9 August, 2009 — Stop NATO
Two months before the eighth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and the beginning of NATO’s first-ever ground war the world is witness to a 21st Century armed conflict without end waged by the largest military coalition in history.
With recent announcements that troops from such diverse nations as Colombia, Mongolia, Armenia, Japan, South Korea, Ukraine and Montenegro are to or may join those of some 45 other countries serving under the command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), there will soon be military personnel from fifty nations on five continents and in the Middle East serving under a unified command structure.
Never before have soldiers from so many states served in the same war theater, much less the same country.
By way of comparison, there were twenty six (higher, and looser, estimates go as high as 34) national contingents in the so-called coalition of the willing in Iraq as of 2006. In the interim between now and then troops from all contributing nations but the United States and Great Britain have been withdrawn and in most cases redeployed to Afghanistan.
In 1999 NATO’s fiftieth anniversary summit in Washington, D.C. welcomed the first expansion of the world’s only military bloc in the post-Cold War era, absorbing former Warsaw Pact members the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, in the course of conducting NATO’s first war, the relentless 78-day bombardment of Yugoslavia, Operation Allied Force.
Two years later, after the 9/11 attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., NATO activated its 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” – for the first time in the bloc’s history and launched a number of operations from deploying German AWACS to patrol the Atlantic Coast of the U.S. to launching Operation Active Endeavor, a naval surveillance and interdiction program throughout the Mediterranean Sea which continues to this day.
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