The United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Ten years ago, just as twenty or forty years ago, no one worried about the relationship between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the United Nations. NATO and the UN, while not wholly separate and certainly not wholly equal, were different organizations, each operating in its own sphere, not ordinarily congruent nor in opposition. The United Nations had important obligations in the area of security, just as did NATO, and for years it had conducted peacekeeping and, latterly, peacemaking operations. For its part, NATO functioned as a defensive organization directed against Soviet aggression in the (expanded) North Atlantic area, an object that lasted until the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Thereafter NATO continued and expanded, though its purposes were less focussed. Even so, there was no overt clash with the aims of the United Nations.
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