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Definition: NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty

Organization) is an alliance of 28 member countries

roughly bordering the North Atlantic Ocean. It
includes Canada, the United States, Turkey and
most members of the European Union.

On July 15, the Turkish military announced it had

seized control of the government in a coup. But
Turkish President Recep Erdogan announced early
on July 16 that the coup had failed.

As a NATO member, Turkey would receive its allies'

support in the case of an attack. That does not apply
to an internal coup or civil war. (Source: "Turkey
Coup: How Does NATO Respond?" NBC News, July
16, 2016.)
On July 8, 2016, NATO announced it would send up
to 4,000 troops to the Baltic states and eastern
Poland for the first time. It will increase air and sea
patrols to shore up its eastern front after Russia's
attack on Ukraine. (Source: "NATO Agrees
toReinforce the Baltic States," Reuters, July 8,

On December 1, 2015, NATO announced its first

expansion since 2009. It offered membership to
Montenegro. Russia responded by calling the move
a strategic threat to its national security. It worries
that too many Balkan countries along its border have
joined NATO. (Source: "NATO Prepares for
Expansion," WSJ , December 1, 2015.)
On November 16, 2015, NATO responded to the
Paris terror attacks by calling for a unified approach
with the European Union.

It outlined three areas: meeting hybrid threats,

supporting partners, and boosting the European
defense industry. France did not invoke
NATO's Article 5. That would be a formal declaration
upon ISIS, the terrorist organization behind the
attacks. Article 5 states"...an armed attack upon
one...shall be considered an attack upon them
all." The United States invoked Article 5 when
attacked by Al Qaeda after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

(Source: "NATO Addresses European Defense

Agency," November 16, 2015. "Will NATO Respond
to the Paris Attacks?" November 15, 2015)

NATO's purpose is to protect the freedom of its

members. In recent years, NATO's purpose has
expanded to include defense against weapons of
mass destruction, terrorism, and cyber attacks.
Since its inception following World War II, NATO has
continually redefined its focus as a military and
political alliance to keep up with the changing face of

NATO protects the security of its members.

However, it must also take into consideration
aggression against non-members that threaten the
stability of the region. That's why its September
2014 summit focused on President Putin's goal to
create a "Little Russia" out of Ukraine's eastern
region. Although Ukraine is not a NATO member,
other former USSR countries are, and they're
worried. President Obama vowed to defend
countries such as Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.
The U.S. contributes three-quarters of NATO's

(Source: WSJ, U.S. Vows NATO Defense of Baltics,

Sep. 4, 2014)

On August 28, 2014, NATO announced it had photos

proving that Russia had invaded Ukraine. Although
Ukraine is not a NATO member, it has been working
closely with NATO over the years. Russia's invasion
of Ukraine threatens NATO members who are afraid
they will be next because they were also former
U.S.S.R. satellite countries.
NATO expanded its role after the 9/11 attacks to
include the war on terrorism. NATO led the mission
in Afghanistan from August 2003 to December 2014.
At its peak, it deployed 130,000 troops from NATO-
member countries and a dozen non-members. In
2015, NATO began a non-combat support mission to
Afghan troops.(Source: "NATO and Afghanistan,"
NATO, June 14, 2016.)

NATO itself admits that "Peacekeeping has become

at least as difficult as peacemaking." As a result,
NATO is strengthening alliances throughout the
world. In the age of globalization, transatlantic peace
has become a worldwide effort that extends beyond
military might alone. (Source: NATO History)
Member Countries
NATO's 28 members include: Albania, Belgium,
Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic,
Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece,
Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania,
Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland,
Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain,
Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. Each
member is represented by an ambassador, who is
supported by officials that serve on the different
NATO committees. From time to time, the
President/Prime Minister, Foreign Affairs Minister or
head of Defense will meet to discuss NATO

NATO is involved with three alliances that expand its

influence beyond its 28 member countries.
1.The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council -
Created in 1991, it includes 23 countries that
support NATO's purpose. Participation in the
Partnership allows partners a vehicle to become
NATO members.

2.The Mediterranean Dialogue - Begun in 1994,

its goal is to bring a stabilizing influence to the
Middle East region. Members of the dialogue
include Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan,
Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia.

3.The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative -

Launched in 2004, it includes these four
members of the Gulf Cooperation Council:
Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab
Emirates. Its goal is to foster peace throughout
the larger Middle East region.

In addition, NATO cooperates with eight other

countries in joint security issues. These countries
include five in Asia (Australia, Japan, Republic of
Korea, Mongolia and New Zealand) and two in the
Middle East (Afghanistan and Pakistan). (Source:
NATO, Partnerships)

The founding members of NATO signed the North

Atlantic Treaty on April 4, 1949. NATO's primary
purpose was to defend member nations against a
large number of troops in pro-communist countries.
The United States also wanted to maintain a
presence in Europe, to prevent a resurgence of
military nationalism and foster political union. In this
way, NATO made the European Union possible.
(Source: "NATO History," NATO.)

NATO and the Cold War

During the Cold War, NATO's mission expanded to

prevent nuclear war. After West Germany joined
NATO, the communist countries formed the Warsaw
Pact alliance, including the USSR, Bulgaria,
Hungary, Rumania, Poland, Czechoslovakia and
East Germany. In response, NATO adopted the
"Massive Retaliation" policy, which promised to
use nuclear weapons if the Pact attacked. This
deterrence policy allowed Europe to focus
on economic development instead of building large
conventional armies.
The Soviet Union, on the other hand, continued to
build its military presence. By the end of the Cold
War, it was spending three times what the U.S. was
with only one-third the economic power. When
the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, it was due to economic
as well as ideological reasons. After the USSR
dissolved in the late 1980s, NATO's relationship with
Russia thawed. In 1997, the NATO-Russia Founding
Act was signed to build bilateral cooperation. In
2002, the NATO-Russia Council was formed to allow
NATO members and Russia to partner on common
security issues.

The collapse of the USSR led to unrest in its former

satellite states. NATO expanded its focus to address
this instability when a civil war in the former
Yugoslavia turned into ethnic cleansing and
genocide. NATO's initial support of a United
Nations naval embargo led to the enforcement of
a no-fly zone. Violations then led to a few airstrikes
until September 1999, when NATO conducted a
heavy nine-day air campaign that ended the war. By
December of that year, NATO deployed a peace-
keeping force of 60,000 soldiers that ended in 2004,
when NATO transferred this function to
the European Union.