The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or Washington Treaty, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 European (28) and North American (2) countries.
In 2017 and 2020 Montenegro and North Macedonia joined NATO as 29th and 30th member of this group respectively.
The Treaty of Brussels, signed on 17 March 1948 by Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom, is considered the precursor to the NATO agreement.
The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949 in Washington.
The self-declared mission of NATO when it emerged in 1949, had three points:
1) Deterring Soviet expansionism.
2) Forbidding the revival of nationalist militarism in Europe through a strong North American presence on the continent.
3) Encouraging European political integration.
NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.
Article 5 of the treaty proclaims that an armed attack against one or more of them (NATO members) shall be considered an attack against them all and that following such an attack, each ally would take such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force in response.
NATO has only once invoked Article 5, on September 12, 2001 following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in the US.
NATO's Headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.
· · ·In 1955, the Soviet Union signed up Socialist republics of Central and Eastern Europe to the Warsaw Pact (1955), including Albania (which withdrew in 1968), Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania.
In September 1990 that East Germany quit the Pact to be reunified with West Germany and soon Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland withdrew from all Warsaw Pact military exercises.
Warsaw Pact was officially disbanded in early 1991 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union itself.
· · ·After reunification, Germany retained membership of NATO, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland joined the alliance in 1999.
In 2004, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia joined the treaty organisation.
In 2009 Albania and Croatia signed on, in 2017 Montenegro entered the bloc and in 2020 it was North Macedonia's turn.
· · ·The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) extended Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg's tenure by a year until September 30, 2023.