What is NATO?

NATO was created in 1949, ostensibly to contain the Soviet Union in the first years of the Cold War era, but also to integrate Western Europe, the United States, and Canada politically and militarily under U.S. dominance. Despite its claims, NATO was never a defensive alliance, and since the end of the Cold War it has expanded to Russia’s borders and has been transformed into a global alliance structured to wage “out of area” wars in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, as well as to “contain” China. From Yugoslavia to Afghanistan and Libya, the U.S. has used NATO to enhance and extend a military, economic, and political agenda that aims to ensure U.S. and European dominance of the Global South. It has spread the cost of these adventures to its NATO partners.

The alliance includes 28 members in North America and Europe, with the most recent being Albania and Croatia who joined in April 2009. An additional 22 countries participate in NATO’s Partnership for Peace, with 15 other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programs. The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the world’s defense spending.

Member Nations:

Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.

Partnerships:

Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic Malta, The Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkestan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan