Relevance of NATO; (Part I)

Manila Bulletin, October 25, 2006 | Go to article overview
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Relevance of NATO; (Part I)


Byline: Francis N. Tolentino

RECENT threats to world peace and security, such as that posed by the continued defiance of North Korea and Iran relative to their ambitious nuclear program, bring to light how important it is for the nations of the world to stay united in their pursuit of common goals and protection of mutual interests. In an era of vast technological advancement and discoveries - some of which may be utilized to harm rather than do good to humans - and wherein power struggle is becoming the "name of the game," it is worth noting how international organizations such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) serve as catalyst for the preservation of peace and world order.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a "regional defense alliance created by the Atlantic Treaty signed on April 4, 1949..." Its present headquarters is at Brussels, Belgium and was originally formed for the purpose of defending Western Europe against Communist aggression, specifically led by Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR). Originally comprised of 12 signatory nations (Belguim, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States), NATO has expanded to also include as members the countries of Greece and Turkey (February 18, 1952), Germany (October 3, 1990), Spain (May 30, 1982). Hungary, Poland and Czech Republic (all three signing the pact on March 12, 1999). More recent additions to NATO's list of member nations (which joined the organization on March 29, 2004) are: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

"NATO's purpose is to enhance the stability, well - being and freedom of its members through a system of collective security. Members of the alliance agree to defend one another from attack by other nations. Over the years, the existence of NATO has led to closer ties among its members and to a growing community of interests. The treaty itself has provided a model for other collective security agreements."

With the advent of the Cold War (the post-World War II geopolitical struggle between the United States and its allies and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and its allies) in mid-1940s, NATO grew in significance as it was viewed as a pillar of defense and security for Europe. Similarly, when the Cold War ended in 1991 (with the collapse of USSR), NATO remained an important alliance that offered an umbrella of security within a region struggling to survive in a post-Cold War era.

In its preamble, the treaty's purpose is clearly stated: ".

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