North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO]
NATO was founded with the North Atlantic Treaty (also called the Washington Treaty) signed on 4 April 1949 in Washington which came into force in August 1949.
Twelve states initially signed the treaty, including the United States, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United Kingdom.
Since then, NATO’s membership has expanded to include a total of 28 states as of June, 2013.
NATO has its headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Its guiding principle has always been to establish a just and lasting peaceful order in Europe based on common values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
The alliance’s goal was the eventual integration of the national armed forces of the member nations into a unified military command.
Key Provisions :
The North Atlantic Treaty consists of 14 articles.
The Treaty calls for peaceful resolution of disputes and economic and political cooperation between parties.
The Treaty also calls for the development of the capacity for defense and provides for joint consultations when a member is threatened.
As mentioned in Article 5 (heart of NATO), the Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.
They promised the use of the members’ armed forces for “collective self‐defense” in case of such attack.
The highest authority within NATO is the North Atlantic Council composed of ministerial representatives of the member states, who meet at least twice a year.
The position of the secretary‐general has always been held by a European. The council is responsible for general policy, budgetary outlines, and administrative actions, and is the decision‐making body of NATO.
At other times the council is chaired by the NATO secretary‐general and the ambassadors represent the member states instead of the ministers.
Below the Council, there are the Secretariat, various temporary committees, and the Military Committee.
The position of Supreme Commander of the Military has always been held by an American.
Roles, Uses and Success of NATO
The signing of the Intermediate‐Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 1987 between the US and USSR to eliminate all intermediate range nuclear weapons is considered as a success of NATO.
No NATO member was ever attacked during the Cold War – it never had to use its military forces during Cold War.
It used military force for the first time after Cold War in 1995 to end the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1999, NATO forces used force against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for the protection of Albanians in Kosovo. The first time a NATO member (the US) was attacked was on September 11, 2001 (by non‐state actor al‐ Qaeda).
NATO invoked article 5 of the Treaty for the first time following the September 11, 2001, attacks against the United States
After the formal end of the Cold War in 1991, NATO expanded to include the former members of the Warsaw Pact
It serves as a permanent and institutionalized link between the United States and an ever growing number of European allies in collective defense, crisis management and cooperative security
It has been the most important alliance for the US for the past more than 60 years.
Under the plan known as Partnership for Peace (PFP), nonmembers could be invited to participate in information sharing, joint exercises, and peacekeeping operations in NATO.
NATO activities are no longer confined only to Europe. In 2003, for the first time in its history, NATO took up peacekeeping activities outside of Europe by deploying troops in Afghanistan.
The Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact refers to the treaty establishing a mutual‐defense organization (Warsaw Treaty Organization) composed originally of a group of Eastern European nations and the Soviet Union.
The treaty was signed in Warsaw, Poland on May 14, 1955. The parties to the treaty were the Soviet Union and its satellite countries in Eastern Europe: Albania, East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia), Bulgaria, and Romania.
The treaty was to last for 20 years, with an automatic 10‐year extension. The creation of the Warsaw Pact was prompted by the integration of a “re‐militarized” West Germany into NATO on May 9, 1955.
The competing military alliance was formed by USSR also because of its own fears of a rearmed Germany.
Soviet troops to occupy Eastern European countries as part of Warsaw Pact activities, the Soviet Union allowed itself to defend any attacks that might come from the West and, at the same time, to keep communist regimes stable.
The members of the Warsaw Pact pledged to defend each other if one or more of the members were attacked.
The treaty also stated that relations among the signatories were based on mutual noninterference in internal affairs and respect for national sovereignty and independence.
It integrated the armed forces of Eastern Europe into a unified command under the USSR.
Soviet military units were placed on the territories of the other participating states.
High‐ranking Soviet officers were assigned to the defense ministries of Warsaw Pact members to ensure a uniformity of training and to keep the national militaries a part of the armed forces of the Soviet Union.
Two major bodies carried out the functions of the Warsaw Pact: the Political Consultative Committee and the Unified Command of Pact Armed Forces, both headquartered in Moscow.
Controversies and Criticisms
There was a great deal of distrust between the Soviet Union and the member states and among the member states themselves.
the Soviets did not want other pact members to have armies, air forces, or navies that could present obstacles to the Soviet Union.
The Warsaw Pact’s only military action was directed against Czechoslovakia in August 1968 when Czechoslovakia sought closer relations with the West.
The Warsaw Pact no longer exists. After the democratic revolutions of 1989 in Eastern Europe, the Warsaw Pact became stagnant and was formally declared “nonexistent” on July 1, 1991, at a final summit meeting of Warsaw Pact leaders in Prague, Czech