloody civil war. Soon after that, there was a communist coup in Czechoslovakia, which was not a Soviet initiated venture, but quickly received full Soviet support. Western European nations countered this chain of events and the apparent growing Soviet threat with the Brussels Treaty, which defensively linked Britain and France. The expansion of Soviet influence in Eastern Europe and the threats against Greece and Turkey aroused growing alarm throughout Western Europe. As a consequence in accordance with the United Nations Charter, 12 nations established the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to coordinate the military defenses of member nations against possible Soviet aggression. NATO has succeeded in what it set out to do back in 1949.

No NATO member was ever attacked in the years of NATO’s existence communism has ever set foot on the territory of the alliance and NATO was also able to keep its second purpose of maintaining the detente between the West and the East. Is NATO success or fail after the fall of the Soviet Union? Has NATO become an irreplaceable institution now when facing the new threats and world order today? The faith of NATO was largely defined by the Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Macedonia conflicts in the 1990s, which are largely considered a success. But to popular (and rightful) believe its faith will be sealed by the outcome of the war in Afghanistan.

The attacks on New York City on September 11, 2001, gave a new face to the threat the world faced. The attacks led to the invocation of the collective security of the NATO’s Charter, and extended NATO’s geographical reach even further away from its borders. Operation Eagle Assist and Operation Active Endeavour were the first two official operations out of eight that were undertaken by the alliance in Afghanistan. “14 NATO allies were directly involved in Operation Enduring Freedom, providing Special Forces units to work with U.S. Special Forces as well as planes and ships for surveillance, interdiction and interception operations. European countries play a major part in these operations, providing more than half of the forces on the ground in Afghanistan. One of the most crucial problems facing today is the unwillingness of some of the members to commit soldiers and equipment. The brunt of the fighting has been borne by just a few countries, principally the Americans, Canadians, British and Dutch (and non-NATO Australians). Other countries stationed their troops in the safe areas of the north and west, unwilling to commit equipment or troops. A few countries cannot pull the weight of all the members for long.

In the light of that, it is important to note, that the Article 5 of the NATO charter, gives the members the freedom to choose how they respond to an attack against any member, which does not necessarily mean that it has to be a military response. As a result, many decided to stay behind the backs of the few. The futures of Afghanistan and of NATO are inextricably linked and therefore the survival of NATO depends on its success in Afghanistan. Consequently, the success in Afghanistan will largely depend on further cooperation of the members and their willingness to commit to the task at hand. Yet to achieve success, simply winning the military fight in Afghanistan will not be enough. Rebuilding the country, installing a stable government, putting infrastructure in place, and civil justice will be NATO’s future tasks after its military one ends, which will require NATO’s cooperation with other relevant international organizations. Inability to Deter Terrorist Attacks, Both the U.S. and NATO play a role in this, the U.S. brought it on upon itself and NATO failed to deal with these dangers because NATO was never structures to address the latter. This brings a question in mind, whether or not NATO will survive and if it will, how? Future of NATO is depend on it ability that how it can adjust itself according to the new dangers, it needs to reform, and even more than it already has.

For half a century, NATO has been the main manifestation of the transatlantic link between the North America and Europe but is it still important? In the light of the terrorist attacks in Europe, and United States unilateralism, one must pose the question of whether NATO’s link of both continents is still important. Despite some down sides, it is important. NATO remains the world’s foremost military alliance, because the years it has spent working together, planning, training and designing forces and equipment that can operate jointly. NATO members continue sharing common ideologies and values and even if they no longer face one common enemy, they face common dangers. Therefore looking at the importance of the alliance, it is clear that NATO must be reformed and its success in Afghanistan will play a big role in its credibility, and future.

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