Is Mexico Part Of NATO? (Explained)

Mexican flag in blue sky

 

NATO, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is an international and intergovernmental alliance between different countries.

The organization’s purpose is to ensure the freedom and security of its members through political and military means.

Should a member of NATO become engaged in a war with another country, against its will, then its allies are there to assist them.

There are 30 members of NATO.

Since the organization calls itself the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, you may wonder if Mexico is a member.

 

Is Mexico Part Of NATO?

Heads of governments of member countries of NATO at the opening ceremony of NATO

 

No, Mexico is not part of NATO.

NATO is primarily comprised of European countries, Canada, and the United States.

It’s an alliance born out of a desire to protect the Atlantic, and, it got its start after World War II.

National leaders met and formed an organization in the hopes of preventing another war like World War II from occurring again.

Their goal was to promote diplomacy over military excursions to solve problems.

That said, should diplomacy fail, the organization can declare and wage war.

Today, countries join NATO to give themselves extra help in the event of an eventual conflict with another country.

If they believe that another country intends to invade them, being part of NATO would allow them to get extra resources to help defend their country.

In some ways, simply being part of NATO is a war deterrent.

The country waging the war would have to deal with all the other countries of NATO, too.

With 30 members currently a part of it, there are a lot of different military organizations to contend with.

Mexico isn’t part of NATO, but it is part of the UN which is similar to NATO.

 

What Countries Are Part Of NATO?

Flags' of Members of NATO at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, June 26, 2019.

 

There are 30 members of NATO.

The countries currently part of the organization include:

  • Albania
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • The Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Montenegro
  • The Netherlands
  • North Macedonia
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Turkey
  • The United Kingdom
  • The United States

 

Who Were The Founding Members Of NATO?

NATO flag waving over the sky

 

Although the organization has grown to encompass 30 members, it started with a humble group of countries.

12 countries were part of the founding of NATO.

They include:

  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • The United Kingdom
  • The United States

They all joined in 1949 in an effort to better protect the North Atlantic area.

Greece and Türkey would later join in 1952.

Germany joined in 1955.

Several decades later, Spain joined in 1982.

Several countries joined in 1999.

They were the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland.

Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia all joined in 2004.

Albania and Croatia joined in 2009.

Montenegro joined in 2017.

The most recent country to join, North Macedonia, joined in 2020.

 

What Countries Can Join NATO?

Cropped view of woman holding globe on white background

 

NATO has an ongoing invitation to certain countries that meet their criteria.

The invitation extends to any European country that can protect the North Atlantic area.

It, therefore, does not extend the invitation to any South American, African, or Asian countries since the focus is on Europe and the North Atlantic area.

As such, as long as a European country meets NATO’s specific criteria, it can join the organization.

 

How Does A Country Join NATO?

Symbol of NATO ( North Atlantic Treaty Organization ) on the side of fuselage of big gray airplane

 

There are a few steps involved in joining NATO.

It isn’t as simple as signing a paper and becoming a member.

Here are the steps a country has to take to join NATO.

 

1. Intensified Dialogue Period

The first step to joining NATO is an Intensified Dialogue period.

During this time, the country in question will speak to NATO officials charged with overseeing the onboarding process.

During this discussion, the country will explain to the officials its aspirations and reasons for wanting to join the organization.

They also inform the organization about any reforms taken recently, or otherwise, that are in league with the sort of reforms that NATO stands for.

If the dialogue goes well and the country can sell the idea that they believe in what NATO stands for, they move on to the next step of initiation.

 

2. The Membership Action Plan

After the discussion is over and the NATO officials feel that the country has similar ideals to what NATO stands for, they’re invited to take part in the Membership Action Plan.

Following the plan and participating in it does not mean that the country will have access to joining NATO.

It’s more of a way to prepare the country to join NATO.

The program essentially helps the country understand the commitments it has to make to NATO.

If its military isn’t up to NATO standards, for example, NATO will show them how to get their military up to speed or where they need to improve.

The same goes for other aspects of the country that might not exactly meet NATO’s standards.

NATO uses the Plan to help make the country aware of the type of changes it needs to make to become a member.

If the country still wants to participate, they’ll make the necessary changes and move on to the next step.

If the commitments are too much, the country is always free to retract its application to join NATO.

 

3. Democratic Political System Criteria

There are several criteria that the country has to satisfy or prove to become a NATO member.

NATO officials will check each criterion to ensure it matches their standards.

One such criterion is that the country needs to have a democratic political system.

In particular, the democratic political system needs to be functioning and based on the market economy.

NATO is not interested in having non-democratic countries join its ranks.

They are also not interested in countries with obvious and severe corruption in their democratic system.

If the country has a functioning democratic political system, they meet this criterion.

 

4. Fair Treatment Of Minorities Criteria

Another criterion that countries have to satisfy to join NATO is the fair treatment of minorities.

NATO doesn’t condone prejudice or ill-treatment of minorities.

Instead, they expect their members to treat all their citizens as equals.

This criterion largely came about in response to the German persecution of Jews and other minorities.

NATO wants to ensure that such a tragedy doesn’t happen again.

As such, one criterion they take seriously is how the country treats its minorities.

If minorities have the same basic rights as the majority, it should satisfy NATO.

If there is evidence that minorities do not have the same rights as the majority, they might not satisfy NATO’s requirements.

If countries satisfy this criterion, they’re able to move on to the next step.

If not, then NATO can decline its application.

If the application gets declined, then NATO can help the country understand where it needs to perform better to be able to join the next time it applies.

 

5. Commitment To Resolve Conflicts Peacefully Criteria

Another criterion that countries must satisfy to join NATO is to commit to resolving conflicts peacefully.

This is another criterion that had a lot of support due to World War II.

With so much loss of life, national leaders didn’t want to see another war on such a grand scale again.

They emphasized diplomatic and peaceful negotiation instead.

It’s something that it expects all of its members to do when a conflict arises.

Unless the country gets pulled into a war unwillingly, NATO expects its members to negotiate peacefully whenever possible.

Prospective members must show that they also have a willingness to negotiate peacefully whenever possible.

Their first action should never be to engage in war.

NATO will examine the past conflicts the prospective country engaged in.

If they find that the country tends to engage in physical conflict more than peaceful negotiations, they might decline their application.

However, if the country shows that it attempts to perform peaceful negotiations first, this might satisfy NATO.

 

6. Military Contributions To NATO

While NATO always wants to engage in peace talks first, there are times when war is inevitable.

For example, if another country begins a war, NATO may have no choice but to retaliate.

When this happens, there are expectations for all members to participate or support the engagement.

As such, prospective members need to be able to show that they have the ability and willingness to lend aid or military force to help other NATO members should war break out.

After all, a large part of NATO is in keeping the peace or defending the North Atlantic area.

If it falls to them to do that, all the members must help to keep the area safe.

If a country doesn’t have a strong enough military, NATO might decline its application to join the organization.

NATO doesn’t want to include countries where it might put a financial strain on them.

For example, if the country is unable to do its part in lending physical forces to NATO’s war, then they might choose to give them financial support.

Yet, this could end up costing the country lots of money to the point where it becomes bankrupt.

It would be up to NATO to try to help them while it’s engaged in war.

NATO prefers the prospective country to have the right kind of military might and resources from the start.

This ensures that the country is ready to do its part to help protect the North Atlantic area.

Willingness is another big factor.

There are a lot of benefits of joining NATO.

However, if the country is only joining for the benefits and isn’t willing to pay the price of that membership, NATO doesn’t want to count on them.

As such, being able to show that one’s country has the right military strength and willingness to defend NATO’s ideals is a must for acceptance into NATO.

 

7. Unanimous Approval To Join

Once a country passes all the criteria, NATO officials take it to the other members.

For a country to join, all the other members must decide to let the country join.

If there isn’t unanimous approval to join, the country doesn’t join NATO.

If the members all agree to it, the country becomes an official member of NATO.

There may be more onboarding procedures after the fact, but the country essentially becomes a member of NATO once it passes the audit and consensus-decision-making process.

 

What Are The Benefits Of Joining NATO?

Flags of Finland and NATO.

 

Considering how hard it is to join NATO, you may wonder what the benefits of joining the membership are.

Here are some of the benefits of joining NATO.

 

1. Voice Matters

NATO makes decisions together.

Because it focuses on a smaller membership, every voice has power.

The decisions made in NATO are through a consensus.

This means that every member is part of the discussion and can voice their opinion.

The officials that work in NATO are constantly in discussion with one another, so they’re usually able to make decisions relatively quickly.

Since each decision goes through the various committees, it means every member gets a say on a decision.

This gives even smaller countries a lot of power on a global scale.

They’re able to contribute to decisions in a way that they might not be able to in a larger organization like the UN.

Even globally, the country might not be able to compete with others.

However, as a part of NATO, the country has a powerful voice and decision-making power.

 

2. Like-Minded Countries

NATO brings together countries that have similar views and ideals about things like democracy, freedom, the rule of law, and human rights.

When a country joins NATO, they’re able to speak with experts and world leaders who have a similar viewpoint as themselves.

Even more, if the country is relatively new to certain reforms, it can rely on those with experience in certain fields for guidance.

For example, if the country is unsure of how to proceed with same-sex marriage, it can get advice from other members who have gone through the process.

NATO members can celebrate each victory for human rights or democracy together.

 

3. Collective Defense

One of the most powerful benefits of being part of NATO is that it provides collective defense.

Essentially, NATO works on the principle that an attack on one NATO country is an attack on all NATO countries.

It makes even weaker countries strong because it means that if a country decides to attack that NATO country, all the other NATO countries are getting involved, too.

This offers some protection from smaller or weaker countries that might feel threatened by larger countries around it.

This also means that if another country gets attacked, your country will be expected to support the country that got attacked in some way.

For example, you may need to provide troops on the ground.

You may need to offer weapon assistance or financial assistance.

While this might seem like a drain, the benefit is that the other countries will do the same thing if you ever get attacked.

 

4. Standing Air Force

Not every NATO country has an air force.

This makes them vulnerable to air attacks.

A benefit of joining NATO is that NATO has a standing military force.

It has ground, naval, and air force troops ready to join a conflict at a moment’s notice.

The military is always active in the event that one of the NATO countries gets attacked.

In regards to the air force, it even protects the air space of countries that don’t have an air force.

Albania, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovenia are NATO countries that don’t have an air force.

NATO pilots fly over these countries 24/7 keeping their airspace protected every day of the year.

This is hugely beneficial to countries that don’t have an air force and that want to join NATO.

It saves them money from having to develop an air force while also ensuring that they’re protected from countries that might try to bomb or attack them from above.

 

Conclusion

Mexico is not part of NATO because the organization focuses on the protection of the North Atlantic area.

Mexico isn’t near the North Atlantic area, but it is part of the UN.

There are several benefits of joining NATO, but the process of becoming a member isn’t always easy.

Leave a Comment