Twelve nations are signatories of the North Atlantic Treaty: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the U.S. Determined to "safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization of their peoples," they resolved to "unite their efforts for . . . the preservation of peace and security." The treaty runs for 20 years. Its two critical articles:

Article 3: ... The parties, separately and jointly, by means of continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid, will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.

Article 5: The parties agree that an armed...

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