What is NATO and Its Background, History, Goals, Functions, Basic Points, Members; Russia and Ukraine's Relations with NATO

What Is NATO and How It Was Established? What Is the Background History of NATO? What Does NATO Do? NATO’s Basic Points, NATO’s Members and Relations with Russia and Ukraine… 

Flag of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or OTAN
Flag of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or OTAN
Table of Contents

What is NATO and When Was NATO Established?

Full form of NATO is The North Atlantic Treaty Organization. NATO is an intergovernmental military cooperation alliance of two countries in North America and 28 countries in Europe. Name of the French language: Organisation du traité de l’Atlantique nord (OTAN).

The pronunciation is very similar – Nei-Tho (United Kingdom) and Ne-Do (United States).

NATO was established in the aftermath of World War II, the organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty, signed April 4, 1949. The main purpose of establishing NATO was to ensure the security of West Berlin and Europe from the aggression of the Soviet Union.

NATO is formed under a joint security agreement under which allied countries are committed to providing mutual military assistance. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, NATO members took to the field to keep their promises, it was the first time. Every member state that is with NATO is determined to have its military ready to deal with any situation.

Background History: Why and How Was NATO formed?

Shortly after World War II, 10 European countries, including the United States and Canada, formed the Intergovernmental Military Cooperation Alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The main purpose of the military alliance NATO was to prevent the former Soviet Union.

One of the victors of World War II was the Soviet Union. Due to the end of the war, the Soviet Union had a large army throughout Eastern Europe. That is why the Soviet Union dominated a number of countries, including East Germany.

After the end of World War II, the victorious nations occupied the German capital Berlin. It was then that he went to Delha, where, in mid-1948, the then Prime Minister of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin, began a blockade against West Berlin; At that time, the West Berlin area was under the control of the then Allies, the United States, Britain and France. But the whole area was located in Soviet-controlled East Germany. Normally, tensions are expected to rise, but the kind of clashes that were feared have been avoided. But the crisis prompted a number of countries to unite in military cooperation to counter the Soviet power, which has helped build a political and military alliance.

On April 4, 1949, 12 countries in North America and 10 countries in Europe formed this political and military alliance. The 12 countries where NATO was founded are: United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, Norway, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Portugal, Iceland and Luxembourg.

NATO’s official language

NATO has two official languages. English and French are the two languages ​​that NATO has adopted as the official language. However, NATO takes the 20 major languages ​​spoken in Europe and North America very seriously.

NATO’s website provides content in 4 languages. The four official languages ​​are English and French and Ukrainian and Russian.

NATO headquarters

Initially, NATO’s headquarters were in London, but it was moved to Paris in 1952. It was then moved to the NATO headquarters in Brussels in 1986. More than 6,000 seminars and conferences are held annually at the current headquarters of NATO.

NATO expansion

After NATO was established in 1949, Turkey and Greece wanted to join in 1952, but the alliance was further expanded by making the two countries members. Then in 1955 West Germany was added (now: Germany).

NATO was able to add new members in 1982, at the end of 26 long years after joining West Germany. Spain became a member of NATO in 1982. For a long time after that no new members joined NATO.

Sixteen years later, since 1999, the organization has also been a member of the former Eastern Nation States. In 1999, three countries – the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined.

NATO had the largest membership in 2004 since its inception. In 2004, six countries were granted NATO membership. The countries that joined NATO in 2004 were Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Two countries – Albania and Croatia – became members in 2009 and Montenegro in 2016. Northern Macedonia became a member in 2020.

At present, there are 30 countries in the NATO alliance.

What are the conditions to become a member of NATO?

Membership is currently open to any European country if it agrees to NATO’s policy on security and co-operation. There is no special checklist in this case.

What does the North Atlantic mean?

The North Atlantic region refers to the regions on both sides of the northern part of the Atlantic continent; In this case, the imaginary line Tropic of Cancer is considered to be the southern boundary.

NATO stands on 4 basic points

The basic points that NATO has focused on are:

  1. Political and military alliance

  2. Collective defense

  3. The Transatlantic Link

  4. Strategic concepts

1. Political and military alliance

As NATO puts it, “Security is the key to our well-being in our daily lives.” The purpose of NATO is to ensure the independence and security of its members, both politically and militarily.


NATO solves the problem by promoting democratic values ​​and providing advice and assistance to member countries on defense and security issues. The organization is capable of preventing long-term conflicts by building mutual trust between member countries.


NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes between member countries. In this case, if diplomatic efforts fail, NATO will be forced to use military force to manage the crisis. This military power can be exercised by any one member state or other countries and the various international organizations concerned in accordance with Article 5 of the Washington Treaty or the United Nations Order establishing NATO.

2. Collective defense

An attack against one or more member countries is considered an attack against all members; NATO members are committed to this policy. This is the Joint Defense Policy, which is enshrined in Article 5 of the Washington Agreement. So far, the clause has only been applied once, in response to the 2001 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

3. The Transatlantic Link

NATO is an alliance of countries in Europe and North America. It helps countries to consult and cooperate in defense and security and to manage multinational crises together by establishing a unique link between the two continents.

In practice, NATO ensures that the security of European member states is inextricably linked to the security of North American countries.

4. Strategic concepts

The strategies that NATO is pursuing are: collective defense, crisis management and cooperative security. NATO writes a strategy paper once every ten years.

NATO’s activities

NATO mainly does 4 things, these are-

  1. Decisions and consultations

  2. Operations and missions

  3. Partnerships

  4. Developing the means to respond to threats

1. Decisions and consultations

Every day, NATO member states consult and decide on security issues at all levels. The decision taken in this way is called NATO decision. Hundreds of officials, civilian and military experts exchange information and ideas daily at the NATO headquarters, in collaboration with the national delegations and staff of the countries, with the staff at the NATO headquarters.

2. Operations and missions

NATO plays an active role in a wide range of crisis management operations and missions, including civilian emergency operations. Examples include cooperation in Afghanistan, Kosovo, the Mediterranean and the African Union.

3. Partnerships

NATO has relations with 40 non-NATO countries. Through this, NATO works on a wide range of political and security issues. These countries participate in various dialogues with NATO, as well as work in the field with the members of the alliance. However, the participating countries have virtually no role to play in any decision making. NATO cooperates extensively with other international organizations.

It is clear that NATO is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but its scope is global.

4. Developing the means to respond to threats

Since its inception, NATO has been involved in developing and implementing a variety of methods and strategies to ensure that its policies, powers and structures, including the joint defense of its members, deal with current and future threats.



Each member country has a permanent delegation at NATO’s political headquarters in Brussels. Each delegation is headed by an “ambassador”, who represents his/her government in the Alliance’s consultation and decision-making process.


The Nuclear Planning Group has the same authority as the North Atlantic Council with regard to nuclear policy issues.


The North Atlantic Council (NAC) is the principal political decision-making body at NATO. Each member country has a seat at the NAC.

It meets at least once a week or whenever the need arises, at different levels. It is chaired by the Secretary General who helps members reach agreement on key issues.


NATO has a network of committees to deal with all subjects on its agenda, from political to more technical issues. They bring national representatives and experts from all NATO member countries together on a regular basis.


NATO agencies and organisations play a vital role in procuring and sustaining capabilities collectively. They specialise in technical fields that complement and form an integral part of NATO’s agenda: procurement, support and communications and information.


The Secretary General is the Alliance’s top international civil servant. He/she is responsible for steering the process of consultation and decision-making within the Alliance and ensuring that decisions are implemented. The Secretary General is also NATO’s chief spokesperson and heads the Organisation’s International Staff, which provides advice, guidance and administrative support to the national delegations at NATO NATO Headquarters.


When the implementation of political decisions has military implications, the key actors involved are: the Military Committee, composed of the Chiefs of Defence of NATO member countries; the International Military Staff, the Military Committee’s executive body; and the military command structure, composed of Allied Command Operations and Allied Command Transformation.

NATO has very few permanent forces of its own. When the North Atlantic Council agrees to launch an operation, members contribute military forces on a voluntary basis. These forces then return to their countries once the mission is completed.

What is the future of NATO?

Apparently, the big countries of NATO do not want this organization to remain. The United States has said in a statement that it was “investing heavily in the net, but that this is not the case.”

France thinks that NATO is a useless organisation. The other 6 On the other hand, neither Turkey nor the like-minded countries care much about America.

Now in this case, the answer to the question of whether or not NATO will exist is that it will not last. But it is not certain when it will become extinct. The United States would never want to have a transatlantic link because there is no better way to deal with Europe and the European Union than with NATO. NATO is a major force for the United States and its allies in dealing with China as well as Russia.

When we are in 2022, we can say that NATO will not be closed.

In addition, the net-headed countries will not want to ruin the promise of getting closer to the non-member countries of different regions.

However, the opposite of what we assume often happens. It is really difficult to say how far NATO will go, how long NATO will last. Neither the President of the United States, nor the President of France, nor the Prime Minister of Canada have this information.

Russia-NATO Relations

Russia is not a NATO member. Relations between the NATO military alliance and the Russian Federation were established in 1991 within the framework of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council. In 1994, Russia joined the Partnership for Peace program, and since that time, NATO and Russia have signed several important agreements on cooperation.

The Russia–NATO Council was established in 2002 for handling security issues and joint projects. Cooperation between Russia and NATO now develops in several main sectors, including: fighting terrorism, military cooperation, cooperation on Afghanistan (including transportation by Russia of non-military International Security Assistance Force freight (see NATO logistics in the Afghan War), and fighting the local drug production), industrial cooperation, and weapons non-proliferation.

On 1 April 2014, NATO unanimously decided to suspend all practical cooperation with the Russian Federation in response to the Annexation of Crimea, but the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) was not suspended. On 18 February 2017, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov said he supported the resumption of military cooperation with the NATO alliance. In late March 2017, the Council met in advance of a NATO Foreign Ministers conference in Brussels, Belgium.

In October 2021, following an incident in which NATO expelled eight Russian officials from its Brussels headquarters, Russia suspended its mission to NATO and ordered the closure of NATO’s office in Moscow.

Ukraine and NATO: Why isn’t Ukraine a NATO member?

Nato originally offered Ukraine eventual membership back in 2008, and after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, Ukraine made joining Nato a priority. But this hasn’t happened, mainly because of Russia’s long-standing opposition to such a move. Russia fears Nato is encroaching on its territory by taking on new members in eastern Europe, and that admitting Ukraine would bring Nato forces into its backyard.

Ukraine’s President Zelensky has now accepted that his country cannot join Nato at present, saying: “It is clear that Ukraine is not a member of Nato. We understand this.”

The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the same point, saying, “There is no way Ukraine is going to join Nato any time soon”.

One of Russia’s demands before the invasion was that Ukraine should never be allowed to join— something the alliance had refused to support.

(This part is collected from BBC)

Ukraine-NATO Relations

Relations between Ukraine and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) started in 1992. Ukraine applied to begin a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) in 2008. Plans for NATO membership were shelved by Ukraine following the 2010 presidential election in which Viktor Yanukovych, who preferred to keep the country non-aligned, was elected President. Amid the Euromaidan unrest, Yanukovych fled Ukraine in February 2014.

The interim Yatseniuk Government which came to power initially said, with reference to the country’s non-aligned status, that it had no plans to join NATO. However, following the Russian military invasion in Ukraine and parliamentary elections in October 2014, the new government made joining NATO a priority. On 21 February 2019, the Constitution of Ukraine was amended, the norms on the strategic course of Ukraine for membership in the European Union and NATO are enshrined in the preamble of the Basic Law, three articles and transitional provisions.

NATO Member countries

At present, NATO has 30 members. In 1949, there were 12 founding members of the Alliance: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States. The other member countries are: Greece and Turkey (1952), Germany (1955), Spain (1982), the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland (1999), Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia (2004), Albania and Croatia (2009), Montenegro (2017) and North Macedonia (2020).

Already mentioned that there are 30 member countries of NATO. The list of the 30 NATO members is below—

  1. BELGIUM (1949)

  2. CANADA (1949)

  3. DENMARK (1949)

  4. FRANCE (1949)

  5. ICELAND (1949)

  6. ITALY (1949)

  7. LUXEMBOURG (1949)

  8. NETHERLANDS (1949)

  9. NORWAY (1949)

  10. PORTUGAL (1949)


  12. THE UNITED STATES (1949)

  13. GREECE (1952)

  14. TURKEY (1952)

  15. GERMANY (1955)

  16. SPAIN (1982)

  17. CZECH REPUBLIC (1999)

  18. HUNGARY (1999)

  19. POLAND (1999)

  20. BULGARIA (2004)

  21. ESTONIA (2004)

  22. LATVIA (2004)

  23. LITHUANIA (2004)

  24. ROMANIA (2004)

  25. SLOVAKIA (2004)

  26. SLOVENIA (2004)

  27. ALBANIA (2009)

  28. CROATIA (2009)

  29. MONTENEGRO (2017)

  30. NORTH MACEDONIA (2020)

Canada and the United States are from North America; rest of the members are Europeans.

For more information about NATO, visit NATO’s official website. Also use ‘Search Engines’ to read various analytical news, opinions or editorials about NATO and give priority to BBC, Al Jazeera, Telegraph, Fox News, South China News Network. Wikipedia can help you a lot to provide information about NATO.

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