The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a multinational military alliance of 30 Euro-Atlantic nations that is more than seven decades old. The alliance’s funding, organization, and military activities are governed by the North Atlantic Treaty itself. One of the most noteworthy portions of the treaty for global security students to know is Article V, the “Collective Defense” article that positions the alliance in a strictly defensive security posture.
Unlike expansionistic imperialistic governmental systems of the past, NATO’s Article V restricts the intergovernmental organization to only mobilize its members’ military assets to interact in kinetic warfare with a non-alliance military power in the event that, if and only if, an alliance member nation is attacked first. In the past, critics of NATO—such as members of the government of the Russian Federation (RF)—have accused this alliance of aggressive and provocative expansionism by accepting new member states into its organization.