#AceHistory2Research – NATO – April 04 – On the 65th anniversary of NATO, the debate over the organization’s expansion remains highly contentious, with some viewing it as a broken promise to Russia after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
NATO, an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty, was signed on April 4, 1949 when the US, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland joined the members of the Treaty of Brussels to form the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
The idea of the alliance was to provide defence against a prospective Soviet invasion. In the early 1950’s, the focus of the communism vs. capitalism fight shifted to Asia, where a series of bloody proxy wars played a major role in convincing Europeans that the Soviet Union and its allies were extremely dangerous and had to be contained at all costs.
Since the reunification of Germany, NATO has almost doubled in size – from 16 member states in 1990 to 28 currently.
Most senior Russian officials feel tricked by NATO and accuse the West of not following through with its commitments made during German reunification negotiations, when NATO agreed not to expand to the East.
Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet president at the time, confirmed that there was a promise not to enlarge NATO, not even “as much as a thumb’s width further to the East.” But this commitment was never formally documented, and since then the alliance has grown drastically.