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What is NATO? – explained for children

What is NATO? - explained for children

The term NATO stands for the English term “North Atlantic Treaty Organization”, and translated into German means: Organization of the North Atlantic Treaty.

This treaty was created after created by the USA (United States of America) and Western Europe during World War II due to a possible new threat that may arise repeatedly from the German.

Initially, this treaty formed a military alliance consisting of twelve countries. In 2022, however, the alliance will already consist of 30 European and North American countries and the trend is rising.

What is the purpose of this alliance?

The purpose of this military alliance is that an attack on one of these alliance partners obliges the other member states to provide military support to this alliance partner. This would then be a so-called “alliance case”. At this point, however, it should be noted that NATO first of all campaigns diplomatically for peaceful solutions to conflicts. Should the attempt to bring about a peaceful solution fail, however, she has the authority to take military action.

Since the Federal Republic of Germany, like the USA, Great Britain and France, has developed into a western economic power, Germany was then also declared in 1955 as a Admitted to NATO.

A milestone in the history of NATO was the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States of America. At this point, NATO had the task of ensuring the security of the member states, including through the use of military activities. Some of the countries of the former Soviet Union are now among the 30 member states of NATO.

How does NATO make decisions?

Major decisions that NATO member states must make can only be made unanimously. So all parties must agree for an action to be carried out. However, this task, which may not be easy, can be circumvented if a country that speaks out against a NATO decision abstains from voting. The consequence of this is that this country itself does not take part in a planned mission, but does not block this mission either.

What missions are currently being carried out by NATO?

In 2022, around eighteen thousand soldiers are currently deployed for NATO in various locations. For example, these are currently in the Mediterranean, in Kosovo, in Turkey and in Africa. Likewise, some are still active in Afghanistan. All of these missions are exclusively outside of NATO's own territory and are therefore also referred to as “out of area” missions, which in turn means something like “outside the area or area”. These forces are in turn made available by the respective NATO member states as required.

For example, the soldiers deployed in Kosovo are responsible for checking the border crossings there and for confiscating weapons and ammunition that are found still in Kosovo after the end of the war.

For example, NATO soldiers deployed to the Horn of Africa are responsible for protecting the merchant ships located there from piracy. The NATO soldiers who are still in Afghanistan are in turn responsible for providing military training for the Afghan security forces so that they can continue to defend themselves after the end of the NATO mission and thus ensure security in the country.

Right to exist and criticism of NATO

Despite many NATO operations, which also take place outside of NATO territory, it also has to accept criticism. Critics justify this by saying that NATO would also represent the economic interests of Western countries through this type of mission. Likewise, NATO and its administrative body are accused of too much bureaucracy, which in turn means that decision-making is made more difficult and unnecessarily prolonged.

The criticism leveled at NATO and its raison d'être thus often sparks discussions that can then be found in the media. Nevertheless, it is a fact that NATO continues to provide the necessary security in many crisis areas around the world in order to prevent further escalations as far as possible.

Even though NATO was originally founded as a military alliance, today it is more of a security policy alliance that is actively arranging itself in crisis areas around the world. NATO is controlled from Brussels, Belgium, where all representatives of NATO member states meet weekly to discuss security issues and organize possible NATO deployment sites.

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