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Drang Nach Osten, XXI Century: Soviet Threat Is Long Gone, But NATO Still Pushes East
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Drang Nach Osten, XXI Century: Soviet Threat Is Long Gone, But NATO Still Pushes East

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North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) - biggest on Earth intergoverment political and military alliance, uniting most Europe countries, USA and Canada. During the last 70 years Western war machine has advanced closer to Moscow by 1000 kilometers.

NATO was founded on April 4th 1949 to "protect Europe from Soviet influence", but it happened even before the creation of the Soviet war alliance - the Warsaw Pact.

In 1949 12 countries became members of the North Atlantic Alliance, but as of today there are 29 countries in it. General military expenditures of NATO countries count as 70% of the world war expeditures, and its cumulative war forces surpass forces of Russia, China, India and any other individual country.

A notable feature of NATO is its 27-year existence in the conditions of complete absence of the threat, for the sake of counteraction, the bloc, in fact, was created. Since 1991 the USSR is gone, so is the Warsaw Pact, nevertheless Alliance does not intend to dissolve.

Even more, despite its promises, given to the Soviet goverment in the beginning of 1990s, NATO was extending its influence East, coming up close to the borders of the Russian Federation.

Federal News Agency traced the history of North Atlantic Treaty Organization's expansion and the events that occured with it.

In March 1948 the Treaty of Brussels was made, its members were Belgium, Great Britain, Luxembourg, Netherlands and France.

Formally it was pact to improve economical, social and cultural cooperation between those countries, but the "mutual assistance against possible attacks" pact, which implemented none other but the USSR, was the defining portion of that treaty and developed future NATO policies.

At the same time, secret negotiations between the USA, Canada and Great Britain started, during which the "Atlantic wing" of the future NATO was formed.

The year 1949

12 countries became the founders of NATO: two North-American - USA and Canada - and ten European: Iceland, Great Britain, France, Belgium, Netherland, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark, Italy and Portugal.

The first step in NATO's creation was the "Trans-atlantic forum", during which, they agreed that, if an armed attack occurred, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence, would assist the member being attacked, taking such action as deemed necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

This resulted in creation of the "North Atlantic Treaty" which was signed by all 12 countries on the april 4th 1949. The Treaty came into force on august 24th 1949 after it had been ratificated by all country-members.

The year 1952

The first expansion of NATO happened in 1952, when Greece and Turkey were both admitted, before the formal Warsaw agreement foundation, which happened only in 1955.

A notable fact is that between those two dates,  in 1954 Moscow made an official request to join NATO, hoping for the principle of collective security adopted in the organization and proposing to include the Soviet Union in its maintenance structures. At the same time Ukraine and Belarus made the same request, as they were already members of the UN.

The USSR made unprecedented steps to ease international tensions -  for the sake of joining NATO - it withdrew Soviet troops from Austria and closed the Port-Arthur and Dalny military bases on Chinese territory. Nevertheless the Soviet request was denied without consideration.

The year 1955

Second NATO growth: West Germany joined the Alliance. Official entry of the FRG into NATO happened on may 6th 1955 - a week before the Warsaw treaty was made, which was signed by countries of the Eastern bloc, including East Germany (GDR) on may 14th 1955. Thus, it was the West that ensured the final partition of postwar Germany, which lasted until 1990.

Returning to the hackneyed stereotypes - the famous Berlin Wall, considered to be the symbol of the split up of 2 parts of Germany, was built after FRG joined NATO, in 1961. But the real partition of Germany was made six years earlier caused solely by the West.

The year 1966

The first formal reduction in the number of NATO members due to the withdrawal from the Alliance's military structure under President Charles de Gaulle. Note, this did not prevent the Fifth Republic from remaining part of the political structure of NATO, as well as taking part in the war of aggression against sovereign Yugoslavia in 1999.

With Nicolas Sarkozy in 2009, France returned to the military structure of NATO.

The year 1974

Another crisis of NATO, due to the withdrawal of Greece from the alliance's military structure. The demarche of Athens was caused by the events in Cyprus: in July, with complete indifference on the part of the alliance, Turkey occupied the north part of the island, under the pretext of opposing the revanchist ideas of the Greek "black colonels", almost overthrown by that time.

However, the Greek boycott did not last long: in the early 1980s the country restored its complete presence in the alliance, even though the Pro-Turkey Republic of Northern Cyprus stll exists.

The year 1982

Third growth of NATO: Spain joined the Alliance.

Up until 1975, Spain was under the control of the right-wing authoritarian regime of Francisco Franco, who had worked extensively with fascist Germany during the Second World War. Because of this, France and Great Britain in the 1950-1970s cautiously approached the issue of Spain's entry into NATO and objected to US requests on this issue, preferring the practice of bilateral nonpublic contracts.

Spain's accession to NATO was tied to the country's accession to the European Union - thus, for the first time in the history of the bloc, economic preferences for the new entrant became the decisive factor in pushing the military-political doctrine.

Later on, this approach would be used frequently in Eastern Europe, where entry into NATO would precede or be tied to the country's accession to the European Union.

The year 1982

It is worth noting that until 1991, that is, until the collapse of the USSR, the NATO bloc did not officially participate in any war. In the period after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Alliance, feeling impunity, noted immediately in seven regional conflicts, each of which occurred not on the territory of the NATO member countries. Those were the conflits in Kuwait and Iraq (1991), Bosnia and Herzegovina (1995-2004), Yugoslavia (1999), Macedonia (2001-2003), Afghanistan (2001 to present), Iraq (2003-2013) and Sudan (2005 to present).

At the same time, the war in Yugoslavia, in which the "defensive" NATO bloc took part, coincided with the fourth growth of NATO, during which the Alliance was joined by Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic.

The year 2004

After only five years, in 2004, NATO's fifth growth happened: the bloc was joined by Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Estonia. At that time the alliance was waging two wars - in far Afganistan and Iraq, completely unrelated to the North Atlantic region and posing no threat for Europe, even in means of international terrorism.

Besides, in 2004, having accepted in its military bloc three Baltic republics, the West violated its own promises, even if not fixed in the form of treaties, that the republics of the former USSR can not be members of the Alliance under any circumstances.

The year 2009

During NATO's sixth growth, in 2009, the bloc was joined by Croatia and Albania. This move of the Alliance was also quite ambiguous - it was the first time in the history of the bloc that it admitted a country, that had unsettled territorial contradictions with its neighbors. It was Croatia, that still hasn't settled with the neighboring Serbia the territory of Western Slavonia: Serbia does not recognize the unilateral annexation of this territory by Croatia in 1998.

The year 2017

In the seventh growth of NATO, which took place in 2017, the Alliance adopted tiny Montenegro. The curious fact is connected with this "replenishment": the official armed forces of this tiny country count only 1850 people (incomplete brigade, and even divided between "land forces", "naval forces", "air forces" and "headquarters "), and its military expences are only 50 million euro, or less then 1.3% from Montenegro's budget - the lowest percentage among countries-members of NATO. Their last air flight Montenegro's Air forces conducted in 2010, they have no fleet, Land forces have one tank T-55, preserved as a museum exhibit.

Does it need saying, that protection of this Balkan country from "invasion from the East" is as ridiculuos, as searching for mythical russian submarines off the coast of Sweden or seeking out the "hand of Moscow" in the American elections? But the fact remains: june 5th 2017 Montenegro officially became 29th country-member of NATO - and, quite obviously, not the last.

Who is next?

It is enough to look at the map of the Old World to understand that in the near future the North Atlantic alliance will be replenished with new participants.

No, it's not about Ukraine or Georgia, as I would like Kiev and Tbilisi patriots. As of today, two other European countries, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, are members of the so-called NATO Membership Action Plan - and their "military career" is defined.

In the case of the first of these Balkan countries, the process of joining the Alliance has moved off the mark literally a couple of months ago, when objecting Greece agreed for a new name for the neighbor - "Republic of Northern Macedonia". And it already received invitation into NATO.

As for Bosnia and Herzegovina, this part of the former Yugoslavia is even simpler in that matter: the main obstacle to its membership in NATO was called an organizational question with military property, and it will certainly be resolved.

Author: USA Really