NATO’s Rock Solid Commitment to Article 5

Article 5

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security .

*The Washington Treaty*

Recently, NATO published that its commitment to Article 5 is rock solid. I find this somewhat debatable.  Look at the list of members. There are countries that don’t get along.  Take Greece and Turkey for example.  Turkey doesn’t even acknowledge the water space of Greece and claims Crete as Turkish land, when Greece owns it.

When most people, especially Americans, think of Article 5 and what NATO means our minds jump to the conclusion that all of NATO would go to war against the country that invaded the member country.  Not so.  The clause states that is the obligation of each member state to help the invaded country in any manner they deem appropriate. 

That means anything from sending an email about how sorry such and such country is about the invasion to sending the entire military to aid.

Looking at the Turkey/ Greece issue, how would they react to an invasion of one of each other?  Would they send military aid, money, or a letter?? What happens when Russia invades/attacks Estonia or Albania or Poland? Who is going to support rock solidly a small nation? They would be lucky to receive any thing more than money or help in training for combat.  What if military equipment was given? Two tanks… How helpful.  I hardly call that a strong commitment to Article 5.

Secondly, what are we classifying as an attack or invasion on a member country.  Remember, when Russia attacked Estonia’s cyber system in 2007?  That was clear attack on Estonia.  Did NATO step in?  No.  There was no clear evidence to suggest an attack by Russia.  If NATO doesn’t see the importance of the country or the strategic benefit of aiding, will NATO even declare an attack has been made??

So, NATO, How rock solid is your commitment to Article 5?


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