NATO Offers Aid to United States Following 9/11 Attacks

NATO Offers Aid to United States Following 9/11 Attacks

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On October 2, 2001, NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson holds a press conference to discuss the events of September 11, and pledges support of the 18 NATO allies in the campaign against international terrorism.

AFTER THE ATTACKS: THE ALLIANCE For First Time, NATO Invokes Joint Defense Pact With U.S.

NATO invoked a mutual defense clause in its founding treaty for the first time today, strongly suggesting that the United States would have the support of the allies if it takes military action against those responsible for attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

A NATO statement issued after a meeting of ambassadors to the 19-member alliance said, ''If it is determined that this attack was directed from abroad against the United States, it shall be regarded as an action covered by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.''

Article 5, the cornerstone of the alliance, says 'ɺn armed attack'' against any of the allies in Europe or North America ''shall be considered an attack against them all.''

It commits NATO members to take the necessary measures, including the use of force, to restore security.

The statement amounted to a powerful expression of European solidarity with the United States after a period in which trans-Atlantic relations have been strained by tensions over the Bush administration's policies in areas ranging from missile defense to the environment.

NATO's secretary general, Lord Robertson, said the declaration did not necessarily mean NATO would get involved in military action. Nor did it mean that Washington was obliged to act through the group.

'ɺt the moment this is an act of solidarity,'' he said. ''It's a reaffirmation of a solemn treaty commitment which these countries have entered into.''

Asked whether he believed the allies would take joint action, Lord Robertson added: ''The country attacked has to make the decisions, it has to be the one that asks for help. The United States is still assessing the evidence available. They are the one to make that judgment.''

In Washington, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said the statement would ''tee up'' possible collective military action by NATO once the terrorists and those behind them had been identified.

NATO also made clear for the first time that it was prepared to see some acts of terrorism as acts of war, even if such circumstances were not envisioned when the treaty was written in 1949.

''The commitment to collective self-defence embodied in the Washington Treaty was entered into in circumstances very different from those that exist now,'' said the statement adopted by the North Atlantic Council.

'ɻut it remains no less valid and no less essential today, in a world subject to the scourge of international terrorism.''

The statement also noted pointedly that when NATO leaders met in 1999 on the organization's 50th anniversary, they condemned terrorism as a threat to world peace and affirmed their '⟞termination to combat it in accordance with their commitments to one another.''

Any decision to embark on joint military action would require further deliberation, as would a decision to place national forces under joint command.

But diplomats said the resolution was a potent gesture of political support for the United States even if it should it decide to act on its own.

NATO officials said the United States had not asked for the statement, but had said they would welcome it.

As the United States is the dominant power in the organization, it appeared certain that the administration had played a central role in the adoption of the resolution.

The four-paragraph resolution, passed unanimously, said ''The United States' NATO allies stand ready to provide the assistance that may be required as a consequence of these acts of barbarism.''

But some European leaders also urged caution. The Swedish and German foreign minister, Anna Lindh and Joschka Fischer, both suggested that it was too early to talk of military action when so little was known about the origins of the attacks.

Throughout the day, many Europeans continued to express outrage.

In London, Prime Minister Tony Blair recalled Parliament from its recess a month early, saying the voices of democracy must speak out after devastating terror strikes in the United States.

''This was an attack not just on a number of buildings in the United States of America, but on the very notion of democracy,'' he said at a news conference at his office at 10 Downing Street.

While NATO officials met, the foreign ministers of the European Union also gathered in a show of support for the United States. In a statement, the ministers said they would ''spare no efforts to help identify, bring to justice and punish those responsible.''

The foreign ministers declared that Friday would be a day of mourning in all 15 member nations and asked that all Europeans observe three minutes of silence on at noon (6 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time).

''We were all victims of this attack,'' said Belgium's foreign minister, Louis Michel, chairman of the meeting of the European Union.

In an exceptional move, Lord Robertson attended the meeting. ''We have to stand together,'' he said. ''We are two organizations that speak with one voice, one strong voice, that will not stand for terrorism.''

What would a bank do? Addressing NATO’s capabilities gaps

After decades of underinvestment, and as a result of its focus on counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, NATO and its members have a number of critical gaps in conventional capabilities to deter peer competitors. Although a bank would not solve all of the alliance’s problems—which include ongoing reliance on aging equipment, chronic infrastructure shortfalls, and gaps in defense spending—many of these areas could be addressed by the creation of this new funding mechanism.

Reduce reliance on aging Soviet-Russian military equipment

As NATO has pivoted back to a focus on deterring Russia, one great irony is that former Warsaw Pact NATO members continue to use and operate aging Soviet-Russian equipment. Not only is much of this equipment—from fighter jets to tracked vehicles to helicopters—in a decrepit state well below the standards of NATO’s Western members, but the continued use of this equipment also creates a dependence on Russia’s defense industry, as keeping aging equipment operating requires that these countries procure spare parts and components from Russia itself. 21 This means that NATO defense funds are flowing to the Russian defense industry to enable NATO’s Eastern members to operate equipment to deter Russian aggression. Such spending also violates U.S. sanctions provisions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which became law in 2017. 22

Former Warsaw Pact countries never received an injection of financing to modernize their forces after joining NATO. Unlike after WWII, when the United States helped rebuild allied European militaries to deter the Soviet Union, there was no similar pressing threat that warranted massive military expenditures after the end of Cold War. Modernization and the replacement of aging fleets has happened slowly and sporadically. Additionally, the focus on counterinsurgency missions in Afghanistan and Iraq further reduced investment in higher-end military equipment useful for deterring a peer-to-peer competitor.

It is clearly past time for NATO’s Eastern members to modernize their forces with equipment interoperable with NATO forces. However, expecting individual countries to do this themselves is unrealistic. Many of NATO’s Eastern members have increased their defense spending following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and have taken action to defend themselves and deter potential aggression. Poland, for instance, has invested in a broad-based modernization effort, procuring the Patriot missile defense system as well as new helicopters. 23 Romania has acquired used F-16s from Portugal. 24 Yet these efforts are piecemeal and disconnected from each other. Moreover, these countries are simply not going to be able to modernize their forces without access to considerable financing. Just as a homeowner would seek a loan to renovate their house or a mortgage to enable them to purchase a house, countries need access to advantageous financing to facilitate the significant investments needed to modernize their forces.

Solve infrastructure shortfalls

A major military weak spot for the alliance is its inability to move forces quickly and efficiently across the European continent, namely from west to east. Russia has an immense tactical military advantage by being able to amass forces on its territories, giving it the potential to overwhelm the forces of an individual NATO member state, particularly the Baltic states. NATO defense planners would seek to move forces eastward should tensions escalate. But the alliance would face significant difficulty simply moving forces from west to east, as numerous bridges, roads, and rail lines cannot handle the transit of heavy military equipment such as tanks.

Although NATO has recently made progress in lowering the barriers to cross-border operations, officials reportedly remain concerned that requirements such as passport checks or outdated infrastructure could stall any coordinated response to a threat within Europe. 25 Recognizing this barrier, the EU unveiled a “military Schengen zone” in 2018 with the goal of lowering barriers to moving troops and equipment across Europe and fixing existing infrastructure to withstand this sort of movement. 26 As a first step, NATO would need host members to make the necessary infrastructure investments. Yet the purpose of these investments is for the sake of the whole alliance, not just the member state making the investment. Hence, progress in addressing this significant military gap—the inability to mobilize and transport forces to the fight—has been shockingly slow. This clear gap is perhaps the most substantial risk to NATO’s ability to defend allied territory and highlights the urgent need for an injection of funding.

Additionally, NATO may also want to finance investment in infrastructure that is critical to the military capacity of the alliance. This could mean improving ports, power plants, and other rail and road infrastructure. In particular, as potential rivals like China provide investment and take controlling stakes in critical infrastructure including electrical plants and ports—such as the Port of Piraeus in Greece—NATO has a clear stake in ensuring that infrastructure critical to the operations of the alliance remain under member control.

Furthermore, NATO could help solve the alliance’s 5G problem. 5G networks are largely for civilian purposes but also have a dual-use military dimension in order to support alliance communications. As concerns mount over the security of potentially Chinese-provided 5G communications networks, NATO could help invest in the formation of a secure 5G network that meets alliance security requirements. 27

Invest in new and emerging technologies

Rapid technological change is transforming warfare. Yet acquisition cycles for procuring new weapons systems are often so lengthy that, by the time of delivery and deployment, the technology has already changed. NATO should support more dynamic procurement efforts, particularly when it comes to defensive systems that could be used to complicate and deter Russian or nation-state incursion. Additionally, NATO should be investing in new technology development and other research that can help spur innovation to bolster the alliance. This could involve providing funding to startups or providing capital to expand ongoing research and innovation. Once the bank is established, its mandate could even expand to include venture efforts that directly fund cutting-edge technology. This effort could also be closely coordinated with the EU.

Show support for sustaining defense spending levels

Although member states agreed to increase defense spending at the Wales Summit, progress has been slow and sporadic, and a majority of NATO members were unlikely to hit the 2 percent pledge by 2024. This is even more unlikely now with the economic and budgetary fallout from COVID-19. Some NATO members may face severe budgetary shortfalls, making defense spending a potential target for budget cuts. To relieve this pressure, NATO members could use access to inexpensive financing to maintain their current defense spending levels.

Close the gap in NATO’s defense planning

NATO not only needs to be militarily prepared for protracted conflict scenarios but also should be financially prepared. The alliance should not assume or place the burden of financially backing a massive regional effort on the shoulders of the United States other NATO members would need to step up as well. But instead of figuring out such financial arrangements in the midst of a crisis, NATO should plan now. If member states are going to fight together, then determining how to finance that effort is critical. A NATO bank should help prompt collaboration and coordination among the formation’s finance ministers and treasury secretaries, which will better prepare the alliance to cope in the event of a conflict.

8 Turkey Provides Safe Drinking Water To Native Americans

As a &ldquostrategic ally,&rdquo Turkey receives several million dollars in foreign aid from the US each year. In 2015, $4.8 million is budgeted for Turkey.

In an interesting act of philanthropy, Turkey&rsquos Agency for Cooperation and Collaboration (TIKA) donated $200,000 to build a water tank for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon. This grant is to ensure clean drinking water for 10 years for a reservation elementary school.

Turkey&rsquos interest in Native Americans is nothing new&mdashthey were the only country to send a delegation to a recent Reservation Economic Summit. Turkey even offers college scholarships to American minorities (including Native Americans).

No one seems to be too sure why the Turkish seem to feel a kinship with Native Americans, but it has led some conspiracy theorists to suggest that Turkey is &ldquoinfiltrating Native tribes&rdquo in order to make inroads to the US in the hopes of installing an Islamic government.


In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, the Bush administration declared a war on terrorism, with the stated goals of bringing Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda to justice and preventing the emergence of other terrorist networks. These goals were to be accomplished by means including economic and military sanctions against states perceived as harboring terrorists and increasing global surveillance and intelligence sharing. Within hours after the September 11 attacks, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld speculated on possible involvement by Saddam Hussein and ordered his aides to make plans for striking Iraq [5] although unfounded, the association contributed to public acceptance for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The second-biggest operation of the US Global War on Terrorism outside of the United States, and the largest directly connected to terrorism, was the overthrow of the Taliban rule from Afghanistan, by a US-led coalition.

Muslim Americans Edit

In a Joint Statement by the American Muslim Alliance, American Muslim Council, Association of Muslim Scientists and Engineers, Association of Muslim Social Scientists, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Medical Association of North America, Islamic Circle of North America, Islamic Society of North America, Ministry of Imam W. Deen Mohammed, Muslim American Society and Muslim Public Affairs Council, stated: [6]

American Muslims utterly condemn the vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. We join with all Americans in calling for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators. No political cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts.

Leftist reactions Edit

According to left-wing intellectuals Michael Walzer, Leo Casey, Michael Kazin, James B. Rule, and Ann Snitow, writing in Dissent, one of the responses by the American left to the September 11 attacks was to blame American actions, including the Gulf War, Sanctions against Iraq, support for Saudi Arabia, and support for Israel, for provoking the September 11 attack. [7] Walzer later described the left's response to 9/11 as a "radical failure." [8] [ verification needed ]

Christian American reactions Edit

Two days following the attacks, on the Christian television program The 700 Club, television evangelist Jerry Falwell called the event a punishment from God and laid the blame on "paganists", "abortionists", "feminists" and "gays and lesbians", claiming that they "helped this happen". Host Pat Robertson concurred with the statements. Both evangelists came under attack from President George W. Bush for their statements [9] and Falwell subsequently apologized. [10] [11]

After the attacks many governments and organizations in the western world and several pro-U.S. allies expressed shock and sympathy, and were supportive of burgeoning efforts to combat terrorism. Among them are:

  • Argentina: Argentine PresidentFernando De La Rua expressed his "most absolute repudiation" against the terrorist attacks, and offered assistance to the United States which materialized in the form of medical and humanitarian assistance in support of the US-led intervention in Afghanistan. Humberto Roggero, then head of the opposition Justicialist Party, also condemned the attacks, as did other members of the government and society. [12][13]
  • Australia: Australian Prime MinisterJohn Howard was in Washington D.C on the morning of the attacks and invoked the ANZUS Treaty, saying it demonstrated "Australia's steadfast commitment to work with the United States." [14][15]
  • Austria: Church bells tolled in unison. [16]
  • Belgium: Hundreds of people held hands to form a human chain showing solidarity in front of the Brussels World Trade Center. [17]
  • Brazil: Rio de Janeiro put up billboards that showed the city's famous Christ the Redeemer statue embracing the New York City Skyline. [18]
  • Bulgaria: People gathered in town squares to light candles and pray. [17]
  • Burma (Myanmar): The Burmese government issued a letter to the United Nations on 30 November 2002 outlining its commitment to all counter terrorism efforts. The Burmese government stated its opposition to terrorism and declared government officials would not allow the country to be used as a safehaven or a location for the planning and execution of terrorist acts. [15]
  • Canada: Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said of the attacks, "It is impossible to fully comprehend the evil that would have conjured up such a cowardly and depraved assault upon thousands of innocent people." [19]Transport Canada and Nav Canada activated emergency protocols and commenced Operation Yellow Ribbon in response to the first plane hitting the World Trade Center, allowing all commercial flights entering the U.S. to land at Canadian airports and remain there. Many of those flights were directed to Gander International Airport, where extra RCMP personnel was deployed. The foreign travelers were housed and fed in Gander following the attacks.
  • Chile: The Chilean government of Ricardo Lagos through his foreign minister, expressed his condemnation of the attacks, in solidarity with the victims, in addition to lending their support to the United States in the fight against terrorism. In addition to convening the leaders of the Rio Group in order to take joint action in relation to terrorism and the position of the United States. [20]
  • China: Paramount leaderJiang Zemin said he was "shocked" and sent his condolences to President Bush, while the Foreign Ministry said China "opposed all manner" of terrorism. [15][21] In Beijing, tens of thousands of people visited the U.S. Embassy, leaving flowers, cards, funeral wreaths and hand-written notes of condolence on the sidewalk out front.
  • Croatia: Many school children in Dubrovnik took time to observe a moment of silence, and declared a National Day of Mourning. [17]
  • Cuba: The Cuban government expressed their pain and solidarity with its longtime adversary and offered air and medical facilities to help. [21]
  • Czech Republic: National Days of Mourning was declared. [17]
  • Estonia: Estonian PresidentLennart Meri sent a letter of condolences to George W. Bush: ”Estonia has stood with the United States in the past and we stand with our American friends in this hour of tragedy”, Meri wrote and added that "terrorism in all forms must be fought with every means possible, and that Estonia will support the United States in bringing those responsible for the attack to justice." [22]
  • Ethiopia: Ethiopians offered their prayers. [citation needed]
  • Finland: Buses and other public transportation came to a stop to pay tribute to the victims of the attacks. [17]
  • France: The French newspaper of record, Le Monde, ran a front-page headline reading "Nous sommes tous Américains" ("We are all Americans"). Following the attacks, then-French president Jacques Chirac released a statement: "It is with great emotion that France has learned of these monstrous attacks—there is no other word—that have recently hit the United States of America. And in these appalling circumstances, the whole French people—I want to say here—is beside the American people. France expresses its friendship and solidarity in this tragedy. Of course, I assure President George Bush of my total support. France, you know, has always condemned and unreservedly condemns terrorism, and considers that we must fight against terrorism by all means."
  • Germany: Chancellor Gerhard Schröder described the attacks as "a declaration of war against the entire civilized world." Authorities urged Frankfurt, the country's financial capital, to close all its major skyscrapers. The new Jewish museum in Berlin canceled its public opening. [21] In Berlin 200,000 Germans marched to show their solidarity with America. Three days after the attacks, the crew of the German destroyer Lütjensmanned the rails as they approached the American destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill, displaying an American flag and a banner reading "We Stand By You". [23]
  • Greece: Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis expressed his dismay of the attacks on the United States. quoting "Greece condemns, most categorically, these horrific acts. We hope that the culprits be located and brought to justice immediately." Many Greek citizens called the U.S. embassy to offer their support and express their outrage over the attacks. Security was also ramped up at American and other European embassies in Athens. Opposition candidate Kostas Karamanlis was in the United States at the time, attending the opening of a Greek Studies Department at Tufts University in Boston. Karamanlis also condemned the attacks. [citation needed]
  • Greenland: People gathered in Nuuk, and other town squares to light candles and offer prayers. [17]
  • Hungary: Firefighters tied black ribbons to their trucks in honor of the victims. [17]
  • India: India declared high alert across most of its major cities and conveyed "deepest sympathies" to the U.S. and condemned the attacks. [24] Children in the country taped up signs that read, "This is an attack on all of us". [17]
  • Ireland: A National Day of Mourning was held on September 14 and a remembrance mass held on September 12, 2001 Ireland was one of the few countries to hold a service day. TaoiseachBertie Ahern and PresidentMary McAleese were both in attendance. [25][26][27]
  • Italy: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said: "I am shocked at the terrifying, insane terrorist attack which has hit the people of a friendly nation as well as the conscience of the entire world." [28] Race car drivers preparing for the Italian Grand Prix silenced their engines out of respect for the victims of the attacks. [17] Ferrari ran their cars with no sponsors and a black nose out of respect during the Italian Grand Prix. [29] Students and public workers observed a three minutes' silence.
  • Japan: Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said, "This outrageous and vicious act of violence against the United States is unforgivable." Special security precautions were ordered at all United States military installations. [21]
  • Kenya: The Maasai people in a Kenyan village gave 14 cows to help and support the United States after the attacks. [30]
  • North Korea: A spokesperson for the North Korean Foreign Ministry in Pyongyang was quoted by the state-run news agency KCNA as saying: "The very regretful and tragic incident reminds it once again of the gravity of terrorism. As a UN member, the DPRK is opposed to all forms of terrorism and whatever support to it . and this stance will remain unchanged." [31][32]
  • South Korea: South Korean President Kim Dae-jung offered his condolences "to the people of America for their tremendous loss and the pain and the suffering that they suffer due to the terrorist attack." He also voiced his support for President Bush and the United States, and offered his full support and assistance. [33] South Korea also has strengthened its domestic legislation and institutions to combat financial support for terrorism, including the creation of a financial intelligence unit. [15]
  • Laos: The government of Laos has stated it condemns all forms of terrorism and supports the global war on terrorism. Its national bank, the Bank of Laos, has issued orders to freeze terrorist assets and instructed banks to locate and seize such assets, though the country is still slow to ratify international conventions against terrorism. [15]
  • Latvia: The President of LatviaVaira Vīķe-Freiberga sent condolences to George W. Bush while the Latvian Prime MinisterAndris Bērziņš said "I hope there is not a threat, but we must be ready for anything." [34]
  • Lithuania: Lithuanian PresidentValdas Adamkus during a visit to George W. Bush in Washington, D.C., expressed his sympathy with victims and deepest condolences to Bush and the American people. In a letter to President Bush, "The sympathies and solidarity of the Lithuanian people are with victims and their families. Lithuania strongly condemns international terrorism and hopes that the organizers of these attacks will be found and brought to justice. Mr. President, I want to assure you that Lithuania will continue to support the United States in fighting terrorists". [34]
  • Mexico: The Mexican government increased its security, causing enormous traffic jams at the United States border and officials said they were considering closing the entire border. President Vicente Fox expressed "solidarity and our most profound condolences". [21]
  • Mongolia: Permanent Representative of Mongolia Amb. J. Enkhsaikhan condemned the attacks, calling them "Barbaric" and "Heinous", and claimed: "The world community not only strongly condemned these barbaric acts and reiterated its determination to fight all manifestations of terrorism". [35]
  • New Zealand: New Zealand Prime MinisterHelen Clark stated "It's the sort of thing the worst movie scenario wouldn't dream up," [36] and a New Zealand Herald DigiPoll revealed that after the attacks that two thirds of New Zealanders supported a NZ pledge of troops to Afghanistan. [15][37]
    • In 2003, New Zealand began administering a "Pacific Security Fund" to vulnerable nations in the Pacific region aiming at securing and preventing terrorism from entering the region, there is an annual fund of NZD$3 million that is paid by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and is used to provide support to Pacific Island countries. [38]

    Almost all Muslim political and religious leaders condemned the attacks. The leaders vehemently denouncing the attacks included the leaders of Egypt (Hosni Mubarak), the Palestinian Authority (Yasser Arafat), Libya (Muammar Gaddafi), Syria (Bashar al-Assad), Iran (Mohamed Khatami) and Pakistan (Pervez Musharraf). [6] [51] The sole exception was Iraq, when the then-president Saddam Hussein, said of the attacks that "the American cowboys are reaping the fruit of their crimes against humanity". [52] Saddam would later offer sympathy to the Americans killed in the attacks. [53]

    In 2008, John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed published the findings of a six-year effort to poll and interview tens of thousands of Muslims in more than 35 countries with Muslim majorities or substantial minorities about reactions to the September 11 attacks: 23.1 percent of respondents said the attacks were in some way justified, and 7 percent viewed them as "completely justified." [54] According to Pew Research, the majority of Muslims do not believe the official 9/11 story. [55]

    • Afghanistan: Taliban rulers condemned the attacks, but vehemently rejected suggestions that Osama bin Laden, who had been given asylum in Afghanistan, could be behind them. [56]
    • Azerbaijan: Azerbaijanis gathered in town squares to light candles, pray and offered good wishes.
    • Bahrain: King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa condemned the 9/11 attacks.
    • Bangladesh: People gathered in mosques in prayer, and clerics condemned the attacks. [17]
    • Egypt: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak vehemently denounced the attacks.
    • Indonesia: President Megawati Sukarnoputri expressed public support for a global war on terrorism and promised to implement United Nations counter-terrorism resolutions however, the Indonesian government opposed unilateral US military action in Afghanistan, and thus, took limited action in support of international anti-terrorism efforts. [15] In addition, many Indonesians gathered on beaches to pray for the victims of the attacks. [17]
    • Iran: Iranian president Mohamed Khatami [57][58][59] and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei condemned and denounced the attacks and the terrorists who carried them out. Iranians who gathered for a soccer match in Tehran two days after the 9/11 attacks observed a moment of silence. There was also a candlelight vigil. Huge crowds attended candlelit vigils in Iran, and 60,000 spectators observed a minute's silence at Tehran's soccer stadium. [60][61] On Tuesday, September 25, in 2001, Iran's fifth president, Mohammad Khatami meeting British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, said: "Iran fully understands the feelings of the Americans about the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington on September 11." He said although the American administrations had been at best indifferent about terrorist operations in Iran (since 1979), the Iranians instead felt differently and had expressed their sympathetic feelings with bereaved Americans in the tragic incidents in the two cities." He also stated that "Nations should not be punished in place of terrorists." [62] According to Radio Farda's website, in 2011, on the anniversary of the attacks, United States Department of State, published a post at its blog, in which the Department thanked Iranian people for their sympathy and stated that they would never forget Iranian people's kindness on those harsh days. This piece of news at Radio Farda's website also states that after the attacks' news was released, some Iranian citizens gathered in front of the Embassy of Switzerland in Tehran, which serves as the protecting power of the United States in Iran, to express their sympathy and some of them lit candles as a symbol of mourning. [63]
    • Iraq: at first justified the attacks. "The American cowboys are reaping the fruit of their crimes against humanity," said an official Iraqi statement. The official al-Iraq newspaper called the event "a lesson for all tyrants, oppressors and criminals." [28] Later in October 2001, Saddam Hussein personally replied to a letter sent to him by an American citizen by offering his condolences and sympathy for the victims killed in the attacks. [64]
    • Israel: The day after the 9/11 attacks, Israeli Prime MinisterAriel Sharon condemned the attacks and urged the world to fight terrorism and declared a national day of mourning in solidarity with the United States. [21] He also offered to send a highly specialized military emergency team to America that could help rescue victims who were still stuck in the demolished buildings, as well as provide other support. Israeli officials said that 100 to 200 people were already loaded in a plane waiting on a Tel Aviv runway, ready to fly to the U.S. as soon as America gave permission. [65] To commemorate and honor the victims of terror attacks, the 9/11 Living Memorial Plaza, a Cenotaph designed by Eliezer Weishoff, was built in Ramot, Jerusalem. The 9/11 Living Memorial Plaza is the only 9/11 Memorial outside of the United States that includes the names of all 2,997 victims. [66]
    • Jordan: King Abdullah II condemned the 9/11 attacks. Many Jordanians signed letters of sympathy and condolences.
    • Kazakhstan: The Kazakhstani government offered the use of its airspace for relief and offered its condolences. [17]
    • Kuwait: The Kuwaiti government condemned and denounced the 9/11 attacks. Some Kuwaitis lined up at local Red Crescent hospitals to donate blood. The Embassy published a statement in the New York Times.[67]
    • Kyrgyzstan: The government of Kyrgyzstan offered its condolences, as well as the use of its airspace.
    • Lebanon: Lebanese President Émile Lahoud and prime minister Rafic Hariri both condemned the 9/11 attacks. Lebanese generals signed and sent letters of sympathy.
    • Libya: Muammar Gaddafi called the attacks "horrifying." He called on Muslim aid groups to join international assistance efforts to the US, "regardless of political considerations or differences between America and the peoples of the world." [28]
    • Malaysia: Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad immediately condemned the attacks and promised to fight terrorism within Malaysia. [68] Since the attacks, Malaysia together with its neighbor of Singapore began to cooperate with the United States through exchange of intelligence information and coordinating security measures against possible terrorist attacks and pledged full support for the US-led effort to combat terrorism. [15][41]
    • Morocco: Senior government officials attended an ecumenical ceremony at the cathedral of Rabat, after the condemnation by the King Mohammed VI of Morocco. [69]
    • Pakistan: Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf condemned the attacks. Some Islamic clerics in a few Paskistani mosques also condemned the attacks. [17] However, a 2004 Pew poll found that 65% of Pakistanis viewed Osama Bin Laden favorably. [70]
    • Qatar: Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani condemned the 9/11 attacks and denounced the terrorists who carried them out.
    • Sudan: The Sudanese leaders and several Muslim clerics in Sudan denounced the attacks.
    • Syria: President Bashar al-Assad also condemned the attacks.
    • Tajikistan: The Tajik government denounced the attacks. People gathered in squares to light candles, prayed and offered good wishes.
    • Turkey: Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit condemned the attacks. The Turkish government then ordered all of its flags at half-mast for one day of mourning.
    • Turkmenistan offered its condolences and offered the use of its airspace for relief.
    • Uzbekistan: Leaders in Uzbekistan condemned the attacks and called the White House to offer its condolences and also offered the use of its airspace.
    • Yemen: Clerics in Yemeni mosques heavily denounced the attacks and labelled them as "cowardly" and "un-Islamic". [17]

    Palestinian celebrations Edit

    A group of Palestinians were filmed celebrating in the street after hearing the local news reports of attacks on the World Trade Center and the deaths of thousands of Americans. Fox News reported that in Ein el-Hilweh, Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp, revelers fired weapons in the air, with similar celebratory gunfire also heard at the Rashidiyeh camp near the southern city of Tyre. [56] Yasser Arafat and nearly all the leaders of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) condemned the attacks. They attempted to censure and discredit broadcasts and other Palestinian news reports justifying the attacks in America, [56] with many newspapers, magazines, websites and wire services running photographs of Palestinian public celebrations. [71] [72] The PNA claimed such celebrations were not representative of the sentiments of the Palestinian people, and the Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said the PNA would not allow "a few kids" to "smear the real face of the Palestinians". In an attempt to quell further reporting, Ahmed Abdel Rahman, Arafat's Cabinet secretary, said the Palestinian Authority could not "guarantee the life" of an Associated Press (AP) cameraman if footage he filmed of post-9/11 celebrations in Nablus was broadcast. Rahman's statement prompted a formal protest from the AP bureau chief, Dan Perry. [73] [74] [72]

    Arafat said of the attacks: "It's unbelievable. We completely condemn this very dangerous attack, and I convey my condolences to the American people, to the American president and to the American administration, not only in my name but on behalf of the Palestinian people." He gave blood for victims of the attack in a Gaza hospital. [28]

    James Bennet reported in the New York Times that while "most" towns in the West Bank were quiet, some drivers in East Jerusalem were honking horns in celebration he also claimed that he saw one man passing out celebratory candy. [75] Big crowds of Palestinians celebrated in Nablus, chanting Beloved bin Laden, strike Tel Aviv! while Palestinian Authority personnel prevented photographers from taking pictures. [75] Annette Krüger Spitta of the German public broadcaster ARD's TV magazine Panorama states that unaired footage shows the street surrounding the celebration in Jerusalem was quiet. Furthermore, she states that a man in a white T-shirt incited the children and gathered people together for the shot. The Panorama report, dated September 20, 2001, quotes Communications Professor Martin Löffelholz explaining that in the images one sees jubilant Palestinian children and several adults, but there is no indication that their pleasure is related to the attack. The woman seen cheering (Nawal Abdel Fatah) stated afterwards that she was offered cake if she celebrated on camera, and was frightened when she saw the pictures on television afterward. [76] [77]

    There was also a rumour that the footage of some Palestinians celebrating the attacks was stock footage of Palestinian reactions to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. [78] This rumour was proven false shortly afterwards, [79] and CNN issued a statement to that effect. [80] A poll conducted by the A Fafo Foundation poll of Palestinians in 2005, however, found that 65% of respondents supported "Al Qaeda bombings in the USA and Europe". [81]

    • European Union: European foreign ministers scheduled a rare emergency meeting the next day of the attacks to discuss a joint response, as officials expressed solidarity with the United States. The external relations commissioner, Chris Patten, called the attacks "the work of a madman." [21]
    • NATO held an emergency meeting of the alliance's ambassadors in Brussels. The secretary general, Lord Robertson, promised the United States that it could rely on its allies in North America and Europe for assistance and support, and pledged that those responsible would not get away with it. [21] In response Article 5 was invoked and was confirmed on October 4, 2001.
    • United Nations: The United Nations Security Council members condemned the attacks and adopted Resolution 1368, by which they expressed readiness to take all necessary steps to respond to the attacks of September 11 and to combat all forms of terrorism in accordance with their Charter responsibilities. [82] Then-Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, said: "We are all traumatized by this terrible tragedy." [21]

    Other Muslim organizations Edit

    • Renowned Muslim scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi denounced the attacks and the unprovoked killings of thousands of American civilians as a "heinous crime" and urged Muslims to donate blood to the victims. He did, however, criticize the United States' "biased policy towards Israel" and also called on Muslims to "concentrate on facing the occupying enemy directly", inside the Palestinian territories. [83] The alleged Hezbollah "spiritual mentor" and Lebanese Shia cleric Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah condemned the attacks.
    • Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas, stated: "We are not ready to move our struggle outside the occupied Palestinian land. We are not prepared to open international fronts, however much we criticize the unfair American position." Yassin also stated: "No doubt this is a result of injustice the U.S practices against the weak in the world." [56][84]
    • Hezbollah condemned targeting civilians in the September 11 attacks. [85][86]

    Polls taken several years later by Saudi-owned Al Arabiya and Gallup suggest some support for the September 11 attacks within the Islamic world, with 38% believing the attacks to be not justified, while 36% believing them to be justified when Saudis were polled in 2011. [87] Another 2008 study, produced by Gallup, found that 7% of the sample of Muslims polled believing the 9/11 attacks were "completely" justified. [88]


    On 4 March 1947, the Treaty of Dunkirk was signed by France and the United Kingdom as a Treaty of Alliance and Mutual Assistance in the event of a possible attack by Germany or the Soviet Union in the aftermath of World War II. In 1948, this alliance was expanded to include the Benelux countries, in the form of the Western Union, also referred to as the Brussels Treaty Organization (BTO), established by the Treaty of Brussels. [9] Talks for a new military alliance, which could also include North America, resulted in the signature of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949 by the member states of the Western Union plus the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. [10]

    The North Atlantic Treaty was largely dormant until the Korean War initiated the establishment of NATO to implement it, by means of an integrated military structure: This included the formation of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in 1951, which adopted the Western Union's military structures and plans. [11] In 1952, the post of Secretary General of NATO was established as the organization's chief civilian. That year also saw the first major NATO maritime exercises, Exercise Mainbrace and the accession of Greece and Turkey to the organization. [12] [13] Following the London and Paris Conferences, West Germany was permitted to rearm militarily, as they joined NATO in May 1955, which was, in turn, a major factor in the creation of the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact, delineating the two opposing sides of the Cold War.

    The building of the Berlin Wall in 1962 marked a height in Cold War tensions, when 400,000 US troops were stationed in Europe. [14] Doubts over the strength of the relationship between the European states and the United States ebbed and flowed, along with doubts over the credibility of the NATO defence against a prospective Soviet invasion – doubts that led to the development of the independent French nuclear deterrent and the withdrawal of France from NATO's military structure in 1966. [15] [16] In 1982, the newly democratic Spain joined the alliance. [17]

    The Revolutions of 1989 in Europe led to a strategic re-evaluation of NATO's purpose, nature, tasks, and focus on that continent. In October 1990, East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany and the alliance, and in November 1990, the alliance signed the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) in Paris with the Soviet Union. It mandated specific military reductions across the continent, which continued after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact in February 1991 and dissolution of the Soviet Union in that December, which removed the de facto main adversaries of NATO. [18] This began a draw-down of military spending and equipment in Europe. The CFE treaty allowed signatories to remove 52,000 pieces of conventional armaments in the following sixteen years, [19] and allowed military spending by NATO's European members to decline by 28% from 1990 to 2015. [20]

    In the 1990s, the organization extended its activities into political and humanitarian situations that had not formerly been NATO concerns. [21] During the break-up of Yugoslavia, the organization conducted its first military interventions in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 and later Yugoslavia in 1999. [22] These conflicts motivated a major post-Cold War military restructuring. NATO's military structure was cut back and reorganized, with new forces such as the Headquarters Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps established. The changes brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union on the military balance in Europe since the CFE treaty were recognized in the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, which was signed at the 1999 Istanbul summit. [ citation needed ]

    Politically, the organization sought better relations with the newly autonomous Central and Eastern European nations, and diplomatic forums for regional cooperation between NATO and its neighbours were set up during this post-Cold War period, including the Partnership for Peace and the Mediterranean Dialogue initiative in 1994, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997, and the NATO–Russia Permanent Joint Council in 1998. At the 1999 Washington summit, Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic officially joined NATO, and the organization also issued new guidelines for membership with individualized "Membership Action Plans". These plans governed the addition of new alliance members: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia in 2004, Albania and Croatia in 2009, Montenegro in 2017, and North Macedonia in 2020. [ citation needed ] The election of French President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007 led to a major reform of France's military position, culminating with the return to full membership on 4 April 2009, which also included France rejoining the NATO Military Command Structure, while maintaining an independent nuclear deterrent. [16] [23] [24]

    Article 5 of the North Atlantic treaty, requiring member states to come to the aid of any member state subject to an armed attack, was invoked for the first and only time after the September 11 attacks, [25] after which troops were deployed to Afghanistan under the NATO-led ISAF. The organization has operated a range of additional roles since then, including sending trainers to Iraq, assisting in counter-piracy operations [26] and in 2011 enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1973. Article 4, which merely invokes consultation among NATO members, has been invoked five times following incidents in the Iraq War, Syrian Civil War, and Russia's annexation of Crimea. [27] This annexation led to strong condemnation by NATO nations and the creation of a new "spearhead" force of 5,000 troops at bases in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria. [28] At the subsequent 2014 Wales summit, the leaders of NATO's member states formally committed for the first time to spend the equivalent of at least 2% of their gross domestic products on defence by 2024, which had previously been only an informal guideline. [29] In 2014, only 3 out of 30 NATO members reached this target (including the US) by 2020 this had increased to 11. Taken together, in 2020, the 29 non-US member states had six consecutive years of defence spending growth, bringing their average spending to 1.73% of GDP. [30] NATO did not condemn the 2016–present purges in Turkey. [31] As a result of the Turkish invasion of Kurdish-inhabited areas in Syria, Turkey's intervention in Libya and the Cyprus–Turkey maritime zones dispute, there are signs of a schism between Turkey and other NATO members. [32] [33] NATO members have resisted the UN's Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, a binding agreement for negotiations for the total elimination of nuclear weapons, supported by more than 120 nations. [34]

    Early operations

    No military operations were conducted by NATO during the Cold War. Following the end of the Cold War, the first operations, Anchor Guard in 1990 and Ace Guard in 1991, were prompted by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Airborne early warning aircraft were sent to provide coverage of southeastern Turkey, and later a quick-reaction force was deployed to the area. [35]

    Bosnia and Herzegovina intervention

    The Bosnian War began in 1992, as a result of the break-up of Yugoslavia. The deteriorating situation led to United Nations Security Council Resolution 816 on 9 October 1992, ordering a no-fly zone over central Bosnia and Herzegovina, which NATO began enforcing on 12 April 1993 with Operation Deny Flight. From June 1993 until October 1996, Operation Sharp Guard added maritime enforcement of the arms embargo and economic sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 28 February 1994, NATO took its first wartime action by shooting down four Bosnian Serb aircraft violating the no-fly zone. [36]

    On 10 and 11 April 1994, the United Nations Protection Force called in air strikes to protect the Goražde safe area, resulting in the bombing of a Bosnian Serb military command outpost near Goražde by two US F-16 jets acting under NATO direction. [37] In retaliation, Serbs took 150 U.N. personnel hostage on 14 April. [38] [39] On 16 April a British Sea Harrier was shot down over Goražde by Serb forces. [40]

    In August 1995, a two-week NATO bombing campaign, Operation Deliberate Force, began against the Army of the Republika Srpska, after the Srebrenica genocide. [41] Further NATO air strikes helped bring the Yugoslav wars to an end, resulting in the Dayton Agreement in November 1995. [41] As part of this agreement, NATO deployed a UN-mandated peacekeeping force, under Operation Joint Endeavor, named IFOR. Almost 60,000 NATO troops were joined by forces from non-NATO nations in this peacekeeping mission. This transitioned into the smaller SFOR, which started with 32,000 troops initially and ran from December 1996 until December 2004, when operations were then passed onto European Union Force Althea. [42] Following the lead of its member nations, NATO began to award a service medal, the NATO Medal, for these operations. [43]

    Kosovo intervention

    In an effort to stop Slobodan Milošević's Serbian-led crackdown on KLA separatists and Albanian civilians in Kosovo, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1199 on 23 September 1998 to demand a ceasefire. Negotiations under US Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke broke down on 23 March 1999, and he handed the matter to NATO, [44] which started a 78-day bombing campaign on 24 March 1999. [45] Operation Allied Force targeted the military capabilities of what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. During the crisis, NATO also deployed one of its international reaction forces, the ACE Mobile Force (Land), to Albania as the Albania Force (AFOR), to deliver humanitarian aid to refugees from Kosovo. [46]

    Though the campaign was criticized for high civilian casualties, including bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Milošević finally accepted the terms of an international peace plan on 3 June 1999, ending the Kosovo War. On 11 June, Milošević further accepted UN resolution 1244, under the mandate of which NATO then helped establish the KFOR peacekeeping force. Nearly one million refugees had fled Kosovo, and part of KFOR's mandate was to protect the humanitarian missions, in addition to deterring violence. [46] [47] In August–September 2001, the alliance also mounted Operation Essential Harvest, a mission disarming ethnic Albanian militias in the Republic of Macedonia. [48] As of 1 December 2013 [update] , 4,882 KFOR soldiers, representing 31 countries, continue to operate in the area. [49]

    The US, the UK, and most other NATO countries opposed efforts to require the UN Security Council to approve NATO military strikes, such as the action against Serbia in 1999, while France and some others claimed that the alliance needed UN approval. [50] The US/UK side claimed that this would undermine the authority of the alliance, and they noted that Russia and China would have exercised their Security Council vetoes to block the strike on Yugoslavia, and could do the same in future conflicts where NATO intervention was required, thus nullifying the entire potency and purpose of the organization. Recognizing the post-Cold War military environment, NATO adopted the Alliance Strategic Concept during its Washington summit in April 1999 that emphasized conflict prevention and crisis management. [51]

    War in Afghanistan

    The September 11 attacks in the United States caused NATO to invoke Article 5 of the NATO Charter for the first time in the organization's history. [52] The Article states that an attack on any member shall be considered to be an attack on all. The invocation was confirmed on 4 October 2001 when NATO determined that the attacks were indeed eligible under the terms of the North Atlantic Treaty. [53] The eight official actions taken by NATO in response to the attacks included Operation Eagle Assist and Operation Active Endeavour, a naval operation in the Mediterranean Sea designed to prevent the movement of terrorists or weapons of mass destruction, and to enhance the security of shipping in general, which began on 4 October 2001. [54]

    The alliance showed unity: On 16 April 2003, NATO agreed to take command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which included troops from 42 countries. The decision came at the request of Germany and the Netherlands, the two nations leading ISAF at the time of the agreement, and all nineteen NATO ambassadors approved it unanimously. The handover of control to NATO took place on 11 August, and marked the first time in NATO's history that it took charge of a mission outside the north Atlantic area. [55]

    ISAF was initially charged with securing Kabul and surrounding areas from the Taliban, al Qaeda and factional warlords, so as to allow for the establishment of the Afghan Transitional Administration headed by Hamid Karzai. In October 2003, the UN Security Council authorized the expansion of the ISAF mission throughout Afghanistan, [56] and ISAF subsequently expanded the mission in four main stages over the whole of the country. [57]

    On 31 July 2006, the ISAF additionally took over military operations in the south of Afghanistan from a US-led anti-terrorism coalition. [58] Due to the intensity of the fighting in the south, in 2011 France allowed a squadron of Mirage 2000 fighter/attack aircraft to be moved into the area, to Kandahar, in order to reinforce the alliance's efforts. [59] During its 2012 Chicago Summit, NATO endorsed a plan to end the Afghanistan war and to remove the NATO-led ISAF Forces by the end of December 2014. [60] ISAF was disestablished in December 2014 and replaced by the follow-on training Resolute Support Mission. [61]

    Iraq training mission

    In August 2004, during the Iraq War, NATO formed the NATO Training Mission – Iraq, a training mission to assist the Iraqi security forces in conjunction with the US-led MNF-I. [62] The NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I) was established at the request of the Iraqi Interim Government under the provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1546. The aim of NTM-I was to assist in the development of Iraqi security forces training structures and institutions so that Iraq can build an effective and sustainable capability that addresses the needs of the nation. NTM-I was not a combat mission but is a distinct mission, under the political control of the North Atlantic Council. Its operational emphasis was on training and mentoring. The activities of the mission were coordinated with Iraqi authorities and the US-led Deputy Commanding General Advising and Training, who was also dual-hatted as the Commander of NTM-I. The mission officially concluded on 17 December 2011. [63]

    Turkey invoked the first Article 4 meetings in 2003 at the start of the Iraq War. Turkey also invoked this article twice in 2012 during the Syrian Civil War, after the downing of an unarmed Turkish F-4 reconnaissance jet, and after a mortar was fired at Turkey from Syria, [64] and again in 2015 after threats by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to its territorial integrity. [65]

    Gulf of Aden anti-piracy

    Beginning on 17 August 2009, NATO deployed warships in an operation to protect maritime traffic in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean from Somali pirates, and help strengthen the navies and coast guards of regional states. The operation was approved by the North Atlantic Council and involves warships primarily from the United States though vessels from many other nations are also included. Operation Ocean Shield focuses on protecting the ships of Operation Allied Provider which are distributing aid as part of the World Food Programme mission in Somalia. Russia, China and South Korea have sent warships to participate in the activities as well. [66] [67] The operation seeks to dissuade and interrupt pirate attacks, protect vessels, and abetting to increase the general level of security in the region. [68]

    Libya intervention

    During the Libyan Civil War, violence between protesters and the Libyan government under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi escalated, and on 17 March 2011 led to the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which called for a ceasefire, and authorized military action to protect civilians. A coalition that included several NATO members began enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya shortly afterwards, beginning with Opération Harmattan by the French Air Force on 19 March.

    On 20 March 2011, NATO states agreed on enforcing an arms embargo against Libya with Operation Unified Protector using ships from NATO Standing Maritime Group 1 and Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 1, [69] and additional ships and submarines from NATO members. [70] They would "monitor, report and, if needed, interdict vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries". [69]

    On 24 March, NATO agreed to take control of the no-fly zone from the initial coalition, while command of targeting ground units remained with the coalition's forces. [71] [72] NATO began officially enforcing the UN resolution on 27 March 2011 with assistance from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. [73] By June, reports of divisions within the alliance surfaced as only eight of the 28 member nations were participating in combat operations, [74] resulting in a confrontation between US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and countries such as Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Germany to contribute more, the latter believing the organization has overstepped its mandate in the conflict. [75] [76] [77] In his final policy speech in Brussels on 10 June, Gates further criticized allied countries in suggesting their actions could cause the demise of NATO. [78] The German foreign ministry pointed to "a considerable [German] contribution to NATO and NATO-led operations" and to the fact that this engagement was highly valued by President Obama. [79]

    While the mission was extended into September, Norway that day announced it would begin scaling down contributions and complete withdrawal by 1 August. [80] Earlier that week it was reported Danish air fighters were running out of bombs. [81] [82] The following week, the head of the Royal Navy said the country's operations in the conflict were not sustainable. [83] By the end of the mission in October 2011, after the death of Colonel Gaddafi, NATO planes had flown about 9,500 strike sorties against pro-Gaddafi targets. [84] [85] A report from the organization Human Rights Watch in May 2012 identified at least 72 civilians killed in the campaign. [86] Following a coup d'état attempt in October 2013, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan requested technical advice and trainers from NATO to assist with ongoing security issues. [87]

    • Albania
    • Belgium
    • Bulgaria
    • Canada
    • Croatia
    • Czech Republic
    • Denmark
    • Estonia
    • France
    • Germany
    • Greece
    • Hungary
    • Iceland
    • Italy
    • Latvia
    • Lithuania
    • Luxembourg
    • Montenegro
    • Netherlands
    • North Macedonia
    • Norway
    • Poland
    • Portugal
    • Romania
    • Slovakia
    • Slovenia
    • Spain
    • Turkey
    • United Kingdom
    • United States
    • Armenia
    • Austria
    • Azerbaijan
    • Belarus
    • Bosnia-Herzegovina
    • Finland
    • Georgia
    • Ireland
    • Kazakhstan
    • Kyrgyzstan
    • Malta
    • Moldova
    • Russia
    • Serbia
    • Sweden
    • Switzerland
    • Tajikistan
    • Turkmenistan
    • Ukraine
    • Uzbekistan

    NATO has thirty members, mainly in Europe and North America. Some of these countries also have territory on multiple continents, which can be covered only as far south as the Tropic of Cancer in the Atlantic Ocean, which defines NATO's "area of responsibility" under Article 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty. During the original treaty negotiations, the United States insisted that colonies such as the Belgian Congo be excluded from the treaty. [88] [89] French Algeria was however covered until their independence on 3 July 1962. [90] Twelve of these thirty are original members who joined in 1949, while the other eighteen joined in one of eight enlargement rounds.

    From the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s, France pursued a military strategy of independence from NATO under a policy dubbed "Gaullo-Mitterrandism". [ citation needed ] Nicolas Sarkozy negotiated the return of France to the integrated military command and the Defence Planning Committee in 2009, the latter being disbanded the following year. France remains the only NATO member outside the Nuclear Planning Group and unlike the United States and the United Kingdom, will not commit its nuclear-armed submarines to the alliance. [16] [23] Few members spend more than two percent of their gross domestic product on defence, [91] with the United States accounting for three quarters of NATO defence spending. [92]


    New membership in the alliance has been largely from Central and Eastern Europe, including former members of the Warsaw Pact. Accession to the alliance is governed with individual Membership Action Plans, and requires approval by each current member. NATO currently has one candidate country that is in the process of joining the alliance: Bosnia and Herzegovina. North Macedonia signed an accession protocol to become a NATO member state in February 2019, and became a member state on 27 March 2020. [93] [94] Its accession had been blocked by Greece for many years due to the Macedonia naming dispute, which was resolved in 2018 by the Prespa agreement. [95] In order to support each other in the process, new and potential members in the region formed the Adriatic Charter in 2003. [96] Georgia was also named as an aspiring member, and was promised "future membership" during the 2008 summit in Bucharest, [97] though in 2014, US President Barack Obama said the country was not "currently on a path" to membership. [98]

    Russia continues to politically oppose further expansion, seeing it as inconsistent with informal understandings between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and European and US negotiators that allowed for a peaceful German reunification. [99] NATO's expansion efforts are often seen by Moscow leaders as a continuation of a Cold War attempt to surround and isolate Russia, [100] though they have also been criticized in the West. [101] A June 2016 Levada poll found that 68% of Russians think that deploying NATO troops in the Baltic states and Poland—former Eastern bloc countries bordering Russia—is a threat to Russia. [102] In contrast 65% of Poles surveyed in a 2017 Pew Research Center report identified Russia as a "major threat", with an average of 31% saying so across all NATO countries, [103] and 67% of Poles surveyed in 2018 favour US forces being based in Poland. [104] Of non-CIS Eastern European countries surveyed by Gallup in 2016, all but Serbia and Montenegro were more likely than not to view NATO as a protective alliance rather than a threat. [105] A 2006 study in the journal Security Studies argued that NATO enlargement contributed to democratic consolidation in Central and Eastern Europe. [106]

    Ukraine's relationship with NATO and Europe has been politically controversial, and improvement of these relations was one of the goals of the "Euromaidan" protests that saw the ousting of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. Ukraine is one of eight countries in Eastern Europe with an Individual Partnership Action Plan. IPAPs began in 2002, and are open to countries that have the political will and ability to deepen their relationship with NATO. [107] On February 21, 2019, the Constitution of Ukraine was amended, the norms on the strategic course of Ukraine for membership in the European Union and NATO are enshrined in the preamble of the Basic Law, three articles and transitional provisions. [108] At the June 2021 Brussels Summit, NATO leaders reiterated the decision taken at the 2008 Bucharest Summit that Ukraine would become a member of the Alliance with the Membership Action Plan (MAP) as an integral part of the process and Ukraine's right to determine its own future and foreign policy, of course without outside interference. [109]

    The Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme was established in 1994 and is based on individual bilateral relations between each partner country and NATO: each country may choose the extent of its participation. [111] Members include all current and former members of the Commonwealth of Independent States. [112] The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) was first established on 29 May 1997, and is a forum for regular coordination, consultation and dialogue between all fifty participants. [113] The PfP programme is considered the operational wing of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership. [111] Other third countries also have been contacted for participation in some activities of the PfP framework such as Afghanistan. [114]

    The European Union (EU) signed a comprehensive package of arrangements with NATO under the Berlin Plus agreement on 16 December 2002. With this agreement, the EU was given the possibility of using NATO assets in case it wanted to act independently in an international crisis, on the condition that NATO itself did not want to act – the so-called "right of first refusal". [115] For example, Article 42(7) of the 1982 Treaty of Lisbon specifies that "If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power". The treaty applies globally to specified territories whereas NATO is restricted under its Article 6 to operations north of the Tropic of Cancer. It provides a "double framework" for the EU countries that are also linked with the PfP programme. [ citation needed ]

    Additionally, NATO cooperates and discusses its activities with numerous other non-NATO members. The Mediterranean Dialogue was established in 1994 to coordinate in a similar way with Israel and countries in North Africa. The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative was announced in 2004 as a dialogue forum for the Middle East along the same lines as the Mediterranean Dialogue. The four participants are also linked through the Gulf Cooperation Council. [116] In June 2018, Qatar expressed its wish to join NATO. [117] However, NATO declined membership, stating that only additional European countries could join according to Article 10 of NATO's founding treaty. [118] Qatar and NATO have previously signed a security agreement together in January 2018. [119]

    Political dialogue with Japan began in 1990, and since then, the Alliance has gradually increased its contact with countries that do not form part of any of these cooperation initiatives. [120] In 1998, NATO established a set of general guidelines that do not allow for a formal institutionalization of relations, but reflect the Allies' desire to increase cooperation. Following extensive debate, the term "Contact Countries" was agreed by the Allies in 2000. By 2012, the Alliance had broadened this group, which meets to discuss issues such as counter-piracy and technology exchange, under the names "partners across the globe" or "global partners". [121] [122] Australia and New Zealand, both contact countries, are also members of the AUSCANNZUKUS strategic alliance, and similar regional or bilateral agreements between contact countries and NATO members also aid cooperation. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that NATO needs to "address the rise of China," by closely cooperating with Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea. [123] Colombia is the NATO's latest partner and Colombia has access to the full range of cooperative activities NATO offers to partners Colombia became the first and only Latin American country to cooperate with NATO. [124]

    All agencies and organizations of NATO are integrated into either the civilian administrative or military executive roles. For the most part they perform roles and functions that directly or indirectly support the security role of the alliance as a whole.

    The civilian structure includes:

    • The North Atlantic Council (NAC) is the body which has effective governance authority and powers of decision in NATO, consisting of member states' permanent representatives or representatives at higher level (ministers of foreign affairs or defence, or heads of state or government). The NAC convenes at least once a week and takes major decisions regarding NATO's policies. The meetings of the North Atlantic Council are chaired by the Secretary General and, when decisions have to be made, action is agreed upon on the basis of unanimity and common accord. There is no voting or decision by majority. Each nation represented at the Council table or on any of its subordinate committees retains complete sovereignty and responsibility for its own decisions. [citation needed]
      , located on Boulevard Léopold III/Leopold III-laan, B-1110 Brussels, which is in Haren, part of the City of Brussels municipality. [125] The staff at the Headquarters is composed of national delegations of member countries and includes civilian and military liaison offices and officers or diplomatic missions and diplomats of partner countries, as well as the International Staff and International Military Staff filled from serving members of the armed forces of member states. [126] Non-governmental citizens' groups have also grown up in support of NATO, broadly under the banner of the Atlantic Council/Atlantic Treaty Association movement. [citation needed]
  • The military structure includes:

    • The Military Committee (MC) is the body of NATO that is composed of member states' Chiefs of Defence (CHOD) and advises the North Atlantic Council (NAC) on military policy and strategy. The national CHODs are regularly represented in the MC by their permanent Military Representatives (MilRep), who often are two- or three-star flag officers. Like the council, from time to time the Military Committee also meets at a higher level, namely at the level of Chiefs of Defence, the most senior military officer in each nation's armed forces. The MC is led by its chairman, who directs NATO's military operations. [citation needed] Until 2008 the Military Committee excluded France, due to that country's 1966 decision to remove itself from the NATO Military Command Structure, which it rejoined in 1995. Until France rejoined NATO, it was not represented on the Defence Planning Committee, and this led to conflicts between it and NATO members. [127] Such was the case in the lead up to Operation Iraqi Freedom. [128] The operational work of the committee is supported by the International Military Staff
      (ACO) is the NATO command responsible for NATO operations worldwide. [citation needed]
      • The Rapid Deployable Corps include Eurocorps, I. German/Dutch Corps, Multinational Corps Northeast, and NATO Rapid Deployable Italian Corps among others, as well as naval High Readiness Forces (HRFs), which all report to Allied Command Operations. [129]
        (ACT), responsible for transformation and training of NATO forces.
    • The organizations and agencies of NATO include:

      • Headquarters for the NATO Support Agency will be in Capellen Luxembourg (site of the current NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency – NAMSA).
      • The NATO Communications and Information Agency Headquarters will be in Brussels, as will the very small staff which will design the new NATO Procurement Agency.
      • A new NATO Science and Technology Organization will be created before July 2012, consisting of Chief Scientist, a Programme Office for Collaborative S&T, and the NATO Undersea Research Centre (NURC).
      • The current NATO Standardization Agency will continue and be subject to review by Spring 2014. [citation needed]

      The NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) is a body that sets broad strategic goals for NATO, which meets at two session per year. NATO PA interacts directly with the parliamentary structures of the national governments of the member states which appoint Permanent Members, or ambassadors to NATO. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly is made up of legislators from the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance as well as thirteen associate members. It is however officially a different structure from NATO, and has as aim to join together deputies of NATO countries in order to discuss security policies on the NATO Council. [ citation needed ]

      Similar organizations

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      What Does NATO Do, Anyway?

      The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, the largest and most powerful military alliance in history, is not usually fodder for election-year politicking. But in an interview with the Times earlier this week, Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump said that the United States should not automatically honor NATO’s core principle of mutual defense, specifically if Russia invaded several newer members of the alliance, the three strategic Baltic states and former Soviet republics—Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. In a sharp rebuke, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Thursday that the principle of mutual defense is “ironclad.” He told reporters, “There should be no mistake or miscalculation made about this country’s commitment to the transatlantic alliance.”

      NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned, “We defend one another. . . . Two world wars have shown that peace in Europe is also important for the security of the United States.” Solidarity among allies is “a key value for NATO,” he said, in a statement. Trump’s comments came under fire from fellow-Republicans, too. “Statements like these make the world more dangerous and the United States less safe,” Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, tweeted.

      NATO grew out of America’s Marshall Plan to help rebuild a stable and secure Europe after the Second World War. It came from a bipartisan effort by President Harry Truman and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Arthur Vandenberg, a Michigan Republican—and has had bipartisan support ever since. The original twelve members have since more than doubled to twenty-eight nations. One of the member nations’ biggest tasks today is the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL). NATO members have been in Washington this week, convening with the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State, which is now preparing for the battle over strategic Mosul, Iraq, the largest city under ISIS’s control.

      Since 2013, Douglas Lute, a former three-star general and graduate of West Point, has been the U.S. Ambassador to NATO, whose headquarters are in Brussels. In 2007, President George W. Bush appointed Lute to be deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan, a position nicknamed the “war czar” during the U.S. surge in Iraq. He was one of three senior officials retained by President Obama, who later appointed him to be the top envoy to NATO. Lute talked to me on Thursday about the role and history of NATO. The interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

      What role does NATO play in global security today?

      After the Second World War, the U.S. and a set of eleven other countries joined together and said essentially, “We’re not doing that again. There’s got to be a better way forward. We can work together to prevent aggression against us and to insure we don’t aggress against each other.” The Washington Treaty was signed in 1949. The foundation of it is the “mutual defense” clause, Article Five, that says an attack on one nation is considered an attack on all of them.

      And it’s worked. NATO has kept the peace in Europe and bound together the U.S., Canada, and European allies in a way that has been fundamentally stabilizing for the world order. It has had an outsized influence beyond that territory. It’s really served as the anchor for world security over the last sixty-seven years.

      When has Article Five been invoked?

      Only once in sixty-seven years. Throughout the Cold War it was never invoked. But on 9/11, with nearly three thousand people, not all Americans, lost in New York and Washington, the Council at NATO headquarters, in Brussels, unanimously agreed to offer its assistance to the United States under Article Five. This is quite ironic. NATO was founded on the premise of preventing an attack by the Soviet Union in Central Europe, where the U.S. would have to come to the aid of Europe. But the tables were completely turned. The one historic example we have of NATO in operation for its founding purpose—which is collective defense—had NATO coming to U.S. assistance after 9/11.

      Where has NATO been deployed, and why? How has it evolved?

      I’d break down the history of NATO into three parts. For the first forty years, NATO focussed on its greatest risk—the threat that the Soviet Union posed to Western European security. When the Berlin Wall fell, in 1989, and, two years later, the Soviet Union broke apart, NATO took a few years to find itself. Its raison d’être had been removed. It became clear not long after 1991 that Europe faced new instability along its borders that could infect Europe itself, so NATO adapted. The earliest and most prominent case was the breakup of Yugoslavia. NATO was drawn in to stop the fighting in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 1995. Sixty thousand NATO troops left the central front and moved into the Balkans. Four years later, in 1999, NATO stopped the humanitarian crisis in Kosovo and then stabilized the security situation. NATO still has five thousand troops in Kosovo keeping watch on a fragile security situation.

      Then, in 2001, 9/11 takes place and NATO launches into its largest ever and longest ever combat operation in Afghanistan. NATO has over twelve thousand troops still stabilizing Afghanistan, training Afghan forces, and making sure that Afghanistan does not revert to a terrorist safe haven. So there’s a period of about the last twenty-five years where NATO has tried to promote stability beyond its territories and taken its military capacity beyond its periphery.

      Today we may be on the edge of the next phase of NATO. We have now a very different Russia than the Russia we were dealing with in the past two decades. It’s aggressed against a neighbor. It’s seized parts of Ukraine, the Crimean Peninsula, and destabilized other parts of Ukraine. It’s increased its military budget. It’s promoted more aggressive conventional- and nuclear-war-fighting doctrines. It has fundamentally torn up the rule book that has stabilized Europe since the end of World War II. It’s a very dramatic geostrategic shift of the security situation in Europe.

      At the same time, just as this is happening, we’ve also seen the rise of ISIS—and ISIS borders Europe. Turkey has a fifteen-hundred-kilometre border with Syria and Iraq. And along much of that border we’re fighting, contesting ISIS.

      Beyond that, all across the NATO periphery—east, southeast, and across the Mediterranean due south—you have a set of weak, failing, or failed states which further the instability for Europe. This is most prominently seen by returning foreign fighters from Syria and Iraq who have bombed European cities, but also from mass migration at a level which we haven’t seen since the Second World War. So the combination of Putin’s Russia and its aggressive actions, terrorism, and mass migration is causing NATO to go back to the basics—to the importance of security of the twenty-eight nations themselves and then looking at how we can promote stability among its neighbors. Today NATO is adapting again to these new challenges.

      What forces can NATO mobilize? A few years ago, NATO had some hundred and seventy thousand troops active on three continents.

      Five years ago, the majority were in Afghanistan. NATO peaked in 2010 and 2011 at a hundred and forty thousand troops in Afghanistan. We also had troops in the Balkans. We also had maritime operations in the Mediterranean, and off the Horn of Africa to counter piracy. NATO is a ground power. It’s a maritime power. It’s an air power, and NATO has very substantial special operations forces.

      Most folks don’t understand that NATO doesn’t have its own forces. The twenty-eight allies own the forces. What distinguishes NATO is that it does have, three hundred and sixty-five days a year, a command-and-control structure which makes it easy for those forces to adapt to a new mission, come together, and operate together. It always has been led by an American four-star general, which traces back to Eisenhower when he first led NATO. Today, the Supreme Allied Commander is Army General Mike Scaparrotti.

      What role does NATO play in American security?

      NATO essentially says to every American: you won’t have to fight alone. That gives America the great confidence that it will always be able to operate in a multinational setting with diverse allies that not only bring military capacity but also political weight to whatever security challenge it faces.

      How important is NATO in dealing with extremism or terrorism?

      There are two major contributions that NATO makes. First, the reason that NATO went to Afghanistan and remains today is to deny safe haven to Al Qaeda and other groups. Closer to NATO’s borders, it is a key contributor to the international coalition against ISIL, which is taking the fight into Syria and Iraq. All twenty-eight NATO members are members of the counter-ISIL coalition. Another twenty-six countries that associate with NATO—we refer to them as partners—are part of that coalition. So the vast majority of countries that are contributing to the coalition against ISIL are able to do so effectively because they know how to operate within NATO.

      How does NATO divide financial responsibility?

      Most of the defense spending in the alliance is national spending, not NATO defense spending. The military capabilities of NATO are owned, operated, and maintained by the nations themselves. NATO’s common budget—to which all allies contribute—is actually quite small, about two billion dollars, to keep the command-and-control apparatus operational and run the standing headquarters. So, for example, the U.S. defense budget is about six hundred billion dollars for all U.S. global commitments all the other allies combined are at about two hundred and fifty billion dollars. On a day-to-day basis, very little of these vast sums is committed to NATO. Our cost share is twenty-two per cent. This is based on the agreed apportionment. The reality is that our G.D.P. is about equal to the other twenty-seven nations put together. If we did this strictly on the size of economies, our share of the common funding would be about fifty per cent.

      What influence do the political principles embraced by NATO have on member states? Secretary Kerry reminded President Erdoğan over the past week that, as a member of NATO, Turkey has to commit, embrace, and practice its democratic principles. So what leverage does NATO have politically on its member states?

      NATO is fundamentally a military alliance, but it is also a political alliance. It is an alliance of twenty-eight democracies. When a nation signs up to the Washington Treaty, as all twenty-eight have, they sign up to following principles, which are explicit in the preamble to the treaty and have been ratified by all members: democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law.

      Over the years, member states have gone through difficult periods, when democracy has been challenged. The preamble has served as a cornerstone or the bedrock of what is expected of a NATO member. We like to believe it has had an influence on all twenty-eight members abiding by those founding values. It’s playing a role today as some of our member states go through political challenges. This underlines that it is both a political and military alliance.

      What are NATO standards for defense spending so that the burden is evenly shared?

      NATO established that two per cent of national G.D.P. should be allocated for defense spending. Leaders of NATO countries—President Obama and others who met at the Wales summit, in 2014—established this benchmark. Today only five of twenty-eight allies meet that benchmark. The U.S. is one of them. Of the remainder, nineteen allies over the last two years have reversed cuts in defense spending and have made real increases. So, after a long period of defense cuts among its members, NATO has turned the corner. The program agreed to in 2014 is a ten-year program. We’re at least headed in the right direction.

      What would it take for the United States to get out of NATO? How would the United States undo a treaty?

      Article Thirteen, the next-to-last article in the treaty, says that any member state may choose to depart the alliance and essentially give one year’s notice, and then other members will be informed. It’s one sentence. In sixty-seven years, Article Thirteen has never been invoked. It’s never happened.

      NATO and the Paris Attacks: Why There Will Not Be an Article V Response

      Reporting on the aftermath of the Paris attacks has included a good bit of speculative (and not necessarily well-informed) commentary on whether or not NATO’s collective defense provision (Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty) would come into play. As of this writing, France has not requested that Article V be invoked in response to the attacks apparently directed and organized by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

      Some commentaries assume that when a NATO ally is attacked the other allies are required to jump to their defense. In fact, Article V is carefully worded and limited, in no small part due to demands from the U.S. Congress protecting their prerogative to declare war. The passage therefore ensures that all allies are able to make their own sovereign decisions about how to respond to an attack on another ally. According to the text, if an “armed attack occurs … each [member state] … will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area” [emphasis added].

      It also has been popular to suggest that the ally under attack — France in this case — can individually invoke Article V. In fact, while the ally under attack surely needs to suggest that it supports invocation, it is NATO’s North Atlantic Council (NAC) that must formally (and collaboratively) call for an Article V response. In other words, collective defense requires collective agreement.

      In NATO’s long history, the allies have invoked Article V on just one occasion, and that came following the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Within 24 hours, the attack was addressed by the NAC. The council decided to invoke Article V only if it was determined that the attack was perpetrated by a foreign actor, and not an incidence of domestic terrorism. Many NATO member states have suffered from domestic terrorism over the years, but it does not fall under the collective defense provisions of the Treaty.

      The Bush administration was initially uncertain whether or not it wanted NATO to get involved, but did not block consensus in the NAC. Later in September, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld made it clear that the United States did not want Article V to interfere with the U.S. response to the attacks, famously declaring that “the mission will determine the coalition.” NATO members did help monitor U.S. airspace and provided other supporting tasks while U.S. assets were directed toward Afghanistan. But no NATO mission directed at Afghanistan emerged until the Bush Administration decided it actually might need allied help there because of the resources they needed to divert to Iraq in 2003.

      With that as background, it is interesting to speculate what considerations are currently influencing decisions in Paris concerning NATO’s potential role in France’s response to the ISIL attacks.

      Even though France is a committed NATO member, it also remains protective of its national sovereignty (as well as of the facade of European unity on security issues). For example, that is why Paris preferred that the 2011 Libya operation not be taken over by NATO, but had to relent because it needed NATO (mainly American) support to complete the mission. The parallel here is that Paris cannot achieve its stated objective of destroying ISIL without a lot of help from other countries, starting with NATO allies — most notably the United States, the United Kingdom, and Turkey.

      In this case, Paris may think (accurately) that a NATO mission growing out of the invocation of Article V would likely be dominated by the United States, particularly given that NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander (SACEUR) is, and always has been, American. French President Francois Hollande most certainly would like U.S. and allied support and cooperation but also would like to be seen as taking strong national action, not just as a member of a NATO operation. Paris has asked for European solidarity (which won’t produce any military assistance) and wants the United States and Russia to cooperate in the fight against ISIL.

      The Russian angle may be the most difficult for the United States, and the alliance, to manage. Russia clearly could be helpful against ISIL but President Vladimir Putin has his own agenda, in both Europe and the Middle East. The northern NATO allies (particularly Poland and the Baltic states) remain primarily concerned about Russia’s agenda in Ukraine and beyond. They see Article V as much more directly relevant to the threats they perceive from Russia than the threat from ISIL. A discussion of Article V in the NAC today could in fact open the door for the northern NATO members to object to any cooperation with Moscow that would weaken the West’s defense against Russian aggression in their neighborhood. This potential complication and France’s national sovereignty concerns may mean that there will be no public consideration of Article V in NATO, even if it already is a topic of private discussion among the allies.

      Stanley R. Sloan is a Visiting Scholar in Political Science at Middlebury College and a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council of the United States.

      Philip H. Gordon

      Former Brookings Expert

      Mary and David Boies Senior Fellow in U.S. Foreign Policy - Council on Foreign Relations

      Second, NATO members, particularly the European allies, must ready their military capabilities for new missions. At the April 1999 summit, the allies adopted a Defense Capabilities Initiative to improve allied forces’ deployability, mobility, sustainability, survivability, and effectiveness. They identified some 58 areas in which to fill specific gaps in allied capabilities. But the initiative has never had political visibility, and few of its goals have been fulfilled. At Prague, European allies should pare this list to some 3-5 critical categories—perhaps precision-guided munitions, airlift, secure communications, and in-air refueling—and commit to fulfilling their goals. Not only do the European allies need to improve their capabilities to join effectively with the United States in the antiterrorism campaign, but also the EU weapons-development process needs to be coordinated with NATO’s. Otherwise the current interoperability headaches will only get worse. Europeans have had legitimate complaints about not being fully involved in the first stages of the military operations in Afghanistan, but the problem will grow far more intractable if American and European military capabilities continue to diverge.

      Third, NATO should continue to enlarge its membership, both to develop strong allies capable of contributing to common goals and to consolidate the integration of Central and Eastern Europe. Just how many new members should be accepted in Prague will depend in part on how successfully candidates sustain their political, economic, and military reforms until the summit, but at a minimum NATO should accept all candidates that have demonstrated that they are stable democracies committed to the values of other NATO members. The new relationship between Russia and the West stemming in part from the common battle against terrorism should help ensure that NATO expansion, even to the Baltic states, does not undermine relations with Russia.

      Fourth, NATO should build on recent progress in NATO-Russian cooperation that is evident in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s apparently new attitude of acquiescence to NATO enlargement and the spring 2002 agreement to set up a new NATO-Russia forum that would allow for extensive consultations and possible joint decisionmaking. Moscow has also agreed to get NATO’s help in restructuring its armed forces, a move long resisted by Russia’s conservative defense establishment, but an area where NATO has much to offer, as it has with other former Soviet bloc states. Russia and NATO could usefully cooperate on civil defense, special forces training, collaborative armaments programs, missile defense, peacekeeping, and NATO-Russia joint military exercises. In the wake of September 11, the prospect that Russia could feel that it is part of the West—rather than threatened by it—is an opportunity not to be missed.

      Finally, NATO must develop its capacity to deal with terrorism despite resistance from European allies who worry about giving the alliance too great a “global” or “political” role. The part NATO can and should play in this area is strictly limited—issues of law enforcement, immigration, financial control, and domestic intelligence are all well beyond NATO’s areas of competence and should be handled between the United States and the European Union. Still, NATO allies can and should share information about nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and ballistic missile programs develop civil defense and consequence-management planning develop theater missile defenses and better coordinate various member-state special forces, whose role in the antiterrorism campaign will be critical. The alliance should even consider a new Force Projection Command that would be responsible for planning out-of-area operations. During the Cold War, few could have imagined the need for American and European special forces to travel halfway around the world and execute coordinated attacks, but today that need is very real. Although NATO was not used for the military response to the September attack on the United States, it is not hard to imagine a cataclysmic terrorist attack on a European city for which a NATO response would be appropriate.

      Even with all the right reforms, NATO will probably not again become the central defense organization it was during the Cold War or even during the Balkan wars of the 1990s. But it remains an essential tool with which the United States and its key allies can coordinate their militaries, promote the unification of Europe, maintain peace in the Balkans, and quite possibly fight major military operations anywhere in the world. The Prague summit should be used to revitalize and adapt a still-essential organization, not to announce its demise.

      Joe Biden Pays Somber Tribute to 9/11 Memorial at NATO Headquarters

      President Joe Biden took an unannounced break from meetings during his international trip to pay a visit on Monday to the 9/11 memorial at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

      The memorial is comprised of a piece of twisted steel from the World Trade Center, which collapsed after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

      As Associated Press reporter Jonathan Lemire noted in a tweet, NATO&aposs mutual defense pact, Article 5, was invoked for the first time in history less than 24 hours after the attacks.

      According to reporters traveling with him, the president stood and read the plaque at the memorial before touching it briefly and stepping back to gather his thoughts.

      Biden, 78, spoke earlier on Monday about the need to remind Americans that NATO allies came to the aid of the U.S. following the events of Sept. 11, according to reporters.

      The NATO memorial was unveiled in 2017, with then-President Donald Trump delivering remarks at the ceremony in which he noted the significance of NATO&aposs decisive action in the wake of the attacks.

      "This ceremony is a day for both remembrance and resolve. We remember and mourn those nearly 3,000 innocent people who were brutally murdered by terrorists on September 11th, 2001," Trump said. "Our NATO allies responded swiftly and decisively, invoking for the first time in its history the Article 5 collective defense commitments."

      Article 5 is a key section of the North Atlantic Treaty and commits each member state "to consider an armed attack against one member state, in Europe or North America, to be an armed attack against them all."

      Biden is in Belgium for his first NATO summit as president after wrapping up a three-day gathering of the Group of Seven and a meeting with Queen Elizabeth in the U.K.

      As National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters ahead of Biden&aposs visit on Monday, the president&aposs "overriding objective" at NATO was "of sending a clear message to Allies and adversaries alike that Article 5 is a sacred guarantee that the United States regards NATO as the foundation for our security - not just in the Euro Atlantic, but worldwide - and that we will be there for our Allies."

      "We will have their backs just as they&aposve had our backs," Sullivan added.

      Biden said in a statement on Twitter that the Monday visit to NATO headquarters offered a message of "reaffirming America&aposs commitment to our 29 Allies and our vision for a more secure future."

      September 2020 marked theꀙth anniversary of the attacks, with then-candidate Biden attending a memorial ceremony in New York City to honor the lives lost.

      "I&aposm not going to make any news today," the former vice president told reporters. "I&aposm not going to talk about anything other than 9/11. We took all our advertising down. It&aposs a solemn day. That&aposs how we&aposre going to keep it, okay? You can determine whether I make news but I&aposm not going to be holding any press conferences."