The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, is an alliance of 28 countries from North America and Europe committed to fulfilling the goals of a treaty signed on April 4, 1949. NATO's fundamental role is to safeguard the freedom and security of its member countries by political and military means. What, exactly, does that commitment mean in today's world?
This superb introduction to NATO is written for the national security novice, yet is full of insights for the more seasoned hand interested in how and why NATO reached its current state.
In the more than half-century since NATO was founded, there has been endless debate about its purpose, about whether it is meeting that purpose, and about the strategies it employs to that end. Speculation has also been rife about the organization's "imminent demise." Those questions and more are the subject of NATO: A Guide to the Issues.
Covering the organization from its founding in 1949 through the present, the guide examines aspects of NATO that have undergone tremendous change over the years, including its purpose, military mission, geographic concept of operations, and membership. At the same time, it explores key aspects of NATO's organization that have remained constant. These include the ability of members to participate in operations as much or as little as they desire, decision-making by consensus, and a general belief that people from different countries working together on a daily basis promotes cooperation, understanding, and friendship.
• A chronology
• Covers NATO's history from its founding in 1949, especially in terms of what has remained constant and what has changed
• Examines what NATO is today and how it functions amidst the geopolitical realities of the 21st century
• Provides useful analysis without going into so much detail that only political scientists or security experts can understand its arguments