NATO also known as North Atlantic Treaty Organization is an international military alliance created in 1949. It was established in the aftermath of World War II because the relationship between the Soviet Union and the other Allied powers was deteriorating, as a result, the US along with Canada and a group of 10 European countries created an alliance. Now it is an intergovernmental military alliance of 32 member states, with 2 being the North American states. It was created to counter the growing influence of the Soviet Union.

In the international system, an alliance refers to a collective security in which a group of states come together to protect and promote their common security, collective security.

In an alliance, if a member state is attacked, then in response all the member states counter attack it’s as if the attack on one state is considered an attack on the entire alliance.

NATO after 75 years remains a pillar of the United States and Europe’s military cooperation. Due to NATO, Europe has remained a conflict-free zone after the conclusion of World War II. NATO was focused on the deterrence of Russian expansion but it has also conducted many of its security operations such as “ISAF’s mission in Afghanistan (2001-2014).

NATO has also participated in faraway missions such as humanitarian interventions in Middle Eastern states which have garnered mixed results. Now once again NATO’s focus has shifted towards Russia as it now to be considered a renewed threat to Europe’s security due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

As World War II was near its end the relationship between the Powers of the West and the Soviets deteriorated, this created a power gap to which the West responded with a containment policy of the Soviet expansion. Europe felt threatened by the expansion of the Soviets so the countries of Western Europe discussed the idea of forming an organization that would provide mutual security.

NATO was created because the expansion of the Soviet was not coming to a halt, and it failed to comply with the terms of the Potsdam and the Yalta conferences. Its founding members believed that the expansion of the alliance was crucial to the maintenance of peace. NATO started to offer memberships to the states, West Germany was also granted the membership with a condition that it would never manufacture weapons of mass destruction.

As NATO is a military alliance there has to be weapons. This led to an arms race, weapons treaties such as the “INF Treaty”, alliances, and counter-alliances.  Nuclear weapons, the weapons of mass destruction would also be an issue for the collective security of the NATO members and the overall globe. NATO is committed to arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation. Nuclear weapons are an integral part of NATO’s overall capabilities for deterrence and the defense of its member states.

NATO’s article 5 states the collective security; any attack on a member state will be considered an attack on all. With a grip over arms race, NATO has a deterrence policy.

By having nuclear weapons NATO’s policy regarding it is to preserve peace, prevent coercion, and deter any aggression. If nuclear weapons exist, NATO will be considered a nuclear alliance. NATO’s purpose is to create a safe world where security is possible without nuclear weapons.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT 1968 was an agreement signed by several major nuclear and non-nuclear powers that promised cooperation in stopping nuclear technology sharing or spreading. It was a first step towards the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Although it did not stop nuclear proliferation it showed a positive sign after the deadly arms race that was seen in the Cold War. Setting a precedent for arms control, it paved the path for cooperation among the states.

The USA and the Soviets signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty and its leaders hoped that more agreements would also be signed for arms control. Four years later both states also signed an Outer Space Treaty that would prevent any deployment of the nuclear weapons systems in outer space. Due to the easy availability of plutonium the core of the nuclear weapons, by the end of 1964, there were five nuclear powers in the world. The vast stock available of the nuclear weapons, along with the capabilities to strike back would lead to mutually assured destruction.

Due to this threat, deterrence could be maintained. With these initial states causing so much security dilemma, it was a notion if more states started to gain nuclear technology the stability of the globe would be in danger. More nuclear states would lead to an all-out destruction of the globe, and due to this, made the nuclear states hesitant to share nuclear technology with other states.

In 1961, Ireland first proposed a ban on the distribution of nuclear technology in the meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations. The resolution was approved but negotiations did not start till 1965 in the Geneva disarmament conference. The USA wanted to have its NATO members the nuclear capability but left the idea of having a feasible treaty with the Soviets.

The real concern for the NATO was that how it was going to convince the non nuclear states to give up the idea of having a nuclear technology.

But ultimately after two years many non-nuclear powers were convinced by the nuclear states to be part of the treaty. Finally, the treaty had provisions that were aimed at limiting the spread of nuclear weapons and any technology related to it. The first nuclear member states agreed to not transfer the technology to any other state, the non-nuclear states agreed not to obtain the technology and not to develop it as well and all the states will safeguard, and cooperate against the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

All parties have agreed to cooperate in the development of peaceful nuclear technology and to prevent an arms race of nuclear weapons. But China and France did not sign this treat and many of the non-nuclear states such as India and Pakistan developed nuclear weapons resulting in this treaty being somewhat weak. But nonetheless, his treaty was and is an important step towards the control, disarmament, and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

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