NATO plays a significant role in peace and security across Europe:
Does NATO play a significant role in regional security?
Amidst heightening tensions between the Soviet Union and Western Europe particularly the United States, the specter of communism was haunting the whole world because it was stretching its ideological muscles in Eastern Europe and the rest of the world. Cold War was at its height and threats from the Soviet Union were lurking in the minds of Western Europe. It was in this context that the governments of Europe collectively tried to form a military alliance in order to counter the potential threat of the Soviets in the future. Hence, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization emerged as a new strategic identity on the surface of the globe. Does NATO play a significant role in regional security?
Western Europe and the US were sharing a common purpose which was to undermine the communist monopoly in Eastern Europe and the changing threats. In the solidarity western governments along with the United States unified under the umbrella of the NATO alliance against the Soviet Union’s existential menaces, however, several indicators led the Soviets to the disintegration and disappearance of the USSR.
The rivalry between the Warsaw Pact and NATO:
Along with disintegration, most scholars and intelligentsia believe that the legitimacy of NATO has gone and is irrelevant and inapplicable in the contemporary era. By considering its applicability the scholars who are counterarguing against the existence of NATO are doing injustice with it because NATO is still the utmost applicable organization in the realm of modern global order because it plays a pivotal role in collective security, humanitarian intervention, etc. NATO in contemporary time is increasingly becoming indispensable because the security landscape after the Cold War had instantly shifted from the sole common threat of the Soviet Union to new and diverse kinds of threats. As previously defined that NATO was established for countering the winds coming from the horizon of the communist sea and to protect the borders of signatory states of NATO. However, the issue that was at the core of NATO’s existence and identity, the organization would have to remain during the whole Cold War episode but with the withering away of the Soviet Union in the pages of history, it lacked identity crisis.
Threats to NATO:
Unconsciously, the Soviets with its disintegration had posed a threat to its existence because there left no logic in existence when a common purpose was achieved. Countering meticulously, NATO had undermined the threat but the new cycle of threats in the rapidly globalized world was ringing at the doors of Western Citizens ranging from
transnational terrorism, human security, cyber security, piracy on the high sea, and the proliferation of nukes and weapons of mass destruction. Collectively these threats reminded NATO states to rethink and revamp their strategic policies. Now, the states are jointly coping with the modern common threats which require modern techniques. To be in the line compelled these states to cooperate on an international level which paved the way for the revival of NATO’s snatched identity thus becoming a wholly collective security organization from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
NATO’s effectively mounted responses against the non-traditional security threats compounded with traditional ones are of paramount importance which showcases its relevant nature as a military alliance in today’s saga. The prime examples are NATO’s deployment of troops and its irruption on Afghanistan and revoking of article 5 following the aftermath of the September 9/11 attacks which states that an attack on one state is an attack against all which is the practical manifestation of collective defense.
Following this invocation, the US fired naval forces to curb oceanic terrorism. Adventure in Kabul started to destabilize the systematic hubs of Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, restabilize Kabul, enfranchise the state from terrorism, and make the state Oxford of peace rather than Harvard of terrorism. Further, NATO maintained its feet in the Gulf of Eden and deployed its troops to inhibit Somalian piracy and assist African Union in combating several other missions.
Does NATO play a significant role in regional security?
Role of NATO:
These including other actions demonstrate the critical role of NATO in the current chain of affairs. Additionally, in the realm of humanitarian ventures, it has an outlier role from becoming a coercive arm of the United Nations to halting genocide in Kosovo. In several humanitarian crises, NATO had been first and foremost to take up arms after United Nations’ mandate to condemn the human rights violations in particular regions i.e Libya.
In this way, it has an unparallel role in humanitarian crises and conflict ceasing and management for example in halting a downtrodden genocide gulping Kosovo, providing assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, etc.
Its operation during times of need furthers and justifies its relevant role in the international arena. While NATO plays a significant role in security aspects and humanitarian ventures, however,
there is no denying fact that its centrality in world politics had bestowed it with much prominence to reach the standards of justification. Currently, its principal objective is to forge an international community of nations having shared values like liberalism, democracy, and human rights.
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Does NATO play a significant role in regional security, especially in the Balkans and Eastern Europe?
The Balkans and Eastern Europe:
Now, it is not the organization that secures the borders only but became an organization to protect values. The modernization and the incorporation of two significant regions; the Balkans and Eastern Europe are other feathers in the cap of NATO.
Former subjugated states of the Warsaw Pact after the disintegration of the USSR became orphans of the international system, NATO, however, integrated all the states into the fabric of modern Europe. This integration was achieved through IPAP (Individual Partnership Action Plan) which formulated the codes of conduct to follow as a requirement for admission.
Incorporation had opened up new avenues for Eastern Europe to
modify the unusual shape of their states which ultimately brought them into the heaven of modernization. Similarly, after the disintegration of the Republic of Yugoslavia, decolonized states were also brought up under the European model of high recognition.
NATO here also proved as a modernization force for the states. Consequently, NATO’s own style of (making the community of common values) increased communication with authoritarian states which are in the attire of democratic states possess an exponential role in contemporary times. Further, it also formulate the sub-dialogues aside from United Nations with states sharing common values.
Programs like “Partnership for Peace” and “Contact Nations” are highly influential in institutionalizing. Given the role played by NATO in the 21st century on the stage, its future prospects are no more in peril. There isn’t an omen of its declining membership.
The humanitarian crises and modern security threats are facts that will continue to exert in the future and that time will bring NATO to its heights of prominence.
Without a hint of hyperbole, NATO doesn’t fulfill the same function as it used to, but it is still a highly relevant organization due to the role it played in collective security, humanitarian crises, a community of common values, and international politics.
This Article is written by Sheeraz Khan, who is currently studying International Relations at the National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad. He is interested in global politics, diplomacy, and international organizations. The views expressed in this article are purely the authors’ views and do not reflect the opinion or views of the Youth Diplomacy Forum.