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Since 1999, more than 18 nations have joined NATO. These countries include Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden. They have all committed to protect each other and the interests of their own people. The North Atlantic Treaty guarantees that all alliance members will be united in time of need. The alliance also commands the International Stabilization and Disarmament Forces (ISAF).
Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty provides that the whole alliance can deploy its military and other resources to protect one or more member nations. This provision is important, especially considering that the US has never been called upon to protect a single member nation, but if a NATO member is attacked by a state that is a signatory to it, the alliance can deploy all its resources to protect it. The United States is currently considering Article 5's application in this case.
However, if the US and Russia decide to fight each other in the same conflict, there's a problem with this. While Article 5 was signed in 1949, it was not ratified until July 3, 1962. That meant that it wasn't applicable to any conflict that started before that date. Since that date, however, the United States has defended the use of force to protect any single member nation.
NATO's success can be attributed to the fact that it has been able to deter war for over 50 years. This success, however, requires that the alliance adapt to the consequences of its success. In other words, NATO must continue to expand to meet the challenges and demands of the 21st century. But, while the United States is committed to this strategic commitment, it also must ensure that NATO has enough resources to carry out its mission.
Article five of the North Atlantic Treaty is a clause in the treaty that would be activated in the event of a Russian attack on the Western Hemisphere. This clause was originally created in 1949, but did not come into play until the cold war. The reason for not activating the clause is that Russia is not a member of NATO. But now, it could lead to a broader conflict.
Since 1989, only one time has the treaty been invoked. In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Nato member states invoked Article 5. The Al-Qaeda hijackers crashed several aircraft into the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C. and the World Trade Center in New York, killing almost 3,000 people. The treaty's other articles committed Nato members to strengthening democratic institutions, building collective military capability, and consulting each other.
Cyberattacks have been a persistent challenge for NATO for years. But Russia has remained a stable originator of limited cyber activities that have not escalated. No cyber incident involving Allies has led to the invocation of Article 5. And NATO has not specified how much damage must be inflicted for an attack to trigger it. That's an important factor in NATO's decision. So what's the latest?
NATO is a coalition of 28 nations, and its mission in Afghanistan is based on Article V, collective defense. The September 11 attacks on the United States were perpetrated by an Afghan network, called al-Qaeda. NATO invoked this collective defense provision and assumed command of ISAF in 2003, to help the new Afghan government fight the al-Qaeda terrorists. The mission marked NATO's first operational commitment outside of Europe. Analysts consider the mission to be a turning point for the alliance.
The North Atlantic Treaty enables member states to use military force in an emergency to protect their citizens. Although Article 5 does not require the use of military force, it does permit it as a matter of international law. The United States, France, and the United Kingdom have signed defense pacts with other countries with similar requirements. However, in the case of ISAF, the United States is not likely to invoke Article 5 in support of the Ukraine, because the conflict in Ukraine is a dynamic environment.
The importance of NATO's collective defence policy cannot be underestimated. The Russian illegal annexation of Crimea and the rise of ISIL have reinforced the need for collective defence. Terrorism has become a harsh reality across continents and is only likely to increase. Migrants seeking refuge from war-torn countries, ethnic strife, and religious conflict, economic underperformance, and cyberattacks are all examples of the need to have a strong NATO and ISAF in place.
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