NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. NATO is an alliance of twenty eight (28) countries from North America and Europe. These countries have a goal and that is to execute the objectives of the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on April 4, 1949.
According to the treaty, NATO’s fundamental responsibility is to safeguard the security and freedom of its member countries by military and political means. Currently NATO plays an important role in peacekeeping and crisis management.
The member countries that partake in the military aspect of the Alliance provide equipment and forces which mutually comprise the integrated military structure of the Alliance. Until NATO requires their services these assets and forces are under national control and command. Services involve crisis or conflict and peacekeeping.
Any European country that are in a position to advance the standards of the Washington Treaty as well as to add to security in the Euro – Atlantic will be eligible for becoming a member of the alliance at the invitation of the North Atlantic Council. NATO also has an open door policy. Countries who have expressed interest in obtaining NATO membership should also meet certain military, political and economic aspirations. This is required as it will ensure the country’s commitment to contribute to the Alliance security and its beneficiaries.
As a inter – governmental organization NATO’s resource allocation is made possible by member nations, this helps in NATO carrying out it day to day functions. Three budgets are allocated; two for military and one for civil. The member country pays an amount according to the agreed cost sharing formula. Combined, these budgets represent less than half of one percent of the total defence budget expenses of NATO countries.
Fundamentally the responsibility of NATO is to safeguard the freedom and security of its member countries by military and political means in accordance with the Treaty. NATO safeguards the Allies’ common values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the peaceful resolution of disputes as well as promotes said values throughout the Euro – Atlantic area.
During the 40 years of the Cold War NATO was successful in ensuring the freedom of its members and prevented war in Europe. By combining dialogue with defence, NATO played an indispensable role in bringing East-West confrontation to a peaceful end. The dangers of the Cold War has given way to more promising, but also challenging prospects, to new opportunities and risks. The Alliance has been at the heart of efforts to establish new patterns of cooperation and mutual understanding across the Euro-Atlantic region and has committed itself to essential new activities in the interest of a wider stability. The years since the end of the Cold War have also witnessed important developments in arms control, a process to which the NATO is fully committed.