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Articles of the North Atlantic Treaty (1)

At a time when Russia, thanks to its Cold War behaviour, drives the rest of the world towards anxiety and new strategies, NATO once again assumes importance as an old and friendly assembly. Born as a counterforce to the rising Soviet threat in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, what were the dynamics upon which NATO was built? Was this a timeless collective defence attempt without a shelf life; or was it programmed to last so long as the threat endured?

NATO is based on the North Atlantic Treaty, namely the Washington Treaty, signed on April 4, 1949 by the 12 founding states of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States, sharing common security concerns. Created in with reference to the 51st Article of the United Nations Charter maintaining that nothing shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence of independent states, the Treaty is composed of 14 articles, intended to fulfil collective defence requirements. Until the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact as harbingers of the end of the Cold War, many other countries sharing the same security concerns with the founding states have become signatories to the North Atlantic Treaty: Turkey and Greece in 1952; Germany in 1955 and Spain in 1982. Some expected that NATO, which had successfully served its mission as a military deterrence force against all kinds of threats emanating from the Eastern Bloc, would not survive against the backdrop of new security environment or that, at least, the 14 articles would become obsolete. Nevertheless, NATO went through some strategic transformation processes and, following the inclusion of more civilians in decision making processes, it moved away from acting as a military pact to become rather a civilian organisation focused on enlargement.

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