-Galla S Kiran Kumar,Bureau Chief Telagana (Andhra Pradesh)
Finland, which has no territorial disputes with Russia, recently joined NATO as the 31st member country. What is NATO in this context? Find out how its existence began.
The name of Nato has been heard prominently in recent times due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (Russia-ukraine). The real reason for the war was Ukraine’s interest in joining NATO. As the war continued, Russia’s border country, Finland, became a member of NATO. Another country Sweden is waiting for membership. Analysts predict that Finland, a key country in the European Union, joining the NATO military alliance will be a setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin. It has 1,340 km to Finland with Russia. The reason is to have a boundary. Now that this border is accessible to NATO, it will become a major challenge for Russia’s security.
How was NATO formed?
After World War II (1939-45), Soviet troops refused to withdraw from much of Eastern Europe. Berlin was completely surrounded in 1948. With this, 12 countries decided to form an alliance to stop the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, many war-torn European countries are struggling to sustain themselves economically and in terms of security. They require huge funds to establish industries and increase food production. In this context, the United States took steps to strengthen Europe and prevent the spread of communist rule. In 1948, America formulated the Marshall Plan. As proposed by Secretary George Marshall, huge financial assistance was provided. This action strengthened the bond between America and some countries in Europe. On the other hand, the Soviet Union strongly opposed this aid. It issued orders to the countries under its control in Eastern Europe not to take this aid. This action caused the division of Eastern and Western Europe. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed in 1949 at the initiative of the United States to provide collective security to Western European countries from the Soviet Union. Its headquarters are in Brussels, the capital of Belgium. Since then it has been protecting the freedom and security of its member states through political and military means.
All the member countries..
Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, UK and US joined NATO as member countries. Later Greece, Turkey, West Germany (Germany since 1990), Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Spain joined hands. . France withdrew from the Integrated Military Command in 1966 while remaining a member. In 2009, it became a full-fledged part again. Finland recently joined NATO. All these countries collectively share security responsibilities. An attack on one NATO member is considered an attack on all members. All together they lash out at the aggressor.
After the formation of NATO, separate departments were formed to look after administrative affairs and military affairs. The North Atlantic Council and the Nuclear Planning Group were formed with NATO representatives. As per the suggestion of the Council, ‘Supreme Allied Commander Europe’ was established. It is the second highest military post in NATO. It will be led by the American. European will continue as Secretary General. The representatives of the member countries of the North Atlantic Council are members of the cabinet. All of them must meet twice a year. At other times permanent meetings are held at ambassadorial level presided over by the NATO Secretary General.
The Military Affairs Committee consists of the top military officers of the member states. It also has two sections. One is Allied Command Operations (ACO) and the other is Allied Command Transformation (ACT). ‘ACO’ will be chaired by ‘Supreme Allied Commander Europe’. It will be at the ‘Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAP)’ in Belgium.
Enormous military power
NATO has enormous military power. The total number of soldiers is 33 lakhs. 8 lakh of them are active forces. There are up to 13 lakh American soldiers in this. NATO’s 30 member states spent $1,174 billion on their military in 2021. In 2020, this budget is 1,106 billion dollars. About 40,000 NATO soldiers are always ready to fight.
Russia’s ‘Warsaw Pact’
In 1950, NATO agreed to admit West Germany as a member through the Paris Agreement. This move did not go down well with the Soviet Union. With that, it formed the ‘Warsaw Pact’ alliance with Central and Eastern European countries. It is officially called the ‘Warsaw Treaty of Friendship’. Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland and Romania joined as member countries. Albania left in 1968 and East Germany in 1990. By 1989, democratic revolutions were gaining momentum in Eastern Europe. By July 1, 1991, the reign of Warsaw ended. The Soviet Union collapsed on December 26 of the same year. A total of 15 new countries emerged. Ukraine is one of them. Some countries started acting independently. Others joined NATO at the instigation of America. Since then, Russia has been isolated.
Any program undertaken by NATO would be an embarrassment to Russia. In particular, Russia does not accept NATO’s eastward expansion. Adding their border countries to NATO is also increasing the hostility between Russia and NATO. Some of the important events that happened between NATO-Russia are..
- In 1994, Russia joined hands with NATO in the peace-building program.
- In 2002, the Russia-NATO Council was formed. It was set up to resolve security challenges and other project disputes.
- After Russia’s occupation of Crimea in 2014, NATO denied Russia further cooperation. However, the Russia-NATO Council was not cancelled.
- In 2021, 8 Russian diplomats were expelled from Brussels.
- Russia’s escalating efforts to have Ukraine join NATO in 2022 have angered Russia. Russia declared war on Ukraine.