North Atlantic Treaty Organization

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NATO committee.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a military alliance of 28 nations, founded in 1949 to combat the spread of communism from Central Europe and the Soviet Union. Its current secretary is Jaap de Hoop Scheffer of the Netherlands.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO has departed immensely from its original purpose.

Contents

History

Beginning

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was established shortly after World War II in 1949. The original members consisted of ten European countries, the United States, and Canada. These countries formed the alliance to further the goal of security in the North Atlantic region, and they did this by ingraining the principal that an attack against one member would be considered an attack against all. Therefore, all would respond with support to the attacked nation. In 1952 NATO began its first round of enlargement of the early alliances history, letting in Turkey.

Cold War

NATO acceptance of European countries in 1955 led Soviet Russia to set up a counter organization, The Warsaw Treaty Organization (or Warsaw Pact). Common defense, the ongoing MAD strategy, and economic crisis led the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact to its demise. NATO’s transatlantic relations and prevention were key to the end of the Cold War, and the beginning of a interlinking of United States and European policies, which still remains to this day.

Kosovo

Apartment building burns in Belgrade in 1999. The building caught fire as residents were cooking with firewood during a power blackout after NATO air raids on power grid in Serbia.

After the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, NATO appeared to lose it purpose as it no longer had the threat of USSR. NATO began to shift its focus to from its original defense alliance to a more offensive mode. In 1999, the United States led its NATO allies on a bombing campaign to stop Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević's ethic cleansing of the Albanians inside of Kosovo. The mission in Kosovo did not go as well as planned. After the air strikes, havoc reigned over Kosovo, abuses continued and human rights organizations listed abuses committed by the Alliance members during the campaign. In an attempt to solve the violence, NATO countries and the United Nations took on a mission to stabilize and reconstruct the country, a mission which is currently ongoing. The OTAN intervention was illegal, destructive, and based on fraudulent claims. [1]

James Bissett, a former Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania, wrote: "the Central Intelligence Agency assisted by the British Special Air Service were training KLA members in Albania and in the summer of 1998 sending them back into Kosovo to assassinate Serbian mayors, ambush Serbian policemen and intimidate hesitant Kosovo Albanians. The aim was to destabilize Kosovo and overthrow Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic... The hope was that with Kosovo in flames NATO could intervene ..." [2]

NATO War Crimes

According to Professor Robert Hayden from the University of Pittsburgh:

NATO's attacks have been aimed against civilian targets since literally the first night of the bombing, when a tractor factory in the Belgrade suburb of Rakovica was destroyed by cruise missiles. Since then NATO targets have included roads, railroad tracks and bridges hundreds of miles from Kosovo, power plants, factories of many kinds, food processing and sugar processing plants, water pumping stations, cigarette factories, central heating plants for civilian apartment blocks, television studios, post offices, non-military government administrative buildings, ski resorts, government official residences, oil refineries, civilian airports, gas stations, and chemical plants. NATO's strategy is not to attack Yugoslavia's army directly, but rather to destroy Yugoslavia itself, in order to weaken the army. With this strategy it is military losses that are "collateral damage," because most of the attacks are aimed at civilian targets.
The level of damage done to clearly non-military infrastructural targets in Serbia would seem to render NATO military commanders and at least some NATO political leaders liable to the same charge that was made against Ratko Mladi and Radovan Karadi by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), "extensive destruction of property:" that they individually and in concert with others planned, instigated, ordered or otherwise aided and abetted in the planning, preparation or execution of the extensive, wanton and unlawful destruction of ... property, not justified by military necessity or knew or had reason to know that subordinates were about to destroy or permit others to destroy ... property or had done so and failed to take necessary and reasonable measures to prevent this destruction or to punish the perpetrators thereof."
The war supposedly in defense of human rights has produced war crimes by NATO, and a civilian casualty rate that is at least three time higher than the casualty rate of the "intolerable" violations of human rights that NATO was supposedly acting to correct. [3]

Modern History

After Kosovo, NATO’s ability to be an offensive organization was called into question. Some called for the abolishment of the organization, stating that it had lost it original purpose. NATO began to look for its new goal in the 21 century. After the attacks on the World Trade Centers and Pentagon on September 11, 2001, NATO countries quickly responded by aiding the United States, as they had promised in Article Five of their founding treaty. AWACS airplanes were sent on surveillance, and NATO began its first and only article five mission to this day, Operation Active Endeavor, which was a Maritime mission to protect the Mediterranean from terrorist operations and drug and WMD trafficking.

After the end of the Cold War, European defense spending had weakened and its military lacked technology and modernization. In 2002, NATO met for its annual summit, which was held in Prague. The 19 country alliance made a list of improvements that its members needed to make in order to effectively fight the war on terror, these improvements called for, among other thing, a NATO Military Concept for Defense against Terrorism. NATO members also took steps to modernize there forces, all 19 countries agreed to spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense. NATO also agreed on its new focus, terrorism. As Spain’s former prime minster José María Aznar, said, “Jihadism has replaced Communism, as Communism replaced Nazism, as an existential threat to the liberal democracies.”

Further Expansion and Russian Relations

In 2004, NATO further expanded to Central European countries, these included Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania, resulting in an organization of 26 nations. This spark of expansion was seen as an offensive move by Russia and caused a rift in the NATO, Russia relations. The Russian lower house released to the press a statement, "At present we are debating the draft statement of the State Duma which we are planning to adopt in connection with NATO's expansion in Europe. Our opinion is equivocal that this act is erroneous. I think that this is a big historical mistake on the part of western states."

Afghanistan

NATO took command and co-ordination of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in August 2003. When NATO and some non-member states joined (such as Australia and Japan), the initial mission was limited to Kabul, but soon expanded. In 2006, when NATO took over full command over the Afghanistan operation, the Taliban began a major campaign. Commanders complained that their forces were being restricted by national restrictions, and that they needed more troops. In November 2006, at another NATO summit in Riga, NATO countries removed 15% of restrictions placed on troops. NATO called on member governments to provide more troops to their mission in Afghanistan, but several countries had their resources stretched thin in Kosovo, as well as their mission in Iraq of training the new Iraqi government’s security force.

Libyan uprising 2011

Libya helicopter tigre NATO.jpg

UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1973 of March 17, 2011 followed on the heels of Gaddafi’s public threat on March 2, 2011 to throw western oil companies out of Libya, and his invitation on March 14 to Chinese, Russian, and Indian firms to produce Libyan oil in their place.[4] China, Russia, India and Brazil all abstained on UNSC Resolution 1973.

Resolution 1973 authorized strict limitations, according to international law, on NATO as the organization with responsibility for the implementation of the resolution. Particularly, it provides only for a naval blockade enforcing the arms embargo, and enforcement of a no-fly zone. On March 29, 2011, Russian envoy Dmitry Rogozin commented after a meeting with NATO officials in Brussels, Belgium, that Russia expressed deep concern over the interpretation of the Security Council’s resolution, as some countries have effectively turned it into an approval for ground operations.

Moscow has many questions about how the UN Security Council’s resolution is being carried out...First of all, there are reports that civilians have been killed in the air strikes. This is odd if you consider the message of the resolution, which says that the foreign forces’ actions should protect civilians. So it’s hard to comprehend how you can protect civilians by killing them....we demanded that the UN Security Council be fully informed about the actions of the alliance in Libya at all times... We have reports of air strikes against convoys far from the front line. This is a far cry from the UN Security Council resolution.[5]

Despite France taking the lead role in the intervention, the Congressional Research Service reports, "Only the United States and NATO possess the command and control capabilities necessary for coalition operations enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya." France only recently rejoined the NATO alliance, in 2008, after a 40 year absence. The Congressional Research Service, which analyzes information and prepares reports for members of Congress, also states,

In spite of statements underscoring NATO unity on steps announced to date, the initial planning and operational phases were also marked by significant levels of discord within Europe and NATO on the aims and future direction of the mission. A key point of contention was reportedly the amount of flexibility that NATO forces would be granted to protect civilians and civilian areas, as called for in paragraph 4 of UNSCR 1973. Reports indicate that French officials insisted on maintaining the ability to strike ground forces that threatened civilian areas, while their Turkish counterparts vocally opposed any targeting of ground forces. Adding to the strain within NATO, NATO ally Germany abstained from UNSCR 1973 and, opposed to any potential combat operation, on March 23, withdrew its naval assets in the Mediterranean from NATO command. Throughout the first week of operations, other European allies contributing to the mission, including Italy and Norway, expressed increasing frustration with the lack of agreement within NATO, with Norway refusing to deploy its fighter jets unless under they were under NATO command and control.[6]
NATO air strike on Tripoli, Libya.

Of Nato's 28 members, 14 are said to be "actively participating," but only 6 have provided military support. Of the 22-country Arab League, whose appeal prompted the United Nations to vote on intervention, only Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are involved. Of the 192 members of the UN General Assembly, who all have a legal "responsibility to protect" civilians attacked by their own governments, only Sweden has responded.[7]

NATO planes and ships have been striking cities and military installations in Libya since mid-March, 2011. Allied military officials have spoken in recent weeks of the need for escalation to help protect Libyan civilians and have called for Gaddafi to step down. Libyan officials have said that NATO is picking sides in a civil war and complained that strikes on Gaddafi’s Tripoli compound are attempts to assassinate the leader of a sovereign country. NATO launched its largest airstrike against Moammar Gaddafi’s regime on May, 24, 2011, with at least 15 massive explosions rocking the Libyan capital. [1]

NATO Members

NATO Member NATO Summit Expansion Year
Belgium Founder Original Member, 1949
Canada Founder Original Member, 1949
Denmark Founder Original Member, 1949
France Founder Original Member, 1949
Iceland Founder Original Member, 1949
Italy Founder Original Member, 1949
Luxembourg Founder Original Member, 1949
Netherlands Founder Original Member, 1949
Norway Founder Original Member, 1949
Portugal Founder Original Member, 1949
United Kingdom Founder Original Member, 1949
United States Founder Original Member, 1949
Greece First Round, 1952
Turkey First Round, 1952
Germany First Round, 1952
Spain Third Round, 1982
Czech Republic Washington, D.C. Fourth Round, 1999
Hungary Washington, D.C. Fourth Round, 1999
Poland Washington, D.C. Fourth Round, 1999
Bulgaria Washington, D.C. Fifth Round, 2004
Estonia Istanbul, Turkey Fifth Round, 2004
Latvia Istanbul, Turkey Fifth Round, 2004
Lithuania Istanbul, Turkey Fifth Round, 2004
Romania Istanbul, Turkey Fifth Round, 2004
Slovakia Istanbul, Turkey Fifth Round, 2004
Slovenia Istanbul, Turkey Fifth Round, 2004
Albania Bucharest, Romania Sixth Round, 2008
Croatia Bucharest, Romania Sixth Round, 2008

See also

External Links

References

  1. The U.S.-NATO Military Intervention in Kosovo.
  2. The United Nations:Chief Instrument of Russia's Errors by Cornelia R. Ferreira. CATHOLIC APOLOGETICS.
  3. Humanitarian Hypocrisy. University of Pittsburgh.
  4. Gaddafi offers Libyan oil production to India, Russia, China, Agence France-Presse, March 14, 2011.
  5. http://rt.com/news/coalition-libya-nato-russian-envoy/
  6. Operation Odyssey Dawn (Libya): Background and Issues for Congress, Congressional Research Service, March 30, 2011, p. 20 pdf.
  7. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/19/libya-mission-military-advisory-team
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