The NATO Alliance: What is it?


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Reese Kent, Staff Writer

NATO, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is an old alliance over 70 years old that spans all around the globe. The alliance currently has 30 countries under it and is one of the most powerful in the world. All of the treaty members agree on supporting democratic political values, which was one of the prominent founding values. Members of the treaty mutually agree to support each other politically, economically, and in the event of a war they will fight together. 

The NATO alliance was created on April 4th, 1949, after the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty, also known as the Washington Treaty. The Soviet Union began to have a strong influence over many European countries post-World War 2. Countries such as  Germany were split in half due to political conflict. Although the Soviet Union and the rest of the Allies were close during World War 2, mutual disagreements caused tensions to rise between the countries during the Cold War.

The treaty was initially signed with 12 members in 1949, but as of 2022 the alliance has 30 active members. The North Korean invasion of South Korea in 1950 spurred the NATO alliance as they’re built around democratic ideals. NATO resisted the spread of communism in Europe, and took steps to display their resistance. The alliance invoked Article 5 for the first time ever in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks. Article 5 states that if a country were to attack one of the NATO members, it would be as if they attacked all of the members of NATO.

The recent Ukraine and Russian controversy has led to calls against the whole nation of Russia. Although Ukraine isn’t an official member of the treaty, multiple NATO members have sent aid to the country during the tough times.

President Zelensky of Ukraine has stated the world needed “new institutions, new alliances” and called for “a union of responsible countries that have the strength and consciousness to stop conflicts immediately.” Zelensky could be calling shots at current members of the NATO treaty, and subtly encouraging the reorganization of the members. 

The future of the NATO alliance seems bright, as the countries account for a lot of the military and financial strength around the globe. Despite its strength, recent Russian statements regarding interfering with their invasion of Ukraine have put some of the donor countries—such as the United States and Germany—in danger. If Russia were to raise arms against one of the countries, it would result in unanimous enactment of the Article 5 agreement, and possibly another world war.