The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an alliance of 28 member nations, headquartered in Belgium, that unites the members in a defense pact. A military attack on one of these nations is considered an attack against them all, and each country contributes to the defense. Today, the nations together account for 70 percent of defense spending worldwide.
NATO was formed on April 4, 1949, as a collective defense against a common enemy, the Soviet Union, which tried to expand its communist ideology using military might to central and east European countries after World War II. Major political events in Europe and the Balkans, including the coup d'etat in Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union in 1948, became the immediate reasons behind the formation of NATO.
Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, NATO worked to redefine its role and responsibilities in the years after the fall of the common enemy and with the changing political and economic interests of its member countries. NATO proved its mettle several times beginning with the in Bosnia's capital, Sarajevo, and later by joining the United States in its hunt for Osama bin Laden, parading the armed troops of its member countries in Afghanistan, and by deploying peacekeeping forces in conflict torn regions in and around Europe. Differences do exist between NATO member countries about the inclusion or exclusion of former Soviet Republics and about the role the organization should take in emerging political equations.
After the North Atlantic Treaty was signed on April 4, 1949, additional countries have joined NATO, bringing the total number of member countries to 28.
Current members of NATO include:
- Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Last Updated On : October 09, 2012