What the heck is NATO? What’s it about? What’s it for? Not many people bother to ask any more. As with many New World organizations originally created under the guise of a temporary measure or a situation-based project or specific goal-oriented institution (think IMF, think World Bank), this one too has far exceeded its supposed originally intended mission, its sphere of control and operation, its size and budget, and basically everything it was marketed under when it was established. Also, as with all these institutions long-past and long-exceeding their originally marketed role, people cease to question or even critically think of the actual purpose, performance and results of supporting, keeping and funding this costly new world military body called NATO.
So, what was the ‘supposed’ role of this gigantic hawk of imperials’ tool originally? Check all the ‘legitimate’ reference bodies of literature, and what you get is what was marketed and sold over six decades ago:
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949. The NATO headquarters are in Brussels, Belgium, and the organization constitutes a system of collective defense whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party.
For its first few years, NATO was not much more than a political association. However, theKorean War galvanized the member states, and an integrated military structure was built up under the direction of two U.S. supreme commanders. The first NATO Secretary General,Lord Ismay, famously stated the organization’s goal was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down”
After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the organization became drawn into the Breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s which resulted in NATO’s first military operations in Bosnia from 1991 to 1995 and later Yugoslavia in 1999.
The September 2001 attacks signaled the only occasion in NATO’s history that Article 5 of the North Atlantic treaty has been invoked and consequently the 11 September attacks were deemed to be an attack on all nineteen NATO members. After 11 September, troops were deployed to Afghanistan under the NATO-led ISAF and the organization continues to operate in a range of roles sending trainers to Iraq, assisting in counter-piracy operations and most recently enforced a NATO-led no-fly zone over Libya in 2011.
Okay, so after the fall of the Soviet Union the enemy went from Russia to the Serbs, and later, after 9/11, the enemy became Al Qaeda, aka terrorists, and went on to include ‘select’ dictators designated as ‘certain dictatorships.’ It went from defense to ethnic conflicts, from terrorism to reinterpreted and reinvented human rights causes.
How about the membership; the team? Well, right after the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. promised the Russians that they will not expand beyond Germany:
In May 2008, Gorbachev repeated his view that such a commitment had been made, and that “the Americans promised that NATO wouldn’t move beyond the boundaries of Germany after the Cold War”.That promise lasted for a few years, and then without designating Russia as the enemy extraordinaire, NATO expanded and added: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania. And a few years after Romania, NATO agreed to the accession of Croatia and Albania and invited them to join, and invited Ukraine and Georgia to become members. No one mentioned any specific threat or enemy. No one ‘really’ asked.
Lately NATO has been busy going after resource-rich nations in Central Asia and the Caucasus for its new round of membership acquisition: