The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) created at the beginning of the Cold War, has become the main world military organization for common defense and groups 30 member countries in North America and Europe.
Now, Finland y Sweden could be the next countries to enter the pact, with the aim of dissuading Russia of aggression, following the invasion launched by Moscow against Ukraine.
The Soviet threat
The OTAN was founded on April 4, 1949 in Washington by 12 countries, 10 Europeans, the United States and Canada.
So, its objective was to counter the Soviet threatbased on the principle of mutual solidarity, defined in Article 5 of the Treaty: “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them, which takes place in Europe or North America, will be considered as an attack directed against All of them”.
Over the years, the first new partners joined: Greece, Turkey (1952), the Federal Republic of Germany (1955) and Spain (1982).
The Soviet Union responded in 1955 with the creation of the Warsaw Pact, an alliance of the socialist countries of the East.
The euromissile crisis
In 1977 the USSR deployed missiles with nuclear warheads placing Western Europe under threat. So, the OTAN it replied with the mobilization of Pershing missiles in West Germany.
The crisis was defused in 1987 with the signing of a historic treaty on the elimination of intermediate-range nuclear forces.
With the disintegration of the USSR in 1991, the Warsaw Pact disappeared. NATO with former members of the Eastern bloc, including Russia, sign a partnership for peace in 1994, which was followed by a cooperation pact in 1997.
The first fights in 1994
The OTAN It first saw combat on February 28, 1994 when it shot down four Serb planes in a UN-imposed no-fly zone in Bosnia Herzegovina.
On December 16, 1995, it carried out its first ground operation in Bosnia, where it deployed 60,000 troops.
On March 24, 1999, NATO launched a bombing campaign to try to stop the Serbian repression against the Albanian population of Kosovo.
This campaign caused the withdrawal of the Serbs from that territory, which came under UN administration, with a force of 40,000 NATO soldiers to guarantee security.
In 1999, NATO welcomed into its midst the first countries of the former Eastern bloc: the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.
After the attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States became the first country to invoke Article 5 and NATO backed Washington in its “war on terrorism.”
Thus, in 2003 the Alliance assumed the leadership of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF), whose combat mission continued until 2014.
In March 2004, seven other Eastern European countries joined NATO: Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The entry of these last three, former Soviet republics, particularly upset Moscow.
In 2010 Albania and Croatia joined and in 2017 Montenegro.
On March 31, 2011, NATO assumed command of the Western intervention in Libya, established under a UN mandate to protect civilians. The operation led to the overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
Rising tensions in Moscow
In 2014, NATO suspended cooperation with Russia following the annexation of the Crimean peninsula and Moscow’s support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
In 2016, the Alliance deployed four multinational battle groups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. This is the most important reinforcement of their collective defense since the end of the Cold War.
In November 2018, NATO held its largest military exercise since the Cold War in Norway.
In October 2019, Turkey launched a military operation in northeast Syria without informing the Alliance. French President Emmanuel Macron estimated at the time that the North Atlantic pact was “brain dead”.
In November 2020, North Macedonia became the 30th member of NATO.
NATO against the invasion of Ukraine
On February 24, 2022 Russia invaded Ukraine a partner country of the OTAN.
The organization responded by demanding an end to a “meaningless war.” While it has refused to deploy troops, it is supplying weapons from Ukraine, although this does not include tanks or planes.
Despite demands from kyiv, the OTAN he ruled out assuming responsibility for a no-fly zone, because this would mean his direct involvement in the conflict.