Interested in containing an eventual Soviet threat, the USA and its allies entered into a series of political-military alliances aimed at strengthening and unifying the Armed Forces of anti-communist nations, both in Western Europe and in other regions of the world.
The first and most famous of which is the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization – NATO, in English defined by Abbreviationfinder), established in 1949 and whose founding members were the US, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, United Kingdom, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway and Portugal. In 1952, Greece and Turkey – despite their reciprocal antagonisms – joined the organization. In 1955, causing panic in the USSR – always fearful of German expansionism – NATO incorporated the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), which was beginning its rearmament. In 1982, overcoming the “Francoism” stain, it was Spain’s turn. In 1999, for the first time, Eastern European countries were incorporated: Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
In Europe, there was a widespread expression that NATO meant: USA “inside”, USSR “outside” and Germany “under”. This, in practice, would imply an American military presence in Europe, acting as its “nuclear umbrella”, containing an eventual Soviet threat and disciplining German rearmament.
We can say that NATO was able to materialize its objectives: it helped to stop possible Soviet aggressions and incorporated Germany into the Western defense system.
In precise terms, NATO has maintained European security under American tutelage, unifying European weapons systems and strategies.
In the 1960s, France created its own nuclear force, disconnected from NATO, establishing a special connection with the “Atlantic alliance”, as it participated in the political decisions of the organization, having relative military autonomy.
Today, after the collapse of the socialist bloc, NATO is experiencing an identity crisis about its effective role: with the loss of the “enemy”, what would be its function?
According to petsinclude, the United States, interested in maintaining its presence in Europe, seeks to transform NATO into a European security body. Hence, the proposal for a “partnership for peace”, a policy of American President Bill Clinton, aiming to incorporate into the “Atlantic alliance” nations of Eastern Europe, former members of the Warsaw Pact .
However, some European nations would like to create a security body without the presence of the USA. Hence the OSCE (Organization for European Security and Cooperation) and the OUE (Organization of European Unity), in charge of EUROCORPS, the European army.
The USA, aiming to demonstrate the need for its presence in Europe through NATO and taking advantage of European impotence and hesitation in the face of the Balkan wars, promoted the DAYTON (1995) agreements, which momentarily resolved the conflicts in Bosnia and carried out the air campaign over Kosovo, under the pretext of safeguarding the Albanian minority.
NATO’s initial objectives
- create an integrated command of the western armed forces (Western Europe, USA and Canada);
- standardize western nations’ weapons systems;
- as a result of a common defense, reduce the military spending of each member country, providing a greater expansion of investments in education, health, economic infrastructure and social security, enabling what has been called “the economic miracle” of the countries Europeans;
- provide Western Europe with North American protection in relation to defense, due to the better equipping of war by the USA and, at the same time, hamper the proliferation of nuclear weapons among European countries.
- The first of these occurred in 1966, when France, then governed by Charles de Gaulle, was averse to the American presence in Europe, developing its own nuclear artifacts. Paris refused to subordinate its arms structure to the entity’s control, even leaving its Military Committee, remaining as a nominal member of the Organization’s Council. As a result, NATO headquarters were moved from Paris to Brussels. Only with President Jacques Chirac did France fully integrate the entity again.
- The second occurred in 1989, when the USSR installed intermediate-range missiles in eastern Europe, which were able to reach the entire length of Western Europe. NATO responded by deploying rockets that could destroy Soviet bases in the nations of the then Warsaw Pact. This decision was the target of widespread opposition from European pacifist movements, notably the “green parties”.
- With the end of the “ Cold War” and the collapse of the USSR in 1991, NATO experienced a serious crisis of identity and purpose. After a period of uncertainty, the organization discovered a new role: European security body.
Current NATO objectives
- preserve human rights on the European continent;
- to bring together the countries of Eastern Europe, former members of the Warsaw Pact, in order to contain a future and eventual Russian expansionism;
- create “partnership for peace”, that is, integrate Russia as one of the axes of maintaining the European balance without, however, making her a member of the organization. Today, Russian diplomats and military personnel attend NATO meetings, without the right to bid or vote, playing the role of observers;
- ensure the American presence in Europe.