Being a North American country and aligned, by and large with US??

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    I think this is more of a political question than a history one. – SMS von der Tann Jan 21 '17 at 2:10
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    @kmansoor Turkey and Greece came later (1952) though Italy was an original member. Mutual defense treaties generally put the accuracy of their names at a low priority. I believe the name is because NATO grew out of the Treaty of Brussels between Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. All the original members (except Italy) border on the North Atlantic. – Schwern Jan 21 '17 at 4:17
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    I wouldn't say Mexico is "aligned" with the US. As bordering countries, there's obviously lots of trade, and Mexico certainly benefits from the US determination to keep non-American powers out of the Americas, but the US and Mexico have never really had any sort of military alliance or other military relationship. – Gort the Robot Jan 21 '17 at 5:07
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    @StevenBurnap They sure did have a military relationship in 1848....... – Felix Goldberg Jan 21 '17 at 6:57
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    Because they did not care to be aligned with one or the other super power, and they were at little to no risk from the Soviet Union. Basically, Mexico didn't need it. Why should Mexico send soldiers to fight in a European war? – KorvinStarmast Jan 21 '17 at 16:16

NATO stands for North ATLANTIC Treaty Organization, not North American.

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It is a treaty of mutual defense originally formed around the idea of protecting Europe from attack, specifically by the Soviet Union and later the Warsaw Pact. To quote first NATO Secretary General, Lord Ismay, the organization's goal was "to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down."

The question implies that NATO is a US-centric organization. It is not. It's centered on north west Europe (since expanded). NATO was formed to bring the US into the existing mutual defense Treaty of Brussels between Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Its headquarters was in Paris and now Brussels. While the Supreme Allied Commander Europe has always been a US officer it is an international organization focused on Europe.

Mexico is not a member because it has no stake in those things. It was not a country threatened by the Soviet Union, nor is it militarily and politically associated with the other members. They were only tangentially involved in World War II and have no need for a mutual defense treaty, and the associated costs and entanglements, with countries and a conflict that is literally half a world away.

There are only two North American members, the US and Canada; the rest are European. That little blip in South America is French Guiana, a part of France. The US because they were a major Ally in WWII and politically linked to the defense of western Europe against Communism, and Canada because of its political and military ties to the UK.

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