NATO: NEW MEMBERSHIP
- May 17, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
NATO: NEW MEMBERSHIP
Section: International body
- Finland and Sweden are poised to end decades of neutrality by joining NATO, a dramatic evolution in European security and geopolitics sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
NATO membership — Process
- NATO has what it calls an “open door policy” on new members — any European country can request to join, so long as they meet certain criteria and all existing members agree.
- A country does not technically “apply” to join; Article 10 of its founding treaty states that, once a nation has expressed interest, the existing member states “may, by unanimous agreement, invite any other European State in a position to further the principles of this Treaty … to accede.”
- Ratification of new members could take a year, as the legislatures of all 30 current members must approve new applicants.
- Both Finland and Sweden already meet many of the requirements for membership, which include
- having a functioning democratic political system based on a market economy;
- treating minority populations fairly;
- committing to resolve conflicts peacefully;
- the ability and willingness to make a military contribution to NATO operations; and
- Committing to democratic civil-military relations and institutions.
What does NATO membership entail?
- The reason most countries join NATO is because of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which stipulates that all signatories consider an attack on one an attack against all.
- Article 5 has been a cornerstone of the alliance since NATO was founded in 1949 as a counterweight to the Soviet Union.
- The point of the treaty, and Article 5 specifically, was to deter the Soviets from attacking liberal democracies that lacked military strength.
- Article 5 guarantees that the resources of the whole alliance — including the massive US military — can be used to protect any single member nation, such as smaller countries who would be defenseless without their allies. Iceland, for example, has no standing army.