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Everything you need to know about NATO

On April 4rth, 2023, Finland joined NATO in one of the biggest news stories of this year. The story has been riddled with ongoing press coverage, and deservedly so. Finland joining NATO affects the European landscape in many ways, especially when it comes to Russia, and will change the political and military landscape of the region. But what is NATO? Let’s learn all about it.

Founding/Cold War:

NATO was founding on the 4rth of April 1949, after World War 2. The reason NATO (Northern Atlantic Treaty Organization) was founded was to protect Europe from outside threats as it was trying to rebuild. Until the late 80s, NATO’s main mission was to keep its Western Europe member states safe from the Eastern Bloc led by the Soviet Union, whom the USA, a NATO member state, was having a Cold War with.

After the Cold War: 

After the Cold War, many believed that NATO was a useless organization of the past. As tensions between Russia and the West relaxed, NATO was mostly focused on fighting terrorism. However, this initiative was still mostly spearheaded by the United States. In fact, Russia and NATO relationships started to gradually become better, with Russia even considering attempting to join NATO. However, as you probably know, this harmonious period did not last long.

Now what?:

As you already know, Russia has invaded Ukraine, prompting harsh criticism by NATO, and their relationship is at an all-time low. This, in many ways, has put a bigger spotlight on NATO defending Europe from Russia, as the Kremlin seeks to expand. This all led up to Finland, which directly borders Russia (not to mention tensions between the two countries are getting worse), joining NATO. The action made Russia angry, and know the Russians are expanding a border presence across the Finland-Russia border.

Why Can’t Ukraine join?:

The Reason Ukraine cannot join NATO is fairly simple. NATO does not want to fight Russia. If NATO accepts Ukraine, then they will be obliged by treaty to defend Ukraine from Russia, which they do not want to do. So instead, they will help with indirect means like sending weapons.

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