Us Foreign Policy Towards Nato United States Policy Towards NATO In this paper I will first explain the history of NATO and the United States policy towards it. I will then give three reasonable policy recommendations for the United States towards NATO. This is important because NATO is an organization with a very brief history but it has molded Europe and other countries and has made a safe-haven from war for the past five decades. NATO was spawn out of the Western countries of Europe fearing the expansion of the greedy, hungry Stalin of the Soviet Union which would directly lead to the expansion of communist governments. Also, in 1949 most of the states of Europe were still enfeebled by wartime devastation, striving for economic recovery, attempting to reestablish shattered political institutions, resettle refugees and recover from the second major upheaval in 30 years.1 After the second world war Stalin, of the Soviet Union, started to spread his communist government to many Eastern European countries fast.
Just a couple years before all of this an alliance was made between many nations called The United Nations. This is where the base idea of NATO came out of. There is a particular article in the United Nations charter, article 51, which paved the way. Article 51 read: Nothing in the present charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations, until the security council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defense shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.2 So, armed with this article, ten European countries turned to the United States and Canada to draft a pledge of mutual security and on April 4, 1949, they all met in Washington to sign the North Atlantic Treaty. The fear that created this alliance could not better be seen than in Winston Churchills, prime minister of Great Britain, telegram to President Truman saying: An iron curtain is being drawn down upon their(Soviet Union) front. We do not know what is going on behind. . .3 With this quote from the British Prime Minister we could see that the biggest fear was the fear itself of not knowing what was going on in the Soviet Union.
The North Atlantic Treaty consisted of 14 articles in which I will now briefly explain to help you understand what this treaty entailed. First off, the whole purpose of this treaty was to prevent aggression or to repel it, should it occur.4 It provided for the continuous cooperation and consultation in political, economic and military fields and had an indefinite duration. Every member who was a part of this treaty signed to express their desire to live in peace with all peoples and all governments. All of this was just reaffirming their faith in the principles of the United Nations. The first article defines the basic principles that member countries should follow to keep the peace and world security.
The second article was an inspiration from the first article of the United Nations Charter. This article defines the aims for the member nations to pursue and the obligations they have. The third article is a statement that the signatories will do all they can to resist attack. The fourth article calls for consultation from all members if one of the members feels that they are threatened. The fifth article is the core of the treaty and states that if one of the member countries is attacked all other members will see it as an attack on each and all of them.
The sixth article defines the area that the provisions in article five apply. Article seven and eight the member nations stipulate that none of their other international commitments conflict with the North Atlantic treaty and that any commitments they make in the future wont conflict with the treaty as well. Under article nine a council is created in which each member is represented. Article ten provides for any other European country to join the alliance if they will uphold the principles outlined in the treaty. Article eleven describes the process in which ratification are to occur and how the treaty is to enter into force. Articles twelve and thirteen deals with the possibility of revision of the treaty after ten years and that any member can leave after twenty years. The treaty has never been revised and France is the only country to leave the alliance.
Lastly, article fourteen gives equal authority to both the English and French versions or texts of the treaty and states that they are to be safely deposited in Washington DC. Now the creation of this alliance was not all perfect as one would think. There was a lot of debate about this alliance in Congress. Most of the negative response was directly related to the fact that for most of our history, the United States had what people call an isolationist foreign policy. This means that the United States had gotten so used to just letting foreign countries deal with their own problems and we had enough of our own so most leaders of this country thought we should just deal with our own problems. Even George Washington, in his farewell speech, thought that America needed to deal with its own problems and only its own problems. So you can see that the United Nations charter and the North Atlantic Treaty were a new from of foreign policy for the United States.
The United States was to embark on a new way to look at foreign policy and it would be a change that would last. Now the ratification passed by a majority but the minority who voted against it wetre prominent men who spoke out veraciously against the treaty. Regardless of this opposition the United States needed a way to try to curtail the expansion of communism in Eastern Europe. This way to curtail communism and secure free governments was NATO. The United States and the other free countries couldnt do anything in the UN because of the constant stalemate by the Soviet Union.
Still, some didnt think that this was any of the United States business. To Americans the Treaty was presented less as an alliance than as a cultural and economic association, fulfilling all requirements of the United Nations.5 This explains the reason why some were quick to look down upon NATO. People saw it as another UN and that would just be a waste of United States time and money. For those, in the beginning, who were for the Treaty it was easy to justify why. They(State Dept.) were to deter aggression by facing a potential aggressor with a firm US commitment to Western Europe, which – had it existed in 1917 or 1939 – might have prevented two world wars.6 These were the words that made those who were for the Treaty so confident and so hopeful that this Treaty would be passed.
Some of those against the Treaty were such prominent persons as Senator Robert A. Taft and Henry A. Wallace. Taft was quoted as making such comments as, Let us begin to make our own foreign policy, instead of letting Moscow make it for us.7 and it is with great regret that I have come to my conclusion, but I have come to it because I think the pact carries with it an obligation to assist in arming, at our expense, the nations of Western Europe, because with that obligation I believe it will promote war in the world rather than peace, and because I think that with the arms plan it is wholly contrary to the spirit of the obligations we assumed in the United Nations Charter.8 From the statement of the Honorable Mr. Taft we see that he was a die-hard isolationist fan as were many of those opposed to the Treaty.
Mr. Wallace offers us another view of the opposition. Mr. Wallace is quoted as saying, It(NATO) demands spending by Americans without limit in dollars or time. It will create an intolerable burden on our own people, exacting lower living standards and the loss of fundamental freedoms.9 In reading that statement you can imagine what it did to the public after hearing it. So you can see that the opposition to the Treaty was backed by distinguished men with very powerful words.
In the end, though, the Treaty was approved by the Senate by a vote of 82 to 13. Thus, America finally could start looking for a good way to use this new alliance. Now in order for one to understand the policies the United States had with NATO it is essential for one to know that for the first twenty years of NATO the United States had four main types of foreign policy ideas with respect to NATO. The first main type of policy attitude the United States had was called Accommodation which occurred from 1944 to 1950. This meant that the congressmen didnt think the United States should be so far into Europes business as it was preparing to be.
The congressmen during this era thought that we should be fine because we just won a war and thought we were losing our fight for peace. President Truman worked through this problem by using joint participation by the President and member of congress. Truman overcame congressional resistance to such an active American role abroad only by working closely with members of Congress and convincing them, and the American people, of the grave political instability that most European states faced from their economic situation and from the growing threat of Soviet communism.10 After swaying the support of Congress Truman was able to do such tremendous things as; participate in the UN, the International Monetary Fund, the national security act of 1947 became law, and support of Greece and Turkey was approved. Joint legislative-executive action supported a strong American global role, culminating in the Senate approval of NATO and the permanent stationing of American troops in Europe–an unprecedented American military commitment in a time of peace.11 You will see that in this period America has a more or less feel it out policy towards NATO and that can be expected being that this was the first ever alliance the US had ever taken part in. The first big event in this period was that the actual signing of all twelve participating countries took place here in the United States.
All twelve countries came to Washington, DC to sign the official North Atlantic Treaty. After this the first ever NATO meeting was also held in Washington on September 17, 1949. The next thing that happened in respect to Americas relationship or policy with NATO was that on January 27, 1950 President Truman approved a plan that would give those in the NATO area $900,000,000 for military aid funds. After that was the creation of an integrated European force under centralized command, adequate to deter any aggression and to help ensure the defense of Western Europe. This military structure was organized and the council asked President Truman to .
. make available General Dwight D. Eisenhower to serve as Supreme Allied Commander for Europe.12 This meant that in Americas first ever alliance with European countries it was chosen right away to lead its military. Most have said that the reason for this was because we had all the power of the military, namely, nuclear weapons. With this new addition NATO was ready to go, or so it thought it was, with an American general leading the way.
So you can see that the United States was pretty much all for NATO and doing whatever they could to better its situation from the very beginning . The proof is in the fact that they even put one of their own generals out there to lead the military division of NATO. Also, in this period, NATO created what was called council deputies and the American Ambassador deputy, Charles M. Spofford, was elected to be the permanent chairman to the council deputies. All of this occurred despite the lengthy and heated debate in Congress over whether we should even enter into this alliance.
From this, one can deduce that those in America who were all for an open door policy with NATO really were all for it. The second major foreign policy attitude of American was called Antagonism. Antagonism lasted from 1951 until 1955. This was a period of bipartisan foreign policy. The republicans and democrats really fought it out in this era. The Democratic party, during this time, filled the air with accusations of Republicans committing treason and helping out the communist party.
Congressman Robert Rich of Pennsylvania charged that Secretary of …