Learn more about NATO
| North Atlantic Treaty Organisation|
Organisation du Traité de l'Atlantique Nord
| Image:Flag of NATO.svg|
Flag of NATO
| Image:Map of NATO countries.png|
NATO countries are in blue
|Membership||26 member states|
|Official languages||English, French|
|Secretary-General||Jaap de Hoop Scheffer|
|Formation||4 April 1949|
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation<ref>NATO uses British English spelling. This convention is discussed in its online frequently asked questions: "Q: Why do you spell 'organisation' with an 's' and not a 'z'? A: By tradition, NATO uses European English spellings in all public information documents...". NATO has two official languages, English and French, defined in Article 14 of the North Atlantic Treaty.</ref> (NATO), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, the Atlantic Alliance or the Western Alliance, is an international organisation for collective security established in 1949, in support of the North Atlantic Treaty signed in Washington, DC, on 4 April 1949. Its headquarters are located in Brussels,<ref>Boulevard LéopoIII, B-1110 BRUSSELS, which is in Haren, part of the City of Brussels, Template:Citeeb</ref> Belgium. Its other official name is the French equivalent, l'Organisation du Traité de l'Atlantique Nord (OTAN, the reverse of the English acronym, English and French being the two official languages of the organisation). It is one of the strongest military forces in the world and unites the largest, most modern and efficient military capabilities and resources.
The core of NATO is Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty, which states:
|The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all. Consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.|
The Treaty of Brussels, signed on 17 March 1948 by Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom, is considered the precursor to the NATO agreement. This treaty established a military alliance, later to become the Western European Union. However, American participation was thought necessary in order to counter the military power of the Soviet Union, and therefore talks for a new military alliance began almost immediately.
These talks resulted in the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed in Washington, DC on 4 April 1949. It included the five Treaty of Brussels states, United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. Three years later, on 18 February 1952, Greece and Turkey also joined. Because of geography, Australia and New Zealand missed out on membership. In place of this, the ANZUS agreement was made by the United States with these nations.
In 1954 the Soviet Union suggested that it should join NATO to preserve peace in Europe. The NATO countries rejected this, seeing it as an attempt to subvert NATO from within.
The incorporation of West Germany into the organisation on 9 May 1955 was described as "a decisive turning point in the history of our continent" by Halvard Lange, Foreign Minister of Norway at the time.<ref>http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/may/9/newsid_2519000/2519979.stm</ref> Indeed, one of its immediate results was the creation of the Warsaw Pact, signed on 14 May 1955 by the Soviet Union and its satellite states as a formal response to this event, firmly establishing the two opposing sides of the Cold War.
 Early Cold War - crisis with France
The unity of NATO was breached early on in its history, with a crisis occurring during Charles de Gaulle's presidency of France from 1958 onward. De Gaulle protested the United States' hegemonical role in the organisation and protested what he perceived as a special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom. In a memorandum he sent on 17 September 1958 to President Eisenhower and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, he argued for the creation of a tripartite directorate that would put France on an equal footing with the United States and the United Kingdom, and also for the expansion of NATO's coverage to include geographical areas of interest to France.
Considering the response he was given to be unsatisfactory, de Gaulle started pursuing an independent defense for his country. France withdrew its Mediterranean fleet from NATO command on March 11 1959, and pursued an independent nuclear programme. In June 1959, de Gaulle banned the stationing of foreign nuclear weapons on French soil, which caused the United States to transfer 200 military aircraft out of France; on February 13, 1960, France tested its first nuclear bomb.
Though France showed solidarity with the rest of NATO during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, de Gaulle continued his pursuit of an independent defence by also removing the Atlantic and Channel fleets of France from NATO command. In 1966 all French armed forces were removed from NATO’s integrated military command and all non-French NATO troops were asked to leave France. This precipitated the relocation of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) from Paris to Brussels in Belgium by 16 October 1967. In Belgium, NATO also is based in Casteau in South Brussels. France rejoined NATO's military command in 1993.
During most of the duration of the Cold War, NATO maintained a holding pattern with no actual military engagement as an organisation. On 1 July 1968, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty opened for signature: NATO argued that its nuclear weapons sharing arrangements did not breach the treaty as US forces controlled the weapons until a decision was made to go to war, at which point the treaty would no longer be controlling. Few states knew of the NATO nuclear sharing arrangements at that time, and they were not challenged.
On 30 May 1978, NATO countries officially defined two complementary aims of the Alliance, to maintain security and pursue détente. This was supposed to mean matching defences at the level rendered necessary by the Warsaw Pact's offensive capabilities without spurring a further arms race.
However, on 12 December 1979, in light of a build-up of Warsaw Pact nuclear capabilities in Europe, ministers approved the deployment of US Cruise and Pershing II theatre nuclear weapons in Europe. The new warheads were also meant to strengthen the western negotiating position in regard to nuclear disarmament. This policy was called the Dual Track policy. Similarly, in 1983–84, responding to the stationing of Warsaw Pact SS-20 medium-range missiles in Europe, NATO deployed modern Pershing II missiles able to reach Moscow within minutes. This action led to peace movement protests throughout Western Europe.
The membership of the organisation in this time period likewise remained largely static, with NATO only gaining one new member in 30 May 1982, when newly democratic Spain joined the alliance, following a referendum. Greece also in 1974 withdrew its forces from NATO’s military command structure, as a result of Greco-Turkish tensions following the 1974 Cyprus dispute; Greek forces were however readmitted in 1980, with Turkish cooperation.
In November 1983, a NATO manoeuvre code-named Able Archer 83, which simulated a NATO nuclear release, caused panic in the Kremlin. Soviet leadership, led by ailing General Secretary Yuri Andropov became concerned that US President Ronald Reagan may have been intending to launch a genuine first strike. In response, Soviet nuclear forces were readied and air units in Eastern Germany and Poland were placed on alert. Though at the time written off by US intelligence as a propaganda effort, many historians now believe Soviet fear of a NATO first strike was genuine.
 Cold War Stay Behind Armies
NATO was founded early in the Cold War with the express aim of defending western Europe against a military invasion by the Soviet Union. In 1990 it was discovered<ref name="Ganser">NATO's Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe, by Daniele Ganser, ISBN 0-7146-5607-0 </ref> that some NATO states had set up and organised clandestine paramilitary militias, known as "stay-behind armies", who would use guerrilla tactics behind enemy lines following a successful invasion. These paramilitary groups, also known as Gladio, are accused of having carried out dozens of terrorist bombings, notably in Italy during the strategy of tension years, which were officially blamed on communist forces.
On 24 October 1990 Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti told the Italian Parliament that NATO had long held a covert policy of training partisans in the event of a Soviet Invasion of Western Europe.<ref name = "ed"> Template:Cite journal</ref><ref name = "felix"> Template:Cite journal</ref><ref name = "gladio"> Template:Cite journal</ref> Spurred by the difficulties in setting up partisan organisation in occupied Europe during the Second World War, the CIA, British MI6 and NATO trained and armed partisan groups in NATO states to fight a guerrilla war if they were conquered in the event of a Warsaw Pact Invasion.
It has been alleged that these groups and the individuals in them were responsible for the strategy of tension in Italy which aimed at impeding the "historic compromise" between the Christian Democracy and the Italian Communist Party (PCI) (including the 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing and the Bologna massacre (1980))<ref name = "translate"> Template:Cite web(Italian) </ref><ref name = "mt"> Template:Cite journal</ref><ref name="Ganser"/> political assassinations in Belgium,<ref> Hans Depraetere and Jenny Dierickx, "La Guerre froide en Belgique" ("Cold War in Belgium") (EPO-Dossier, Anvers, 1986) (French) </ref> military coups in Greece (1967) and Turkey (1980)<ref name="Our boys"> Selahattin Celik, Türkische Konterguerilla. Die Todesmaschinerie (Köln: Mesopotamien Verlag, 1999; see also Olüm Makinasi Türk Kontrgerillasi, 1995), quoting Cuneyit Arcayurek, Coups and the Secret Services, p.190 </ref> and an attempted coup in France (1961).<ref>Pierre Abramovici and Gabriel Périès, La Grande Manipulation, éd. Hachette, 2006</ref> The supposed aim of this group was to prevent Communist movements in Western Europe from gaining power. Some researchers have said that the true aim was to increase the power and control of the United States over Europe.<ref name="Ganser"/><ref name = "tim"> Template:Cite journal</ref><ref name = "arthur"> Template:Cite journal</ref><ref name="Ganser"/>
In 2000, a report from the Italian Left Democrat party, "Gruppo Democratici di Sinistra l'Ulivo", concluded that the strategy of tension had been supported by the United States to "stop the PCI (Communist Party), and to a certain degree also the PSI, from reaching executive power in the country". A report, stated that "Those massacres, those bombs, those military actions had been organised or promoted or supported by men inside Italian state institutions and, as has been discovered more recently, by men linked to the structures of United States intelligence."<ref name = "anti"> Template:Cite journal</ref><ref name = "obit"> Template:Cite journal</ref>
On 5 November 1990 NATO's spokesman denied any knowledge or involvement with Gladio<ref name="European">The European, Nov 9th 1990, quoted by Ganser, p25</ref> and has since refused to comment.<ref name="Ganser"/> The US State Department has admitted the existence of Gladio, but denied it has been involved in terrorism.<ref name="usinfo"/>
 Post-Cold War
The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 removed the de facto main adversary of NATO. This caused a strategic re-evalution of NATO's purpose, nature and tasks. In practice this ended up entailing a gradual (and still ongoing) expansion of NATO to Eastern Europe, as well as the extension of its activities to areas that had not formerly been NATO concerns. The first post-Cold War expansion of NATO came with the reunification of Germany on 3 October 1990, when the former East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany and the alliance. This had been agreed in the Two Plus Four Treaty earlier in the year. To secure Soviet approval of a united Germany remaining in NATO, it was agreed that foreign troops and nuclear weapons would not be stationed in the east, and also that NATO would never expand further east.<ref>Gorbachev's Lost Legacy by Stephen F. Cohen (link) The Nation, February 24, 2005</ref>
On 28 February 1994, NATO also took its first military action, shooting down four Bosnian Serb aircraft violating a UN-mandated no-fly zone over central Bosnia and Herzegovina. Operation Deny Flight, the no-fly-zone enforcement mission, had began a year before, on 12 April 1993, and was to continue until 20 December 1995. NATO air strikes that year helped bring the war in Bosnia to an end, resulting in the Dayton Agreement.
Between 1994 and 1997, wider forums for regional cooperation between NATO and its neighbours were set up, like the Partnership for Peace, the Mediterranean Dialogue initiative and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. On 8 July 1997, three former communist countries, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland, were invited to join NATO, which finally happened in 1999.
On 24 March 1999, NATO saw its first broad-scale military engagement in the Kosovo War, where it waged an 11-week bombing campaign against what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. A formal declaration of war never took place. Yugoslavia referred to the Kosovo War as military aggression, as being undeclared and contravening the UN Charter.<ref>In regards to the definition of aggression reached by consensus and approved by the United Nations General Assembly on 14 December 1974 as Resolution 3314 (XXIX): "Aggression is the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Charter of the UN."</ref> The conflict ended on 11 June 1999, when Yugoslavian leader Slobodan Milošević agreed to NATO’s demands by accepting UN resolution 1244. NATO then helped establish the KFOR, a NATO-led force under a United Nations mandate that operated the military mission in Kosovo.
Debate concerning NATO's role and the concerns of the wider international community continued throughout its expanded military activities: The United States opposed efforts to require the UN Security Council to approve NATO military strikes, such as the ongoing action against Yugoslavia, while France and other NATO countries claimed the alliance needed UN approval. American officials said that this would undermine the authority of the alliance, and they noted that Russia and China would have exercised their Security Council vetoes to block the strike on Yugoslavia. In April 1999, at the Washington summit, a German proposal that NATO adopt a no-first-use nuclear strategy was rejected.
 After the September 11 attacks
The expansion of the activities and geographical reach of NATO grew even further as an outcome of the September 11th attacks. These caused as a response the provisional invocation (on September 12) of the collective security of NATO's charter — Article 5 which states that any attack on a member state will be considered an attack against the entire group of members. The invocation was confirmed on 4 October 2001 when NATO determined that the attacks were indeed eligible under the terms of the North Atlantic Treaty.<ref>http://www.nato.int/docu/update/2001/1001/e1002a.htm</ref> The eight official actions taken by NATO in response to the attacks included the first two examples of military action taken in response to an invocation of Article 5: Operation Eagle Assist and Operation Active Endeavour.
Despite this early show of solidarity, NATO faced a crisis little more than a year later, when on 10 February 2003, France and Belgium vetoed the procedure of silent approval concerning the timing of protective measures for Turkey in case of a possible war with Iraq. Germany did not use its right to break the procedure but said it supported the veto.
On the issue of Afghanistan on the other hand, the alliance showed greater unity: On 16 April 2003 NATO agreed to take command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The decision came at the request of Germany and the Netherlands, the two nations leading ISAF at the time of the agreement, and all 19 NATO ambassadors approved it unanimously. The handover of control to NATO took place on 11 August, and marked the first time in NATO’s history that it took charge of a mission outside the north Atlantic area. Canada had originally been slated to take over ISAF by itself on that date.
In January 2004, NATO appointed Minister Hikmet Çetin, of Turkey, as the Senior Civilian Representative (SCR) in Afghanistan. Minister Cetin is primarily responsible for advancing the political-military aspects of the Alliance in Afghanistan.
On 31 July 2006, a NATO-led force, made up mostly of troops from Great Britain, Canada, Turkey and the Netherlands, took over military operations in the south of Afghanistan from a U.S.-led anti-terrorism coalition.
 Expansion and restructuring
New NATO structures were also formed while old ones were abolished: The NATO Response Force (NRF) was launched at the 2002 Prague Summit on 21 November. On 19 June 2003, a major restructuring of the NATO military commands began as the Headquarters of the Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic were abolished and a new command, Allied Command Transformation (ACT), was established in Norfolk, Virginia, USA, and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) became the Headquarters of Allied Command Operations (ACO). ACT is responsible for driving transformation (future capabilities) in NATO, whilst ACO is responsible for current operations.
Membership went on expanding with the accession of seven more Northern European and Eastern European countries to NATO: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (see Baltic Air Policing) and also Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania. They were first invited to start talks of membership during the 2002 Prague Summit, and joined NATO on 29 March 2004.
From the Russian point of view, NATO's eastward expansion since the end of the cold war has been in clear breach of an agreement between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US President George H.W. Bush which allowed for a peaceful unification of Germany. NATO's expansion policy is seen as a continuation of a Cold War attempt to surround and isolate Russia.<ref>NATO Seeking to Weaken CIS by Expansion — Russian General (link) MosNews 01.12.2005</ref><ref>Ukraine moves closer to NATO membership By Taras Kuzio (Link) Jamestown Foundation</ref><ref>Global Realignment </ref><ref>Condoleezza Rice wants Russia to acknowledge USA's interests on post-Soviet space (Link) Pravda 04.05.2006</ref>
- Main article: ISAF
- Founding members (April 4 1949)
- Image:Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Belgium
- Image:Flag of Canada.svg Canada
- Image:Flag of Denmark.svg Denmark
- Image:Flag of France.svg France<ref name="fn_1">France withdrew from the integrated military command in 1966. From then until 1993 it had remained solely a member of NATO's political structure.</ref>
- Image:Flag of Iceland.svg Iceland<ref name="fn_2">Iceland, the sole NATO member that does not have its own military force (the Iceland Defense Force being the US Military contingent was stationed in Iceland, withdrawn September 2006), joined on the condition that they would not be expected to establish one. It has recently however provided troops, trained in Norway, for NATO peacekeeping.</ref>
- Image:Flag of Italy.svg Italy
- Image:Flag of Luxembourg.svg Luxembourg
- Image:Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands
- Image:Flag of Norway.svg Norway
- Image:Flag of Portugal.svg Portugal
- Image:Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
- Image:Flag of the United States.svg United States
- Countries that joined after the initial foundation
- Image:Flag of Greece.svg Greece (18 February 1952)<ref name="fn_3">Greece withdrew its forces from NATO’s military command structure from 1974 to 1980 as a result of Greco-Turkish tensions following the 1974 Cyprus dispute.</ref>
- Image:Flag of Turkey.svg Turkey (18 February 1952)
- Image:Flag of Germany.svg Germany (9 May 1955 as West Germany; Saarland reunited with it in 1957 and the territory of the former German Democratic Republic reunited with it on 3 October 1990)
- Image:Flag of Spain.svg Spain (30 May 1982)
- Former Eastern Bloc states that joined after the Cold War
- Image:Flag of the Czech Republic (bordered).svg Czech Republic
- Image:Flag of Hungary.svg Hungary
- Image:Flag of Poland (bordered).svg Poland
- Image:Flag of Bulgaria (bordered).svg Bulgaria
- Image:Flag of Estonia.svg Estonia
- Image:Flag of Latvia.svg Latvia
- Image:Flag of Lithuania.svg Lithuania
- Image:Flag of Romania.svg Romania
- Image:Flag of Slovakia.svg Slovakia
- Image:Flag of Slovenia.svg Slovenia
 Possible NATO expansion
For the further expansion of NATO, a mechanism called MAP or Membership Action Plan was approved in the Washington Summit of 1999. Participation in MAP for a country entails the annual presentation of reports concerning its progress on five different fields:
- Political and economic: Countries must demonstrate a willingness to settle international, ethnic or external territorial disputes by peaceful means as well as a commitment to the rule of law and human rights. Democratic control of their armed forces must be established.
- Defence and military: This chapter focuses on the ability of the country to contribute to the Alliance's defence and missions.
- Resources: This concerns the need for candidate countries to allocate enough resources to their armed forces to be able to meet the commitments of membership.
- Security: Concerning the security of sensitive information, and safeguards ensuring it.
- Legal issues: Ensuring the compatibility of domestic legislation with NATO cooperation.
NATO provides feedback as well as technical advice to each of the countries and evaluates their progress on an individual basis.<ref>http://www.nato.int/issues/map/index.html</ref>
|Country||PfP||IPAP|| NATO membership|
declared a goal
|Albania||February 1994||-||Image:Yes check.svg Yes||-||April 1999||(2008)|
|Moldova||March 1994||May 2006||?||-||-||-|
|Ukraine||February 1994||-||Image:Yes check.svg Yes||April 2005||-||-|
|Georgia||March 1994||October 2004||Image:Yes check.svg Yes||September 2006||(2006)||(2008)|
|Azerbaijan||May 1994||May 2005||?||-||-||-|
|Finland||May 1994||-||Image:X mark.svg No||-||-||-|
|Sweden||May 1994||-||Image:X mark.svg No||-||-||-|
|Turkmenistan||May 1994||-||Image:X mark.svg No||-||-||-|
|Kazakhstan||May 1994||January 2006||Image:X mark.svg No||-||-||-|
|Kyrgystan||June 1994||-||Image:X mark.svg No||-||-||-|
|Russia||June 1994||-||Image:X mark.svg No||-||-||-|
|Uzbekistan||July 1994||-||Image:X mark.svg No||-||-||-|
|Armenia||October 1994||December 2005||?||-||-||-|
|Belarus||January 1995||-||Image:X mark.svg No||-||-||-|
|Austria||February 1995||-||Image:X mark.svg No||-||-||-|
|Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia||November 1995||-||Image:Yes check.svg Yes||-||April 1999||(2008)|
|Switzerland||December 1996||-||Image:X mark.svg No||-||-||-|
|Ireland||December 1999||-||Image:X mark.svg No||-||-||-|
|Croatia||May 2000||-||Image:Yes check.svg Yes||-||May 2002||(2008)|
|Tajikistan||February 2002||-||Image:X mark.svg No||-||-||-|
|PfP aspirant states|
|Montenegro||(2006)||-||Image:Yes check.svg Yes||-||(2007)||(2008)|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||November 2006||-||Image:Yes check.svg Yes||-||-||-|
|Serbia||November 2006||-||Image:Yes check.svg Yes||-||(2007)||(2008)|
|Cyprus|| depending on resolution|
of the Cyprus dispute
|-||Image:X mark.svg No||-||-||-|
(brackets) - expected date
Currently MAPs are in implementation with the following countries:
- Image:Flag of Albania.svg Albania
- Image:Flag of Croatia.svg Croatia
- Image:Flag of Macedonia.svg Republic of Macedonia
- Image:Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg Bosnia and Herzegovina has joined Partnership for Peace on November 29th, 2006.<ref>http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-11-29-voa36.cfm</ref>
- Image:Flag of Montenegro.svg Montenegro has joined Partnership for Peace on November 29th, 2006.<ref>http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-11-29-voa36.cfm</ref>
- Image:Flag of Serbia (state) (bordered).svg Serbia has joined Partnership for Peace on November 29th, 2006.<ref>http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-11-29-voa36.cfm</ref>
- Image:Flag of Georgia (bordered).svg Georgia (currently implementing IPAP). On 21 September 2006, NATO members voted to admit Georgia into the process of "Intensified Dialogue", which is the first step into the membership of NATO.<ref>http://civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=13613</ref>
Defence Minister of Ukraine Anatoliy Hrytsenko declared that Ukraine would have an Action Plan on NATO membership by the end of March 2006, to begin implementation by September 2006. A final decision concerning Ukraine's membership in NATO is expected to be made in 2008, with full membership possible by 2010.<ref>http://en.for-ua.com/news/2006/03/20/114232.html</ref>
The idea of Ukrainian membership in NATO has gained support from a number of NATO leaders, including President Traian Băsescu of Romania<ref>http://www.sofiaecho.com/article/bulgarias-capital-to-host-nato-talks/id_14114/catid_66</ref> and president Ivan Gašparovič of Slovakia.<ref>http://www.slovakspectator.sk/clanok.asp?cl=22855</ref> The Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Alexander Grushko, announced however that NATO membership for Ukraine was not in Russia's best interests and wouldn't help the relations of the two countries.<ref>http://www.interfax.kiev.ua/eng/go.cgi?31,20060424001</ref>
Currently a majority of Ukrainian citizens oppose NATO membership. Protests have taken place by opposition blocs against the idea, and petitions signed urging the end of relations with NATO. Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov has indicated Ukraine will not enter NATO as long as the public continues opposing the move.<ref>http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=4735634&PageNum=0</ref> Plans for membership were shelved on 14 September 2006 due to the overwhelming disapproval of NATO membership.<ref>http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/europe/09/14/ukraine.nato.reut/index.html?section=cnn_world</ref>
Finland is participating in nearly all sub-areas of the Partnership for Peace programme, and has provided peacekeeping forces to the Afghanistan and Kosovo missions. The possibility of Finland's membership in NATO was one of the most major issues debated in relation to the Finnish presidential election of 2006.
The main contester of the presidency, Sauli Niinistö of the National Coalition Party, supported Finland joining a "more European" NATO. Fellow right-winger Henrik Lax of the Swedish People's Party likewise supported the concept. On the other side, incumbent president Tarja Halonen of the Social Democratic Party opposed changing the status quo, as did most other candidates in the election. Her victory and re-election to the post of president has currently put the issue of a NATO membership for Finland on hold for at least the duration of her term.
Other political figures of Finland who have weighed in with opinions include former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari who has argued that Finland should join all the organisations supported by other Western democracies in order "to shrug off once and for all the burden of Finlandisation".<ref>Helsingin Sanomat: Former President Ahtisaari: NATO membership would put an end to Finlandisation murmurs</ref> Another former president, Mauno Koivisto, opposes the idea, arguing that NATO membership would ruin Finland's relations with Russia.<ref>Helsingin Sanomat: Finland, NATO, and Russia</ref>
Polls in Finland indicate that the public is strongly against NATO membership.<ref>Helsingin Sanomat: Clear majority of Finns still opposed to NATO membership</ref>
 Cooperation with non-member states
 Euro-Atlantic Partnership
A double framework has been established to help further co-operation between the 26 NATO members and 20 "partner countries".
- The Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme was established in 1994 and is based on individual bilateral relations between each partner country and NATO: each country may choose the extent of its participation. The PfP programme is considered the operational wing of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership.<ref>http://www.nato.int/issues/pfp/index.html http://www.nato.int/pfp/sig-date.html</ref>
- The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) on the other hand was first established on 29 May 1997, and is a forum for regular co-ordination, consultation and dialogue between all 46 participants.<ref>http://www.nato.int/issues/eapc/index.html</ref>
The 20 partner countries are the following:
- Image:Flag of Malta (bordered).svg Malta joined PfP in 1994, but its new government withdrew in 1996. Because of this Malta is not participating in ESPD activities that use NATO assets and information.
- Image:Flag of Cyprus.svg Cyprus's admission to PfP is resisted by Turkey, because of the Northern Cyprus issue. Because of this Cyprus is not participating in ESPD activities that use NATO assets and information.
 Individual Partnership Action Plans
Launched at the November 2002 Prague Summit, Individual Partnership Action Plans (IPAPs) are open to countries that have the political will and ability to deepen their relationship with NATO.<ref>http://www.nato.int/issues/ipap/index.html</ref>
Currently IPAPs are in implementation with the following countries:
- Image:Flag of Georgia (bordered).svg Georgia (19 May 2006)
- Image:Flag of Azerbaijan.svg Azerbaijan (27 May 2005)
- Image:Flag of Armenia.svg Armenia (16 December 2005)
- Image:Flag of Kazakhstan.svg Kazakhstan (31 January 2006)
- Image:Flag of Moldova.svg Moldova (19 May 2006)
 Intensified Dialogue
Intensified Dialogue with NATO is viewed as a stage before being invited to enter the alliance Membership Action Plan (MAP), while the latter should eventually lead to NATO membership.
Countries currently engaged in an Intensified Dialogue with NATO:
- Image:Flag of Ukraine.svg Ukraine (21 April 2005)
- Image:Flag of Georgia (bordered).svg Georgia (21 September 2006)
 Mediterranean Dialogue
- Image:Flag of Algeria.svg Algeria
- Image:Flag of Egypt.svg Egypt
- Image:Flag of Israel (bordered).svg Israel
- Image:Flag of Jordan.svg Jordan
- Image:Flag of Mauritania.svg Mauritania
- Image:Flag of Morocco.svg Morocco
- Image:Flag of Tunisia.svg Tunisia
 NATO-Russian Federation Council
NATO and Russian Federation made a reciprocal commitment in 1997 "to work together to build a stable, secure and undivided continent on the basis of partnership and common interest."
In May 2002, this commitment was strengthened with the establishment of the NATO-Russia Council, which brings together the NATO members and Russia. The purpose of this council is to identify and pursue opportunities for joint action with the 27 participants as equal partners.
 Other partners
In April 2005, Australia signed a security agreement with NATO on enhancing intelligence co-operation in the fight against terrorism. Australia also posted a defence attache to NATO's headquarters.<ref>http://english.people.com.cn/200504/02/eng20050402_179138.html</ref> Cooperation with Japan, El Salvador, South Korea and New Zealand was also announced as priority.<ref>http://www.nato.int/docu/speech/2006/s060427d.htm</ref> Israel is currently a Mediterranean Dialogue country and has been recently seeking to expand its relationship with NATO. The first visit by a head of NATO to Israel occurred on 23 February - 24 February 2005<ref>http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=12960</ref> and the first joint Israel-NATO naval exercise occurred on 27 March 2005.<ref>http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Society_&_Culture/nato032705.html</ref> In May of the same year Israel was admitted to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Israeli troops also took part in NATO exercises in June 2005.
There have been advocates for the NATO membership of Israel, amongst them the former Prime Minister of Spain José María Aznar and Italian Defence Minister Antonio Martino. However Secretary-General of the organisation Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has dismissed such calls, saying that membership for Israel is not on the table. Martino himself said that a membership process could only come after an Israeli request; such a request has not taken place.<ref>http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=1525103&C=europe</ref>
Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom stated in February 2005 that his country was looking to upgrade its relationship with NATO from a dialogue to a partnership, but that it was not seeking membership, saying that "NATO members are committed to mutual defence and we don't think we are in a position where we can intervene in other struggles in the world," and also that "We don't see that NATO should get engaged in our conflict here in the Middle East."<ref>http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=12960</ref>
The issue of Israel's potential membership again came to the forefront in early 2006 after heightened tensions between Israel and Iran. Former Prime Minister of Spain José María Aznar argued that Israel should become a member of the organisation alongside Japan and Australia, saying that "So far, expansion of NATO was an attempt at the growth and consolidation of democratic change in the former communist countries. Now it is time to do the opposite, to expand toward those democratic nations that are committed to the struggle against our common enemy and ready to contribute to the common effort to free ourselves from it."<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref>
 Political structure
Like any alliance, NATO is ultimately governed by its 26 member states. However, the North Atlantic Treaty, and other agreements, outline how decisions are to be made within NATO. Each of the 26 members sends a delegation or mission to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The senior permanent member of each delegation is known as the Permanent Representative and is generally a senior civil servant or an experienced ambassador (and holding that diplomatic rank).
Together the Permanent Members form the North Atlantic Council (NAC), a body which meets together at least once a week and has effective political authority and powers of decision in NATO. From time to time the Council also meets at higher levels involving Foreign Ministers, Defence Ministers or Heads of Government and it is at these meetings that major decisions regarding NATO’s policies are generally taken. However, it is worth noting that the Council has the same authority and powers of decision-making, and its decisions have the same status and validity, at whatever level it meets.
The meetings of the North Atlantic Council are chaired by the Secretary General of NATO and, when decisions have to be made, action is agreed upon on the basis of unanimity and common accord. There is no voting or decision by majority. Each nation represented at the Council table or on any of its subordinate committees retains complete sovereignty and responsibility for its own decisions.
The second pivotal member of each country's delegation is the Military Representative, a senior officer from each country's armed forces. Together the Military Representatives form the Military Committee, a body responsible for recommending to NATO’s political authorities those measures considered necessary for the common defence of the NATO area. Its principal role is to provide direction and advice on military policy and strategy. It provides guidance on military matters to the NATO Strategic Commanders, whose representatives attend its meetings, and is responsible for the overall conduct of the military affairs of the Alliance under the authority of the Council. Like the council, from time to time the Military Committee also meets at a higher level, namely at the level of Chiefs of defence, the most senior military officer in each nation's armed forces.
The NATO Parliamentary Assembly is made up of legislators from the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance as well as 13 associate members.<ref>http://www.nato-pa.int/Default.asp?SHORTCUT=1</ref>
 Military structure
NATO’s military operations are directed by two Strategic Commanders, both senior U.S. officers assisted by a staff drawn from across NATO. The Strategic Commanders are responsible to the Military Committee for the overall direction and conduct of all Alliance military matters within their areas of command.
Before 2003 the Strategic Commanders were the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT) but the current arrangement is to separate command responsibility between Allied Command Transformation (ACT), responsible for transformation and training of NATO forces, and Allied Command Operations, responsible for NATO operations world wide.
The commander of Allied Command Operations retained the title "Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR)", and is based in the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) located at Casteau, north of the Belgian city of Mons. This is about 80 km (50 miles) south of NATO’s political headquarters in Brussels. Allied Command Transformation (ACT) is based in the former Allied Command Atlantic headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, USA.
 List of officials
|1||Sergio Balanzino||Image:Flag of Italy.svg Italy||1994 – 2001|
|2||Alessandro Minuto Rizzo||Image:Flag of Italy.svg Italy||2001 – present|
 Research and Technology (R&T) at NATO
NATO currently possesses three Research and Technology (R&T) organisations:
- NATO Undersea Research Centre (NURC),<ref>http://www.nurc.nato.int</ref> reporting directly to the Supreme Allied Command Transformation;
- Research and Technology Agency (RTA),<ref>http://www.rta.nato.int</ref> reporting to the Research and Technology Organisation (RTO);
- NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency (NC3A),<ref>http://www.nc3a.nato.int</ref> reporting to the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Organisation (NC3O).
 List of NATO operations
- Operation Sharp Guard (June 1993 - October 1996)
- Operation Deliberate Force ( August - September 1995)
- Operation Joint Endeavour (December 1995)
- Operation Allied Force (March - June 1999)
- Operation Essential Harvest (August - September 2001)
 Further reading
- Les Howard, Winter Warriors - Across Bosnia with the PBI 1995/1996. The Book Guild, 2006, ISBN: 1 –84624-077-8
- Asmus, Ronald D. Opening NATO's Door: How the Alliance Remade Itself for a New Era Columbia U. Press, 2002. 372 pp.
- Bacevich, Andrew J. and Cohen, Eliot A. War over Kosovo: Politics and Strategy in a Global Age. Columbia U. Press, 2002. 223 pp.
- Eisenhower, Dwight D. The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower. Vols. 12 and 13: NATO and the Campaign of 1952 : Louis Galambos et al., ed. Johns Hopkins U. Press, 1989. 1707 pp. in 2 vol.
- Ganser, Daniele Natos Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe, ISBN 0-7146-5607-0
- Gearson, John and Schake, Kori, ed. The Berlin Wall Crisis: Perspectives on Cold War Alliances Palgrave Macmillan, 2002. 209 pp.
- Gheciu, Alexandra. NATO in the 'New Europe' Stanford University Press, 2005. 345 pp.
- Hendrickson, Ryan C. Diplomacy and War at NATO: The Secretary General and Military Action After the Cold War Univ. of Missouri Press, 2006. 175 pp.
- Hunter, Robert. "The European Security and Defense Policy: NATO's Companion - Or Competitor?" RAND National Security Research Division, 2002. 206 pp.
- Jordan, Robert S. Norstad: Cold War NATO Supreme Commander - Airman, Strategist, Diplomat St. Martin's Press, 2000. 350 pp.
- Kaplan, Lawrence S. The Long Entanglement: NATO's First Fifty Years. Praeger, 1999. 262 pp.
- Kaplan, Lawrence S. NATO Divided, NATO United: The Evolution of an Alliance. Praeger, 2004. 165 pp.
- Kaplan, Lawrence S., ed. American Historians and the Atlantic Alliance. Kent State U. Press, 1991. 192 pp.
- Lambeth, Benjamin S. NATO's Air War in Kosovo: A Strategic and Operational Assessment Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND, 2001. 250 pp.
- Létourneau, Paul. Le Canada et l'OTAN après 40 ans, 1949-1989 Quebec: Cen. Québécois de Relations Int., 1992. 217 pp.
- Maloney, Sean M. Securing Command of the Sea: NATO Naval Planning, 1948-1954. Naval Institute Press, 1995. 276 pp.
- John C. Milloy. North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 1948-1957: Community or Alliance? (2006), focus on non-military issues
- Powaski, Ronald E. The Entangling Alliance: The United States and European Security, 1950-1993. Greenwood, 1994. 261 pp.
- Ruane, Kevin. The Rise and Fall of the European Defense Community: Anglo-American Relations and the Crisis of European Defense, 1950-55 Palgrave, 2000. 252 pp.
- Sandler, Todd and Hartley, Keith. The Political Economy of NATO: Past, Present, and into the 21st Century. Cambridge U. Press, 1999. 292 pp.
- Smith, Jean Edward, and Canby, Steven L.The Evolution of NATO with Four Plausible Threat Scenarios. Canada Department of Defense: Ottawa, 1987. 117 pp.
- Smith, Joseph, ed. The Origins of NATO Exeter, UK U. of Exeter Press, 1990. 173 pp.
- Telo, António José. Portugal e a NATO: O Reencontro da Tradiçoa Atlântica Lisbon: Cosmos, 1996. 374 pp.
- Zorgbibe, Charles. Histoire de l'OTAN Brussels: Complexe, 2002. 283 pp.
 Notes and references
 See also
- Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of 1373, the oldest existing defensive treaty, now between two NATO members (see also Anglo-Portuguese Alliance)
- Atlantic Council
- Collective Security Treaty Organization
- Shanghai Cooperation Organization
- Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration
- Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council
- Headquarters Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps
- NATO Medal
- NATO phonetic alphabet
- NATO Response Force
- NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency
- Non-Aligned Movement
- Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe
- Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty
- Partnership for Peace
- Silence procedure
- Warsaw pact
- Ranks and insignia of NATO
- Ranks and insignia of NATO Armies Officers
- Ranks and insignia of NATO Armies Enlisted
- Ranks and insignia of NATO Air Forces Officers
- Ranks and insignia of NATO Air Forces Enlisted
- Ranks and insignia of NATO Navies Officers
- Ranks and insignia of NATO Navies Enlisted
- List of NATO country codes
 External links
- History of NATO – the Atlantic Alliance - UK Government site
- Basic NATO Documents
- 'NATO force 'feeds Kosovo sex trade' (The Guardian)
- NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA) Official Website
- NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency (NC3A) Official Website
- Joint Warfare Centre
- NATO Response Force Article
- NATO searches for defining role
- Official Article on NATO Response Force
- World Map of NATO Member Countries
- Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports regarding NATO
- Balkan Anti NATO Center, Greece
- NATO Defense College
- Atlantic Council of the United States
- CBC Digital Archives - One for all: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization
- NATO at Fifty: New Challenges, Future Uncertainties U.S. Institute of Peace Report, March 1999
- NATO at 50
- Ukraine shelves bid to join NATO
- Operation Deny Flight fact sheet