NATO – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed in 1949, by the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland, and several Western European nations, to bring forth protection and security against the Soviet Union. This is frequently said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed in reply to the danger of the Soviet Union. This may be partially true, but in fact, it was the first-ever peacetime military alliance the United States set foot in outside of the western hemisphere. It was difficult for the nations of Europe to rebuild their economies and maintain security after the destruction of the 2nd world war. It was the time between 1947-1948, a list of events happened and made the nations of western Europe concerned about their physical and political security, and the United States became more closely involved with European Affairs.
FUNCTIONS OF NATO
NATO aims to secure peace in Europe, depending on the common values of individual liberty, democracy, rule of law, and human rights. Seeing this recent outbreak crisis and conflicts far from allied borders may contribute to jeopardy to this objective.
Essentially, NATO ensures to engage its values further afield, to prevent and manage the crisis, support reconstruction, and stabilize post-conflict situations and not just helps in defending the territory of its members. NATO is actually the central element in the network of multilateral and bilateral alliances of the free democratic world.
THE POWER OF NATO
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is known internationally as the world’s strongest and most powerful alliance, but where does the organization drive its power from? Does the organization possess its own troops or army? If we simply answer this question then it would be both yes and no. NATO depends mainly on the military strength of its members and partners to support missions and operations around the world.
NATO doesn’t own its own military of any kind but it certainly has a permanent and advanced command structure that consists of both military and civilian personnel from all of its member nations. These personnel works collectively to fulfill the mutual objectives.
Although NATO doesn’t have its own military it counts on and benefits from the experience and capabilities of each of its member countries. Every nation contributes something to the organization, not only the personnel to serve at NATO but also the war equipment such as submarines, tanks, and fighter planes.
Since its inception, NATO has only grown in strength both as an organization with its credibility and with its military strength which counts today on around 3.5 million personnel, both troops and civilians working in the respective areas. Each member agrees to contribute with their military and strategic influence.
Allied Command Operations (ACO) led by Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), is responsible for executing all NATO operations and missions, Deputy SACEUR coordinates troop contributions. When an operation or mission is fulfilled, military forces from different countries return to their respective homes.
When North Atlantic Council concludes to start an operation, mission or exercise then NATO’s military authorities propose a draft about operations that they are going to perform called CONOPS, it proposes the amount of strength they are demanding to carry out the operation which consists of troops, equipment’s, resources, etc. This process is called force generation.
The force generation process is a standard procedure that is overseen by Allied Command Operations, Force Generation Branch, and National Military Representatives (NMRs). This procedure makes sure that every allied nation provides the demanded resources for the proposed operation approved by NAC. Availability of resources by an ally decides whether they are going to contribute to the operation or not.
Member countries are able to make direct and indirect contributions to the cost of running NATO and implementing its policies and activities. The indirect contributions are the critical ones that usually come through allies participating in the NATO-led operations.
Members of the alliance take care of the costs involved whenever they volunteer to participate in such operations led by NATO. In precision, if a member is providing fighter planes or submarines will have to take care of the costs involved with this Equipment. The cost-sharing formula is based on the gross national income of its members where they can make direct contributions to NATO’S budgets.
NATO is leading operations in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq, the Mediterranean, and more. Which demands a constant need of resources in the form of war Equipment and approximately 20000 troops at a time.
The Alliance is also providing a strong-cohesive battle with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic by sending medical personnel and critical supplies, construction of field hospitals to host patients affected by COVID, and providing support for local authorities where NATO troops are deployed.
THE CURRENT STATUS
As the all-country members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) consider the role of the organization at present and in the future, they face an imminent contradiction. Despite facing beginning doubts and debates in the years after the end of the cold war NATO is currently accepted as the premier security organization in Europe. When compared to other organizations like European Union (EU), the organization for security corporation in Europe (OSCE), and even the United Nations (UN), NATO appears to be the most “go-to” organization by both members and non-members in such cases where the threat is so big that use of forces is deemed appropriate in and around Europe. It didn’t happen on its own but the NATO outperformed all of its counterparts when it came to bringing peace in the region. Whether to the Balkans, in Bosnia, or later in Kosovo. It also proved proficient in meeting the needs and aspirations of central and eastern European countries to be a part of the western world. When European Union was trying to recruit countries as its members they were open for rich and neutral countries but on the other hand, NATO was open for eastern countries like the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland to join while also remained its membership doors open for any other European country who was qualified to join.
Regardless of NATO’S leading status today, the basic principle of the alliance in the world after the cold war remains contested. The NATO members whether they are new or old have yet to agree on the objectives of the alliance. The objective remains unclear what a military organization formed to tackle the overwhelming threat emerging in the Soviet Union and now when it seems to have disappeared is supposed to do. Should its first objective to defend the territories of its members from direct attack although which seems less likely seems possible in today’s unstable and uncertain world remain intact or alternatively should the alliance aim to extend the security and stability throughout the Euro-Atlantic region by accepting new members that meet the basic principles of market policies, the rule of law and a commitment to settle internal and external disputes by peaceful means? Or should NATO extend its reach by expanding itself both functionally and geographically? It still remains a question whether NATO should not only defend the common territories but also the common interests of its members wherever these are threatened. Depending upon how the members of the Alliance answer these questions about its purpose, its policies, and structure, and the extent of its enlargement will decide the operation’s efficiency and legitimacy of the NATO in current time as well as in the future.
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