NATO, or North Atlantic Treaty Organization, in English North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), is a powerful political and military intergovernmental organization whose mission is to preserve the peace, security and freedom of its members through a system of collective security .

After World War II, many countries in Western Europe saw the policies of the Soviet Union (USSR) as a threat to stability and peace on the European continent. With this pretext, the North Atlantic Treaty was founded in April 1949, which represents the basis of the existence of NATO, considered as a form of collective defense by the countries of Belgium, United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United States.

Later Greece and Turkey (1952), the Federal Republic of Germany (1955), Spain (1982), Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic (1999), Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were admitted ( 2004), and Croatia and Albania (2009). In 2002, Russia joined NATO, receiving preferential treatment, with voice and vote, but without the right to veto.

In the early years of NATO’s existence, special emphasis was placed on mutual military assistance for European members; however, today members enter into a number of agreements that are not strictly military in nature.

The North Atlantic Council is the main body and the highest authority of NATO; It is made up of permanent delegates from member countries such as special ambassadors, Ministers of State and even Heads of State, who meet at least twice a year. The council is assisted by a Secretariat, headed by a Secretary General, who is also the President of the Council, and is responsible for general policy, budget plans and administrative actions.

Temporary Committees deal with matters assigned to them by the Council. And to deal with the Alliance’s military issues and functions, there is the Military Committee, which is in charge of advising on military matters, and is made up of the Commanders-in-Chief of each country, under whom three main commands operate: the European command, command of the Atlantic Ocean and command of the English Channel.

In 1999 NATO established a New Strategic Concept at the Washington Summit that broadens its radius of action outside the territory of its member countries, in cases of serious threats to security and human rights, thus justifying its direct intervention in Kosovo (Yugoslavia) , which in those years was in a crisis of war.

In this way, NATO entered the 21st century with new functions, such as the fight against genocide, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. During the following years, the organization maintained important military missions in Afghanistan, and is currently initiating interventions in Libya under a UN mandate to protect civilians from the fighting that the Gaddafi government is carrying out against the rebels and its people.