Cold War Hots Up Again As NATO Expands

If you thought the Cold War was over, then think again as relations between Russia and the West heat up.

The latest flare up is over the tiny Balkan nation of Montenegro joining the mighty North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) military machine.

Russia is still vying with the West about who exerts influence over the former satellite states of the USSR and has warned NATO about expanding eastwards out of Europe.

NATO’s invitation to Montenegro to join the club leaves just Serbia out in the cold in the buffer zone of former USSR bloc states between Russia and Europe.

Albania and Croatia joined NATO in 2009; Montenegro is expected to step up by next summer, while Bosnia and Macedonia want to join.

Other candidates include Georgia and The Ukraine, but their membership of NATO faces problems as one of the conditions of joining is all territorial disputes must be settled prior to entering the pact.

US Secretary of State John Kerry explained the invitation to Montenegro was not aimed at spiting Russia, but the move sends a signal to Moscow that the Kremlin will not influence NATO foreign policy.

What is NATO?

NATO is an alliance of countries stretching from the US and Canada in the West to Turkey in the East.

The body was formed in 1949 as an umbrella group to safeguard member countries from the threat of attack. The basic tenet of NATO is to attack one country is an attack on all.

The US invoked the treaty after the 9/11 attacks to strike back at terrorists – the only time the treaty has been invoked.

France has not called on NATO support following the jihadist outrages in Paris, but could do so under the terms of the treaty.

NATO has no standing armed forces. Manpower, weapons and equipment are provided by the 28 member states.

Which countries are NATO members?

The list with year of joining is:

  • Albania (2009)
  • Belgium (1949)
  • Bulgaria (2004)
  • Canada (1949)
  • Croatia (2009)
  • Czech Republic (1999)
  • Denmark (1949)
  • Estonia (2004)
  • France (1949)
  • Germany (1955)
  • Greece (1952)
  • Hungary (1999)
  • Iceland (1949)
  • Italy (1949)
  • Latvia (2004)
  • Lithuania (2004)
  • Luxembourg (1949)
  • Netherlands (1949)
  • Norway (1949)
  • Poland (1999)
  • Portugal (1949)
  • Romania (2004)
  • Slovakia (2004)
  • Slovenia (2004)
  • Spain (1982)
  • Turkey (1952)
  • United Kingdom (1949)
  • United States (1949)