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"Hey let’s scare the Russians!

Let’s take NATO and expand it toward Russia’s very borders. We’ll assure the Russians we come in peace. We’ll explain that the Russian people should feel more secure knowing that Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic are in a military alliance with the United States. It’s the same feeling of peace and security Americans would have if Russia were in a military alliance with Canada and Mexico, armed to the teeth, and excluding the United States. We’d all sleep better then, right?"--Say 'NO' to NATO expansion (1998) by Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities

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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an international organization for defence collaboration established in 1949, in support of the North Atlantic Treaty signed in Washington on April 4, 1949.

The core provision of the treaty is Article V, which states:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

This provision was intended so that if the Soviet Union launched an attack against the European allies of the United States, it would be treated as if it was an attack on the United States itself. However the feared Soviet invasion of Europe never came. Instead, the provision was used for the first time in the treaty's history on September 12, 2001 in response to the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack.


On March 17, 1948 Benelux, France, and the United Kingdom signed the Treaty of Brussels which is a precursor to the NATO Agreement.

The Soviet Union and its satellite states formed the Warsaw Pact in the 1950s in order to counterbalance NATO. Both organisations were opposing sides in the cold war. After the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, the Warsaw Pact disintegrated.

NATO saw its first military engagement in the Kosovo War, where it waged an 11-week bombing campaign against Serbian forces starting on March 24, 1999.

Three former communist countries, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland, joined NATO in 1999. At the Prague (Czech Republic) summit of November 21-22, 2002 seven countries have been invited to start talks in order to join the Alliance: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania. The invited countries are expected to join NATO in 2004. Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will probably be told they have not met the economic, political and military reform criteria and will have to wait. Croatia applied only in 2002 and has just started the process.

Charles de Gaulle's decision to remove France from NATO's military command in 1966 to pursue its own nuclear defence program precipitated the relocation of the NATO Headquarters from Paris, France to Brussels, Belgium by October 16, 1967. While the political headquarters is located in Brussels the military headquarters, the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), are located just south of Brussles, in the town of Mons.

On February 10, 2003 NATO faced a serious crisis because of France and Belgium breaking the procedure of silent approval concerning the timing of protective measures for Turkey in case of a possible war with Iraq. Germany did not use its right to break the procedure but said it supported the veto.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "NATO" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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