Diplomacy has been completely abandoned by Washington in its dealings with Moscow and the full militarization of Europe is being pursued. To sum it up, the latest NATO summit brings the world even closer to a world war. Writes Uriel Araujo
The NATO Summit in Madrid, which ended on June 30, has been described as the one that has changed and transformed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance. Among other things, it has changed the Alliance’s defense and deterrence, enhancing battlegroups in its eastern part. Moreover, a new Strategic Concept has been adopted. It predictably addresses Russia, and also, for the first time addresses China as a “challenge” to the Alliance’s “interests, security, and values.” Another key decision made during the summit was Sweden and Finland’s application to join the alliance.
The Madrid Summit Declaration, issued by the 30 members of the Atlantic Alliance formally invited both Norden countries to join and also reiterated the alliance’s “unwavering support” for Ukraine – while naming Russia “the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area.” The Declaration also acknowledges that there has been an “unprecedented level of cooperation with the European Union”, and vows to strengthen the “strategic partnership” with the bloc.
Much has been written on NATO’s will to expand. In fact, it has been expanding east since at least 1999, which was a breach of the 1990 promise. This in itself is one of the key causes of the current war. Pope Francis summed it up quite eloquently by saying that NATO has been “barking at Russia’s door”. And now the military alliance is expanding north, thus completely encircling the Russian Federation. In fact, Finnish and Swedish membership will extend the Alliance’s territorial reach as far out as the Russian eastward Arctic flank (the Bering strait). Furthermore, it will make Russia the only non-NATO country in the Arctic, which has already been the stage for tensions due to its strategic location and geopolitical importance. Norway’s old slogan for its Arctic Policy was “High North, low tension”. Tensions will of course no longer be low in this new scenario.
On June 27, ahead of the summit, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had already stated that the number of troops on high alert to deal with the “Russian threat” would be boosted to over 300,000. That is a sevenfold increase. He also stated the Alliance will need to respond to this new reality “for many years”. In Davos, at the World Economic Forum, Finland’s former Prime Minister Alexander Stubb said that there is now a new Iron Curtain dividing Europe and that the very European security architecture has now changed.
Not much has been written however on a key issue. On June 29, during the NATO summit, after saying Washington will send additional F-35 squadrons to the UK and will add a “rotational brigade” to Romania, US President Joe Biden also announced the US is establishing a permanent base in Poland and increasing its presence in Europe. It will be the first time Washington has a permanent facility in NATO’s so-called “eastern flank”. One should remember that this constitutes a breach of NATO’s 1997 agreement (NATO-Russia Founding act) on not establishing a permanent presence east of Germany. American authorities however insist a base in Poland will not violate this act based on a technicality: although the facility itself will be permanent, the troops will be deployed on a rotational basis. Of course, this is just a “creative” attempt to maneuver the legalities surrounding the Atlantic Alliance doings, and will be perceived by Moscow as a breach.
One should also keep in mind that both Warsaw and Kiev have already taken first steps towards a future Ukrainian-Polish confederation, amid reports about an annexation. On May 3, Polish President Andrzej Duda even stated that he hopes one day “there will be no border” between the two countries. Maria Zakharova, official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, described these plans as “legalizing the Polish takeover of Ukraine.” Thus, placing a permanent Western military presence in Poland is the closest thing to doing so in Ukraine itself one could do.
Joe Biden said that Putin was looking for the “Finlandization of Europe”, but will get the “NATOization” of the continent instead. Before the current Russian-Ukrainian war, there were 80,000 American troops in Europe. The figures in the near future will probably reach 100,000.
Diplomacy has been completely abandoned by Washington in its dealings with Moscow and the full militarization of Europe is being pursued. To sum it up, the latest NATO summit brings the world even closer to a world war.
Uriel Araujo, researcher with a focus on international and ethnic conflicts.
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