The Importance Of The Expansion Of NATO: What Can This Do To Increase Security Around The Alliance?
Written by: Alexa Dominique Pascual
What is NATO?
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed at the year 1949, to the protect Europe and the Arctic against Soviet aggression. The alliance was formed to hinder the expansion of the USSR, which prevented the implementation of nationalist militarism and communism within Europe. This agenda also promoted North American influence, which benefited the European government in adopting a change of leadership strategy. The influence of the United States encouraged European governments to shift their loyalties, expectations and political motives toward a new beginning. This also benefited European security because of the strong collaboration they developed with the US in terms of adapting their domestic policies. For example, by collaborating and forming an alliance with the United States, especially with the military will significantly protect the whole of Europe from further Russian aggression. The US has the most advanced weapons and intelligence agencies for them to fully protect the whole of Europe and to keep NATO stronger. Which gave a great benefit to the collective defence system, because an attack on a NATO country is an attack to all which increased the security of Europe. Especially with Russia’s ambition of territorial aggression. This leaves Europe to be vulnerable to such a situation, if North America is not involved in the European defence system. Going back in history, the aftermath of the Second World War, East and West Europe found themselves separated and isolated from each other by their political strategies of the Cold War. Because of their division Eastern Europe fell to the hands of the Soviet Union. Because of this matter, 12 other nations states Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the help of Canada and the United States formed an alliance which established “NATO”. In this way, with strong diplomatic relationships and defence relationships, such attack by the Soviet Union will be less of a risk. This will also give prevention for the Soviet Union from attacking these states, which made them independent from the Russian regime. Russian officials continued to threaten European governments across Europe. This led to Czechoslovakia to impeach and abandon their democratic government, which led the Soviet Union to regain power over their government. (NATO, A Short History of NATO)
After the fall of the Berlin Wall in November,9,1989, which unified Germany, this gave an end to the USSR and the Cold War bringing all European countries together. In due time 19 other states became members of NATO such as, Greece and Türkiye (1952); Germany (1955); Spain (1982); Czechia, Hungary and Poland (1999); Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia (2004); Albania and Croatia (2009); Montenegro (2017); North Macedonia (2020); and Finland (2023). (NATO, Member Countries,2023)
As you can see, the importance of keeping the alliance stronger together, will create a secure environment to prevent war, foreign interferance and this will greatly benefit the security of our own citizens. Maintaining an equal amount of participation each state has to offer, will contribute to NATO. This will give a great impact for the alliance to protect their borders. Especially today Russia has been very aggressive in succeeding in their ambitions to take over Eastern Europe like what they did with Ukraine. In this case, this shows the importance of prioritizing our defence strategies, our close collaboration with allies and the equal amount of participation of nations to contribute to their GDP. The alliance has never been stronger before, as long as each nation continues to participate in policy development, then Russian aggression will most likely not happen.
Why is it important to expand the alliance?
The ongoing issue with the possible takeover of Russia in Ukraine, led the alliance to pay more attention on defence spending and increased their contribution to NATO by being involved in the delivery of weapons, military personale training Ukrainian soliders, humanitarian aid and economic support to Ukraine. This on going issue showcased the importance of the alliance to work together and enhance each nations relationship to combat the Russian regime. Inviting more members to the alliance especially member states in the Arctic will be a great benefit to European nations for them to be protected against Russian attack. (Time, How the World Changed in A Year Since Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine,2023)
Now, with Russia’s growing relationship with China, this can further complicate things because China has been involved in foreign interference and manipulating the west in foreign policy. China also admired Russian foreign policy, that the Chinese government is being compared to the strategy of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to China’s ongoing interference with Taiwan. (LSE Ideas, China Foresight, What Putin’s War On Ukraine Means For The Future Of China-Russia Relations, p.14 Implications For The Future Of Sino-Russian Relations, 2022) China has not sent in military supplies and economic support to Russia but it does not mean that there will be no possibility for this. China might have secret motives to help Russia in this case. But that would have some consequences if they do so proceed with this strategy. If the west decides to sanction China in terms of cutting trade ties, China’s economic development will decrease causing their domestic policies to suffer.
However, China and Russia are not treaty allies but they are strategic allies. For example, their ongoing agreement in leading their nations in an authoritarian system, the lack of human rights and the spread of Chinese and Russian propaganda. Both nation states believe that this is the best way in leading their citizens. Both nations relate to their like minded strategies, which causes their partnership to grow. This will bring danger to the world because of their common interests, which inspires both states to work together in terms of foreign policy. Because with the growing partnership of Russia and China. This could possibly increase the amount of foreign interference in national security and even with the partnership of their intelligence agencies which will bring an increase of an amount of destruction to the world. (LSE Ideas, China Foresight, What Putin’s War On Ukraine Means For The Future Of China-Russia Relations, p.14 Implications For The Future Of Sino-Russian Relations, 2022) The alliance has to continue to work together and protect each nation from any attack that Russia decides to push through. Expanding membership will strengthen the Acrtic in any interference and disrcution that could be caused if Russia continues to attack. The recent membrship of Finland, will bring a benefit to the NATO alliance by strengthening the country and also by securing the Baltic region.
Finland also has an increasing amount of artillery than France and Germany, which makes them a strong ally in terms of protecting each nation. The country’s defence system showcases its strength by having 280,000 troops in time of war, which is a lot larger compared to the UK. War is not an option, the alliance’s goal is to maintain peace among nations but this means that in terms of defending citizens then, Finland has a significant contribution to this agenda. With the collaboration of the US and Finland’s military, Finland's aircrafts, military equipment and armoury will be more advanced that could defend each nation in the best way possible.
This will bring more secure control in the Baltics which can possibly, decrease opportunities for Russia to further its attack and ambition to regain power and implement the USSR.
(Alarabiya News,Putin’s Ambitions Put Finland’s Well-Trained Equipped Military Back in Vogue,2022)
However, Georgia pays less attention outside the Western world because their military strategies are most focused on the west. This is because the western dynamics greatly influences their policies more because of the strategies Western countries have in terms of social, economic and cultural transformation. This brings to a conclusion that Georgia is currently moving in to a transformation and a possible struggle of identity by visioning themselves to be a part of the west. That is why their reformation in policy development correlates with the west more, which makes them a strong ally of NATO. The country believes that their economic development and sustainability will become more prosperous with European aid because their strategies such as investment in education, renewable energy and transportation. Having those three strategies fully develop will bring a significant amount of development in their economic system and their aspirations of preventing climate change. (Chavadez Center, Georgia’s foreign policy, Eastern partnership and prospects of Euro Atlantic Integration, 2019)
The Importance of Collective Defence and Article 5
Artcile 5 was implemented in 1949, when NATO was first established. The article promises to defend NATO allies from attack, meaning one attack against NATO nation is an attack to all. During September,11,2001 the US was severely a target of terrorist attacks, having article 5 be invoked for the first time. The 1999 Strategic Concept has greatly identified that terrorism is a tremendous risk that attacks NATO’s security. NATO did engage in the fight of terrorism by conducting operations outside the European area, which made the transformation of strategies a reality. (NATO,Collective Defence Article 5,2022)
During the attack, NATO agreed to package eight measures to support the United States, which launched the first anti-terror operation. Which increased support for the US, in terms of defence against terrorism. The assistance that was agreed among allies, to support the US in this crisis even made the alliance stronger succeeding in the goal to maintain peace and security in the Atlantic.
Article 5 is what brings the alliance together to agree upon strategies if there is any potential attack that can destroy any nation leaving citizens vulnerable. The most important strategy for the alliance to remain stronger and to stick together is by having all nation states cooperate and to contribute to their defence system. In this way, any terrorist attack against a NATO nation will be prevented and this will bring more peace and prosperity within our borders. War is never an option in the negotiating table, but when it comes to defending each citizen then each nation has to act upon the issue. All nations created an agreement to give support to any state that is being attacked, which brings each countries relationship stronger and beneficiary to a nations well-being. Especially, with the ongoing contribution with the US each European defence system will have the benefits of having advanced military equipment and to have the opportunity to collaborate with US military and intelligence. Bringing the prevention of such issue on Russian intervention. Russia's strategy on attack could be prevented once communication and diplomatic relations between states will be improved. With the help of the US in defence, then the NATO alliance will be secured from any potential threats. Bringing in Baltic nations to be members, will make it more challenging for Russia to take over. That is why the expansion of NATO memberships across Europe is a must for national security to be greatly protected.
(NATO, Member Countries,2023,https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_52044.htm)
(Time, How the World Changed in A Year Since Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine,2023,https://time.com/6256509/ukraine-russia-war-anniversary/)
(LSE Ideas, China Foresight, What Putin’s War On Ukraine Means For The Future Of China-Russia Relations, p.14 Implications For The Future Of Sino-Russian Relations, 2022,https://www.lse.ac.uk/ideas/Assets/Documents/updates/2022-SU-DubenChina-EDITED.pdf)
(Alarabiya News,Putin’s Ambitions Put Finland’s Well-Trained Equipped Military Back in Vogue,2022,https://english.alarabiya.net/features/2022/12/18/Putin-s-ambitions-put-Finland-s-well-trained-equipped-military-back-in-vogue)
(Chavadez Center, Georgia’s foreign policy, Eastern partnership and prospects of Euro Atlantic Integration, 2019,http://chavchavadzecenter.ge/ge/blog/176-georgias-foreign-policy-eastern-partnership-and-prospects-or-euro-atlantic-integration)
(NATO,Collective Defence Article 5,2022,https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_110496.htm)
(NATO, NATO and Afghanistan, 2022,https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_8189.htm)
(European Council On Foreign Relations, Georgia’s Bumpy Transition: How Can the EU Help, Jana Kobsova, https://ecfr.eu/wp-content/uploads/ECFR75_georgia_MEMO_AW.pdf)