Saturday, February 26, 2022

Eastern European Countries Triggered NATO's Article 4

Several North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Members: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia, on Thursday, invoked Article 4 of the Treaty in response to Russian Aggression. This allows any Member to call for a Consultation of the Alliance, when they feel threatened. On Friday, NATO said it would Activate its Response Force as a Defensive Measure. Russia's ongoing Assault on Ukraine has forced NATO and its 30 Member Countries to rapidly grapple with the Role they should play in the Escalating Conflict.

Article 4 of the Treaty allows any Member Nation to call for a Consultation of the Organization's Governing Body when "the territorial integrity, political independence, or security of any of the parties is threatened," according to the Treaty.

U.S. President Biden, on Thursday, said No U.S. Troops would be sent to Ukraine, which is Not a Member of NATO, but he warned that the U.S. and its Allies would "defend every inch of NATO territory. Our forces are not and will not be engaged in the conflict with Russia in Ukraine. Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine, but to defend our NATO allies." Biden said in a Thursday Speech from the White House.

NATO serves as a Collective Security system, wherein its Member States agree to mutually Defend any Attack on a Member Party, a Pledge enshrined in the Treaty's most famous tenet, Article 5.

The Alliance contained just 12 Countries when it was founded, but has more than Doubled in size in the years since. NATO now consists of Two Ccountries in North America, and 28 European Countries, including several former Soviet Nations.

Ukraine, though Not a Member of NATO, has been Designated One of the Alliance's "Enhanced Opportunity Partners," a Title granted to Nonmember Countries that have Contributed to NATO-led Operations and Missions. As such, NATO and its Members have No Binding obligation to Defend Ukraine against Russia's Attacks. But as the Conflict quickly Intensifies, pleas for NATO Assistance, from Ukraine and others, are growing louder.

In NATO's 73-year existence, Article 4 had Only been triggered Six times prior to Thursday. Its most recent use was in February 2020, when Turkey, which has triggered Consultations more than any other Country, invoked the article after Syrian Government Forces killed Dozens of Turkish Soldiers in an Attack in Opposition-held Regions in Northern Syria.

The other Five times it was used were:

- July 2015: Turkey invoked Article 4 to alert the alliance to its impending response to terrorist attacks.

- March 2014: Poland invoked Article 4 to discuss increasing tensions in Ukraine amid Russian aggression.

- October 2012: Turkey triggered talks after five Turkish civilians were killed by Syrian shells.

- June 2012: Turkey requested a meeting after one of its fighter jets was shot down by Syrian air defense forces.

- February 2003: Turkey invoked Article 4 asking NATO to help protect its people from any spillover consequences of the war in Iraq.

On Two of those occasions, NATO responded with Military Assistance, aiding Turkey with Patriot Missile Batteries to combat Syrian Attacks in 2012, and providing Aircraft and Missile Batteries along Turkey's Border with Iraq in 2003.

Poland's use of the Tenet in 2014 led to a Member Meeting that resulted in Stronger NATO efforts to Defend the Alliance.

World leaders attended an emergency virtual NATO summit Friday morning following the invocation of Article 4. The meeting followed a separate emergency NATO summit on Thursday, where members also discussed the Ukraine situation.

Following Friday's Meeting, NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, told journalists the Alliance would Deploy parts of its Response Force and continue sending Weapons to Ukraine, including Air Defenses. The Decision marks the First time in NATO's Seven-Decade history that the Body's Combat-ready Response Force has been Activated as a Defensive measure.

"This is an historic moment and the very first time the Alliance has employed these high readiness forces in a deterrence and defense role," NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Tod Wolters said in a Statement. The Force includes: Land, Air, Sea, and Special Operations Forces from the Alliance's Member Nations ready for Rapid Deployment. Wolters Activated the Force Friday, though Troops have Not yet been Deployed and remain on Standby.

It was Not immediately clear how many of the Force's 40,000 Troops would be activated. The Forces will Not go directly to Ukraine. Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, on Friday, thanked NATO for its Help but called on the Alliance to do more. "We are alone in defending our country. Who is ready to defend us together with us? Honestly, I don't see any," Zelensky said. "Who is ready to give Ukraine a guarantee of joining NATO? Honestly, everyone is afraid."

Biden has made clear that U.S. Troops, thus far Deployed to Eastern Europe, are there to Bolster NATO Member Countries wary of nearby Russian Aggression.

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