Saturday, September 11, 2010

Discuss the role of the NATO after the end of the cold war (CSE 2003)

Soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO had begun to be considered a redundant organisation which should have died with the end of the cold war. However, NATO has suddenly taken a new life under the leadership of it’s the then Secretary- General Mr. Javier Solana, it has been elevated to play a new role in European and North Atlantic Affairs.


NATO or The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is basically a military alliance, born out of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4th of April, 1949. Headquartered at the Belgium capital city of Brussels, the NATO introduced a collection of defense systems, as a result of which, its member-states agreed upon a common defense system, in the face of external invasions.

NATO: Historical Evolution

The origin of NATO can be traced back to 17th of March 1948, with the signing of the Treaty of Brussels by United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. This Treaty led to the foundation of a military coalition, which came to be known as the Western European Union at a later stage. This was soon followed by the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington D.C. on 4th April 1949, which accepted American intervention into the matter, for impeding the attack of the Soviet Russian military forces and participate in the formation of a fresh military alliance as immediately as possible. This was the time when NATO came into existence officially.

Role of NATO in the modern political world:

As an alliance of as many as 26 European and North American nations, NATO is entrusted with the responsibility of executing the plan of actions, as laid down in the North Atlantic Treaty. As per this Treaty, the basic role of NATO is to protect the freedom of and ensure security to all its member-nations by all possible political and military ways. However, with passing time, NATO has diversified its activities and today; it has a significant role to play in maintaining peace and handling global political and military crises efficiently and effectively. The military regiments as well as the equipments of NATO are all contributions from its member-nations, who are active participants in all the military activities of the organization. These armed forces considered as the primary asset of NATO, are under strict national control and command, unless NATO requires them to combat battles or other emergency situations.

NATO has its military bases worldwide, including countries like:

· Spain

· Italy

· Germany

A historical decision was made when the US agreed to let European members of the NATO play a greater role in organizing future NATO operations. For the first time, the US conceded that the US’s European allies in NATO should enjoy “political control and strategic direction” of the military missions they run. European nations will have flexibility to launch military operations without the United States. All this, in turn gave fresh dimensions to the Atlantic alliance, which emerges as more flexible and less focused on East-West confrontations.

For the first time in NATO history, NATO has embarked on the epoch making mission, first operation outside Europe to Afganistan has widened the role of NATO after the end, of the cold war.


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