Opinion Essay on Importance of NATO in 21st Century
An international organisation is an organisation founded by treaties controlled by international laws and owning its legal personality. John McCormick defines it as “a body that promotes voluntary cooperation and coordination between or among its members.”
Member nations decide how the organisation is managed, cast votes within it, and finance it. The first attempt to create an international organization occurred in 1814 with the Congress of Vienna. To protect the deliberations of Vienna a kind of directory of the great powers was established which can be considered as the predecessor of the future and more complete international organisation of a universal nature.
Their aims and objectives are very often in the public interest, but they can also be created for a specific purpose. International organisations develop mainly from the need of nations and governments to have a neutral forum where they debate and consider interests, which by their nature or extent do not find effective protection at the level of the individual state, encouraging these to cooperate. These interests can be understood as international public goods: international peace and security, environmental protection, international trade, etc. Historically, many international organizations also developed because of the need for an executive or constrictive entity that could manage supranational interests in a unified form. International organisations describe and define their aims in their statutes or other founding documents: they exist with a special statute and have several objectives, including, but not limited to, increasing international relations, promoting education, health care, economic development, environmental protection, human rights, humanitarian efforts, intercultural contacts and conflict resolution.
The biggest, most powerful and most important international organisation in the world is the UN, which stands for United Nations.
This organisations was created after the Second World War and has the aim of preventing future conflicts, maintaining international peace and security, establish good ties between states, promote worldwide collaboration, and serve as a focal point for coordinating national efforts. The official start date of the organization is 24 October 1945 with the participation of 50 states until it will reach 193 in 2011. The United Nations is financed through voluntary contributions from member states
Another important international organisation is NATO, which stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and is an international organisation for defence cooperation. The North Atlantic Treaty got signed on 4th April 1949 and entered into force on the 24th August of that same year and it had the aim to provide security to its members from the Sovietic Union’s threats. NATO is essentially an alliance in which the Member States commit themselves into working together to peacefully resolve international crises and, in case diplomacy fail, contribute with soldiers and resources to undertake military missions to resolve any threats. The NATO summit body is the Atlantic Council which can meet at the level of Permanent Representatives of the Member States, of Ministers (meetings of Foreign and Defence Ministers are held periodically) and of Heads of State and Government. Then there is the Military Committee, formed by the Chiefs of Defence of the member countries, which assists the Atlantic Council and puts into practice its decisions in the military field. Every state has to have agreed to every decision taken. The current Secretary General is the Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg.
Since the disappearance of the USSR, the overall strategic framework has undergone profound changes, to which NATO has gradually adapted, between safeguarding the original collective defence mission and acquiring new functions, related to the appearance of threats or security risks to its members other than traditional types.
NATO has some strength points that make it still relevant in the 21st Century.
One of NATO’s key achievements has been the maintenance of a robust military cooperation between the United States and Western Europe. As a result, the United States is less likely to become conservative, risking European security.
It is offering security assurances to new democracies by spreading into Eastern Europe, decreasing the likelihood of a Russian ‘divide and conquer’ approach.
It promotes peace by persuading Russia to refrain from endangering Western interests.
It’s new task force is really good at adapting in emergencies.
It recognises the multi-directional nature of threats to Western interests and the need to show a unified front in the face of emerging threats like Islamist terrorism.
As it has strength points, it also has its weakness. For example, with its expansion, NATO will now have to provide security for all the 29 member state, especially those that are closer to the influence of Russia. Some members’ allegiance, such as Turkey and Hungary, to peacekeeping has been doubted.
There are a lot of conflicting opinions about NATOâs relevance in the 21st Century.
Alexander Vershbow, a notable member at the Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security has stated during a discussion:’NATO remains essential to deter Russian aggression, which is a real threat. It’s also a standing coalition of like-minded democracies that the United States can still call upon to defend shared interests and project stability beyond NATO’s borders’. John Mearsheimer, a professor at the University of Chicago has instead said: ‘I don’t dislike NATO, but we live in a completely different world. For most of my life, Europe was the most important area of the world. That’s no longer the case. The distribution of power has changed. Asia is the area that really matters the most to the United States today. The question is, what can Europe do? What can NATO do? My argument is it can do hardly anything. We have to wake up and smell the coffee.’
In my opinion NATO could still be relevant in the 21st Century and in the years that has to come. If NATO cedes to exists, Russia could take advantage of the situations and attack all the countries nearby. NATO might not be as efficient and relevant as before but I do believe it is still essential.
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