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Definition: NATO

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) addresses the common security concerns of its 26 member countries from North America and Europe. Created in 1949, to combat the spread of communism in Europe, NATO has a defensive purpose. All decisions are made by consensus, meaning all countries must unanimously agree before NATO takes action. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO faced a bit of an identity crisis.

NATO's mission in Afghanistan marked the first time ever NATO took action outside of the Euro-Atlantic area. There are currently 50,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan, working toward security and stability. NATO had no part in the Iraq invasion, but since August 2004, it has been active in training Iraqi security forces. In Kosovo, NATO leads 15,000 international forces. Its UN-mandated presences, intended to maintain Kosovo's security, will be tested by Kosovo's recent declaration of independence and the Serbian response.

Since the end of the Cold War, former communist countries, as well as ex-republics of the Soviet Union have joined NATO. The swallowing of countries formerly under Russia's influence troubles Putin and may cause Russia to obstruct US policy going forward. Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security council, may make it difficult for the US to do what it wants with Iran, for example.

For some useful sources on NATO,


Join The Conversation
LibertySugar LibertySugar 9 years
Maybe some Russians prefer an authoritative state? Any Russians out there?
onabanana onabanana 9 years
Communism has never been what it was envisioned to be. What Russia was and is becoming is another bruttal dictatorship only this time with more neon lights.
chakra_healer chakra_healer 9 years
I agree, liberty! Communism is not an ideology that Putin has shown favor, rather he believes in strong concentrated powers. Right now Russia is a semi-authoritarian state and many Russians I have contact with seem to like his manner - strong man but not too public, kind of secretive. Something many are wary of when considering motive for his actions. I attended a discussion with a European scholar last year, very influenced by Habermas and generally a more optimistic thinker, but even he proposed that Russia and US are on the brink of another Cold War. Wow, I typed all that on my blackberry, yay!
LibertySugar LibertySugar 9 years
I doubt he wants to bring them back into communism, per se. Dictatorship? All signs point to yes. ;-)
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
I am with MMM and Shop!
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
Russia is just trying to use scare tactics and Putin is trying to bring Russia back into communism.
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
AMEN 3M! Or is it M3? ;) I guess I like M3 better.
mymellowman mymellowman 9 years
Well, Russia may have influence within NATO, but it does not mean it can stop the US from doing what is in it's best interest.
chakra_healer chakra_healer 9 years
Good informative post, Liberty! I am not sure how I feel about NATO or its relevance at this point. They definitely should diversify, but in what direction and to what end is the question? I do think the Afghani mission is a good first step towards a broader focus, tho.
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