Finland has taken a historic step. The country’s president and prime minister have announced your intention to apply for NATO membership “as soon as possible” after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a measure supported by 76% of Finns and which puts an end to more than seventy years of neutrality. The Swedish government is expected to follow suit next week by announcing that it too would like to become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the near future. All this despite the warnings of Vladimir Putin about what if these two countries join the military structure led by the US there will be a rearmament in the Baltic area and increased regional instability.
NATO is currently made up of 30 countries, all of them European except Canada and the United States. Its policy is to open its doors to any European country that meets a series of requirements. “The parties may, by unanimous agreement, invite to join any European State that is in a position to favor the development of the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area,” says article 10 of the Treaty. signed in 1949.
To enter the organization three requirements are required: being in Europe, being a democratic state and contributing to the defense of NATO. On paper, Russia could join the alliance in the future if Putin or a possible successor moved away from the autocratic system to enter the path of the democratic model, something that today seems unfeasible.
However, there was a time in recent history when Russia had a small window to enter the most powerful military club on the planet, as the historian has recounted. Timothy Sayle referring to the 1990s, in particular to the year 1997, when the NATO-Russia Foundation Law was signed, an agreement to build a collaborative relationship in security matters between Moscow and the military alliance. “The idea of Russia joining NATO actually goes back to the 1950s. As early as 1954, the Soviet Union proposed to join NATO and that was a public relations strategy, a kind of propaganda move in the that the Soviets knew NATO would say no,” Sayle told the BBC in an interview.
Even Putin himself told the film director Oliver Stone in 2015 that in the past he had suggested to the then US president bill clinton join NATO. “I remember President Clinton’s last official visit here. I told him, half seriously, half joking: Russia should probably think about joining NATO,” the Kremlin tenant said.
In the event that a future democratic Russia decided in the future to be part of the Atlantic Alliance, it would have to have the support of the member countries, since the entry of a new partner must be voted unanimously by all the parties.
Countries like Colombia that would like to join NATO cannot do so because it is not a European state. Despite everything, Colombia formalized in 2018, under the presidency of Juan Manuel Santos, formalized, its accession as a global partner of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a status it shares with 19 other countries, including Afghanistan, Egypt, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan, the Philippines and South Korea. These countries do not have the protection of the organization, but they can access better relationships and alliances to maintain the defense of their states.
Since its creation in 1949 to counteract the expansion of the Soviet Union, NATO has been gradually expanding. At the beginning of the Cold War it had twelve members; However, it was after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the disintegration of the USSR that it experienced its greatest growth, going from the 16 members it had at the end of the 1990s, to the 30 members it currently has, which would be 32. if finally Sweden and Finland are integrated into the organization.
In the history of NATO there have been territories that were protected by the umbrella of the military organization, as was the case of Cyprus and Malta since they were dependencies of the United Kingdom, although after their independence in 1960 and 1964 respectively they did not join The alliance. A similar case is that of Algeria, which was a province of France until its independence in 1962.
THE COUNTRIES THAT MAKE UP NATO
Albanian (2009); Germany (1955); Belgium (1949); Bulgary (2004); Canada (1949); Croatia (2009); Denmark (1949); Slovakia (2004); Slovenia (2004); Spain (1982); United States (1949); Estonian (2004); France (1949); Greece (1952); Hungary (1999); Iceland (1949); Italy (1949); Latvia (2004); Lithuania (2004); Luxembourg (1949); North Macedonia (2020); Montenegro (2017); Norway (1949); Netherlands (1949); Poland (1999); Portugal (1949); UK (1949); Czech Republic (1999); Romania (2004) and Turkey (1952).