From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Mains level : Russia Vs. Nato
Russia has decided that it would halt the activities of its diplomatic mission to NATO after it expelled eight Russian diplomats in a row over spying.
Why such move?
- NATO had set up a prohibitive regime for Russian diplomats in Brussels by banning them from its headquarters building.
- Relations between Moscow and the West have been strained for years, but the immediate impetus for the Russian move was a spy scandal.
- Military tensions have also escalated in recent years, including last spring when Russian troops massed along Ukraine’s border (probably for invasion).
Significance of the move
- The decision will end a post-Cold War experiment, never very successful, in building trust between Russia and the Western alliance.
- It was established decades ago to contain the Soviet Union, which officials in Moscow accused of later encroaching on former Soviet territory.
About North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
- NATO is a military alliance established by the North Atlantic Treaty (also called the Washington Treaty) of April 4, 1949.
- It sought to create a counterweight to Soviet armies stationed in Central and Eastern Europe after World War II.
- Its original members were Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
- NATO has spread a web of partners, namely Egypt, Israel, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland and Finland.
Why was it founded?
Ans. Communist sweep in Europe post-WWII and rise of Soviet dominance
- After World War II in 1945, Western Europe was economically exhausted and militarily weak, and newly powerful communist parties had arisen in France and Italy.
- By contrast, the Soviet Union had emerged from the war with its armies dominating all the states of central and Eastern Europe.
- By 1948 communists under Moscow’s sponsorship had consolidated their control of the governments of those countries and suppressed all non-communist political activity.
- What became known as the Iron Curtain, a term popularized by Winston Churchill, had descended over central and Eastern Europe.
Ideology of NATO
- NATO ensures that the security of its European member countries is inseparably linked to that of its North American member countries.
- It commits the Allies to democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law, as well as to the peaceful resolution of disputes.
- It also provides a unique forum for dialogue and cooperation across the Atlantic.
The Article 5
- The heart of NATO is expressed in Article 5, in which the signatory members agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.
Why in news now?
- The relationship between NATO and Russia is at its lowest point since the end of the Cold War.
- The NATO (rather US) sees their aggressive actions, not least against Ukraine, but also the significant military buildup and violations of important arms control agreements.
- NATO suspended practical cooperation with Russia in 2014 after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.