NATO Description North Atlantic Treaty signed in 1949 Agreement among United States, Canada, and multiple European countries Signed agreement stating that any armed attack on one member would be viewed as an attack on the entire organization Established to ensure stability by dissuading any outside powers from attacking a member out of fear of retaliation from all members.
Historical Roles Following the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, NATO restructured and began a focus on overall international conflicts rather than specific attacks on organizational members. These conflicts were viewed as a threat to the territorial integrity, even if only indirectly. NATO Air-Strikes on Bosnian Serbs Kosovo
Present Role September 11th was viewed by NATO as eligible for retaliation under the terms of the treaty. NATO troops have provided direct support in the conflict, and also training support in Iraq. However, there has been some dissent among members of NATO during this particular conflict France The NATO agreement allows members to only participate in conflict to the extent they deem necessary.
Possible Future Roles Return to previous focus only on specific response to actual attacks on treaty members Focus interference with international affairs on imminent threats to territorial defense of treaty members Expand international involvement to any and all situations which may result in a threat to territorial defense of treaty members
Role Option A Return to pre-Afghanistan role of specific territorial defense Maintain current membership focus in European and North American Countries Significant hesitation with expanding membership in NATO Many worry that increased membership will result in decreased consensus and ability to act
Role Option B Reactive role in international affairs—respond to situations which indirectly affect territorial defense of treaty members Expand membership to include strong actors spread throughout the global community Japan South Korea Australia Countries in Africa Specific coalitions established to address regional affairs outside of Europe and North America Temporary situational responses to regional conflicts or requirements for aid outside of NATO territory but still possessing possible impact
Role Option C Proactive role in international affairs—identify and involve NATO in situations which may develop to an extent which impacts territorial defense of party members Humanitarian aid Conflict arbitration Direct military interference Open possibility of membership to any ally globally regardless of obvious potential to assist in international affairs Direct member involvement in situations occurring within their region (e.g., allowing an African country to join, and then using resources in that country to respond to situations in surrounding areas)
Decision The most effective future role and membership requirements for NATO would be one that identifies the rise of globalization. Therefore, Option C, with a heavy focus on increase of membership to provide valuable allies and increased dispersion of resources in regions of heavy conflict would be the most effective and most practical for current members as well as future ones. The current NATO system cannot deny the increased impact which all regions of the globe have on modern international affairs, nor can they deny that their specific resource limits are capable of continuing global influence without the involvement of more efficiently located actors. Increasing membership opportunities in NATO, as well as developing training programs among member countries, especially in areas prone to high conflict, is the most effective method if NATO seeks to avoid being rendered obsolete by the growth of globalization.
Conclusion As globalization grows, so does the necessity of further reaching NATO involvement. We can no longer focus on specific territorial integrity identified in the original treaty, but must instead focus on international stability, as an end to promote domestic tranquility.