What is NATO?
The term NATO is frequently being coined everywhere these days because of ongoing geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine. The entire world is keen in knowing that what is happening between Ukraine and Russia, and what will be the result of the war that is happening between these two nations.
The most important question that everybody is keen in knowing, is that will NATO support Ukraine and enter the war against Russia?
When & Why was NATO formed?
NATO is acronym to North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which is a military alliance that was formed on 4th April 1949 by 12 member countries, like US, UK, Canada, France etc, with its headquarters being in Washington, D.C., United States.
After the 2nd World war the European nations struggled to rebuild their economies and create a security cover to protect their boundaries. The western hemisphere on the other hand required assurance against the resurgent Germany or invasion from the Soviet Union.
United States understood the need for empowering the European nations economically and with armed forces- capable of preventing the communist expansion across the European continent.
As a result, Secretary of State George Marshall proposed to offer a significant economic aid package to Europe. This economic aid let to economic integration of Europe along with promotion of the idea of shared interests and cooperation between US and Europe.
The soviet powers that was dominant in the Eastern Europe on the other hand refused to participate in this plan and refused to accept any economic aid from US, this created a great divide between the Eastern and the Western Europe.
In 1948 due to increased tensions and security concerns in the Western Europe, several western countries like Great Britain, France, Belgium, Netherlands & Luxembourg signed the Brussels Treaty in March 1948 which meant military alliance between these nations. Any attack on one of the member nations would be treated as an attack on the other member nations calling for a robust retaliation in return.
It took several months and negotiations to include US into the treaty as there existed some concerns with reference to the wordings of the Treaty that demanded US to come to Europe’s defense in case of war automatically, whereas the power to declare war rested with the congress. Therefore, deliberations were held to find out a language that assured that US would not be obligated to act in a manner that Europe demanded.
US negotiators felt that there was much to be gained if North Atlantic countries are included into this treaty such as Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Ireland, and Portugal. These countries formed a bridge between the western and European region and would facilitate military action if necessary.
This led to signing of NATO Treaty in 1949 between 12 countries United States, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.
Which countries are in NATO 2022?
- Belgium – joined 1949
- Canada – joined 1949
- Denmark – joined 1949
- France – joined 1949
- Iceland – joined 1949
- Italy – joined 1949
- Luxembourg – joined 1949
- Netherlands – joined 1949
- Norway – joined 1949
- Portugal – joined 1949
- United Kingdom – joined 1949
- United States of America – joined 1949
- Greece – joined 1952
- Turkey – joined 1952
- Germany – joined 1955
- Spain – joined 1982
- Czech Republic – joined 1999
- Hungary – joined 1999
- Poland – joined 1999
- Bulgaria – joined 2004
- Estonia – joined 2004
- Latvia – joined 2004
- Lithuania – joined 2004
- Romania – joined 2004
- Slovakia – joined 2004
- Slovenia – joined 2004
- Albania – joined 2009
- Croatia – joined 2009
- Montenegro – joined 2017
- North Macedonia – joined 2020
Who heads NATO?
NATO is headed by a Secretary General who is the chief figure amongst the member representatives.
The Chief is a senior political official from a NATO member country appointed by the member countries for a period of 4 years.
The selection is done through a diplomatic consultation process amongst the member nations that nominate their representative for the chair. Once the consensus is reached over a particular name the same is declared as the chief of NATO.
The Secretary General is the Alliance’s top international civil servant. The same is responsible for steering the process of consultation and decision formation. It also ensures that the decisions are implemented.
NATO is presently being headed by former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. Jens Stoltenberg is 62 years old who became Secretary General in October 2014 and will assume office until September’22.
What is Logo of NATO?
The official logo of NATO was launched In October 1953. Its logo contains white and blue compass on a dark blue background. Where the blue color represents Atlantic Ocean. The four-pointed star representing the compass keeps the member countries on the right path of peace and the circle binds the member countries.
Status of Ukraine with reference to NATO
Ukraine wants to join NATO to become an ally with the European countries and wants to protect its territory from Russian influence. Similarly, Russia wants to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO because it would mean increased western influence over the country that could be a potential threat to Russia, because NATO and Russia have not had good experiences from past.
In 2002 a joint council between Russia and NATO was formed to establish open communication and handle security issues effectively and collectively. But the same was suspended in the year 2014 when Russia invaded the Crimean region of Ukraine.
In 2008 Ukraine and Georgia applied for a NATO membership which the organization rejected on the pressure of US, because the same believed the two countries were not ready yet as this move had barely 30% support from the public and there were oppositions from Russian separatists in the same country and even Russia opposed the move.
Will NATO help Ukraine In War with Russia?
Ukraine is fighting all alone with Russia and NATO has not come to its rescue directly and is unlikely to join the fight against Russia. Ukraine has already lost its 2 major states to Russia- Luhansk and Donetsk. However, many member NATO nations like Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxemburg, Norway, Portugal, UK and United states are supporting Ukraine to fight the war with Russia to protect its territory by supplying various defense equipment’s. Independent Countries like Japan, South Korea & Australia have also shown their support to Ukraine.
US has provided an aid worth more than $1 Bn in the form of security aid to Ukraine and has provided weapons and defense equipment like anti-armor, small arms, body armor and anti-aircraft systems. Ukraine has also requested for Javelin anti-tank weapon and stinger missiles to shoot down the Russian aircrafts from US.
The European Union has also extended its support by offering arms and defense equipment worth 450 Mn Euros to Ukraine to fight war against Russia.
The United Kingdom has also decided to supply light anti-armor defense weapon systems to Ukraine and will offer lethal and non-lethal aid too.
The heat of the war is being faced by the neighboring countries as well as Finland and Sweden the most neutral countries in the region participated in the emergency NATO submit last week signaling their wish to be a part of NATO, but the Russian officials have warned them already of military and political retaliation if they joined NATO.
Countries Supporting Russia in 2022
There are many countries that have come in Russia’s support in the present situation of war like Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE, China, Cuba, Venezuela, countries that once were a part of soviet union like Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan etc, have also shown their support to Russia.
The outcome of the war between the two nations is yet to be decided, but in reality Russia clearly stands all chances of winning this battle as it holds a strong military force along with approximately 5700 nuclear weapons, however the courage that Ukraine and its president has shown is worth appreciation as they are leaving no stone unturned to protect their nation.
But it is prudent to state here that war is too expensive as it costs human lives and massive destruction to the nation’s assets, the both the nations need to resolve their differences through diplomatic dialogues which will restore peace and save thousands of human lives.