NATO in brief
NATO, which was formed in 1949, is the most powerful military alliance in the world. At its formation, NATO had 12 member countries, which has now increased to 29 member countries and four aspiring member countries. NATO was originally formed in an effort to solve conflicts peacefully and with the pledge that member countries will come to each other’s defense in case of an attack. Member countries have committed to spend two percent of their respective GDPs on defense expenses by the year 2024.
NATO in the contemporary world
Some questioned the purposed of NATO after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union a few years later. Back in 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron even called the organization 'brain dead' amid dissatisfaction with the leadership of the U.S. President at the time, Donald Trump. However, NATO has seen a revival after Russia's President Vladimir Putin decided to invade Ukraine in February 2022. For smaller countries in Eastern Europe such as the Baltic States and Poland, their NATO membership give a crucial bulwark against Russian aggression.