However, to have a clear picture of the role of NATO, it is imperative to note down its achievements as well as its defects or point of criticism. It is argued that NATO has functioned successfully during the last twenty years. It has improved relations among the great powers. It is held that there has been no war in Europe since NATO came into being.
In spite of this NATO is bitterly criticized. According to the Russian Press comment. “The North Atlantic Treaty project and the circumstances accompanying its preparation plainly disclose the desire of the Anglo-American bloc for world hegemony. It is clear that the purpose……….. of the Pact is to put the reins of as many states as possible in the hands of the U.S. and British ruling circles, depriving the states of the opportunity to conduct an independent foreign and domestic policy and employing the states as auxiliary means for the realization of aggressive plans aimed at the establishment of Anglo-American world hegemony”.
According to Hartmann, the influence of the United Nations is likely to be diminished by the establishment of NATO. If NATO intensifies a global division of influence between the United States and the Soviet Union, it will reduce to zero the opportunities for United Nations development. It can scarcely fail to transfer world attention from the United Nations to the rival blocs. It is likely to foster bloc voting in the General Assembly for the United Nations. It is also possible that it may cause the Soviet Union to leave the United Nations altogether. According to the Russians, NATO “is a mine under the United Nations”.
According to a spokesman of the Russian Government, “The entire practical activity of the North Atlantic alliance since its inception and to our time shows that it is a restricted military organisation, utterly hostile to the interests of maintaining peace, and uniting its members on the platform of the policy of the arms race, of fanning the “Cold War” and undermining peaceful cooperation between states”.
“The NATO war-bloc was set up on basis incompatible with the principles and purposes of the United Nations and the activity of this bloc has seriously prejudiced and continues to prejudice the cause of the United Nations. The setting up of the North Atlantic alliance has, first of all, paved the way for the unrestrained arms race which assumed in the NATO countries a scope unprecedented in peacetime. For only according to published official figures the expenditures of the parties to this bloc attained the astronomic figure of almost 50,00,00,000 dollars in the first nine years of its existence”.
“The experience of almost 10 years shows that each conference of the NATO military leaders, each meeting of the council of the organization was invariably keynoted by the demands, for manufacturing the maximum amount of means of annihilation, for making available to the NATO more and more divisions, more and more military bases, for increasing the military appropriations in the budgets of the states drawn into this military bloc…..”
The late Prime Minister Nehru said, “I do not know if NATO affects India, maybe very distantly, we are not worried about the Atlantic Pact. I was thinking of certain general trends like the Atlantic Pact based very rightly on self-defence or mutual defence against aggression. Obviously, they have every right to do that. But geographically it spreads. I have no objection to that, Turkey and Greece come in which are hardly Atlantic countries. But what is more important is the tendency for the Pact to include in its scope the protection of the colonial territories of Atlantic powers. The pact does not contain this but subsequent conversations between Foreign Ministers and others gradually bring that in, thus changing its character. With regard to that, I thought that there was something essentially opposed to the basic Character of the United Nations”.
The Soviet Union has bitterly denounced NATO as an aggressive coalition ‘to establish by force Anglo-American domination over the World” and has charged that it “is a factor undermining the United Nations Organization”.
The first accusation seems palpably absurd, while the validity of the second remains to be seen. Spokesmen for the North Atlantic Treaty Powers reply that the Soviet Union herself, by her persistent aggression, has forced NATO into being, and they justify it as a measure of collective self-defence under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. But as Prime Minister St. Laurentof Canada emphasized in a radio broadcast the signing of the Pact, “s Security Treaty will not be fully effective if it is nothing more than a military alliance”. NATO was clearly intended to be more than an anti-Soviet alliance; its founders were motivated by the desire to establish more satisfactory machinery for collaboration among the states of the Atlantic Community. In its larger context, to repeat Walter Lippmann’s trenchant observation, NATO’s chief significance is that “it marks the formal recognition of a new political entity” in a community of nations which ‘has in fact existed for more than thirty years. It is the most ambitious experiment in international regionalism yet launched.