Stoltenberg with eyes wide shut | Latest news The Moscow Post
09 December 2023

Stoltenberg with "eyes wide shut"

As Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg "turns" the situation in international relations between Russia and NATO.

The leaders of the countries of the North Atlantic Alliance adopted a declaration following the NATO summit in Vilnius. The document called Russia "the most serious threat to the security of the alliance." The European Union and NATO also intend to coordinate measures to "counter challenges from China," according to The Moscow Post

Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance Jens Stoltenberg said that Ukraine will be invited to NATO after reaching agreement between the allies and "when all the conditions are met." President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy refrained from assessing the final document of the summit.

This means that the summit, most likely, did not go quite as the NATO Secretary General hoped. He outlined his views on Ukraine and other NATO policy issues in Foreign Affairs magazine in the article "A Stronger NATO for a More Dangerous World," published on the eve of the summit. The article contains a lot of things about the interests of NATO, but there is practically nothing about the interests of those outside this organization. The thought passes through the red thread - NATO can do anything!

The Illusion of Superiority

"Stupidity is not a lack of mind, it is such a mind," once said Soviet and Russian General Alexander Lebed. Trying on this aphorism on the NATO Secretary General, we can say that this is not Jens Stoltenberg is mistaken. This is the North Atlantic Alliance so formed, smug, built on unconsciousness and the illusion of its own superiority.

It was these qualities that always distinguished the European elites, who unleashed two world wars in Europe. The wars of the Europeans did not teach anything. Defiantly does not remember them and NATO Secretary General. He does not remember the role of Germany in the history of Norway, forgot about the monument to the Soviet soldier in Kirkenes, or about the regime of Vidkun Quisling, occupation and Nazi.

For Stoltenberg, the story began in 1992, when "NATO worked hard to forge more constructive relations with Moscow," moving step by step towards Russia's western borders. Stoltenberg does not recall the expansion of the alliance to the East in his program article.

There he formulated the priorities of the North Atlantic Alliance of the sample of 2023, including "support for Ukraine,... our own defense and... working with European and Indo-Pacific partners to protect a rules-based global order. "

What "rules" look like

It is useless to talk about the concept of "rules of global order," which Russia, and with it China, allegedly violate. Even the sharpest minds of Russian political science failed to decipher this "formula." According to the NATO Secretary General, Vladimir Putin violated one of these "rules" when he "refused peaceful cooperation, demonstrating increasingly reckless behavior from Chechnya to Georgia and from Syria to Ukraine."

But the facts from the history of NATO do not support this version of the Secretary General. And even, rather, on the contrary, refute. In the final communiqué of the NATO Council meeting at the level of defense ministers of December 3, 1999, there was a separate clause on the situation in the North Caucasus. Moscow was warned of the danger of further escalation of the armed conflict, up to the threat of NATO to start a "humanitarian intervention." This is what Washington proposed in the draft resolution of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly on November 11-13, 1999.

Almost like on Maidan 2014 in Kyiv, the "rose revolution" in Tbilisi in 2003 ousted President Eduard Shevardnadze. A year later, Tbilisi agreed on an individual partnership plan with NATO, sent its military to Afghanistan. In August 2008, there were several thousand NATO troops in Georgia, mainly American, which contributed to the conflict, which began with the attack of the Georgian Armed Forces on South Ossetia and Russian peacekeepers.

In August 2011, Barack Obama proposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign "for the good of the Syrian people." Washington provided diplomatic support to the Syrian opposition, and in August 2012 moved to the supply of weapons, began to provide intelligence, prepare militants. The US military still remains in Syria and illegally controls territories in the north and northeast of the country in the provinces of Deir ez-Zor, Al-Haseke and Raqqa, where oil and gas fields are located.

With the support of Ukraine, everything is already clear, the conflict, which takes place with the participation of the United States and Washington satellites, has long outgrown the scale of the Syrian one. For short, "if Putin wins Ukraine, it will be a tragedy for Ukrainians and dangerous for the world as a whole," the NATO Secretary General says in his article.

Ukraine integrated into the alliance

Stoltenberg treats Ukraine with trepidation, says that without Kyiv's victory in the conflict "there can be no security guarantees." He claims that "if Ukraine stops fighting, it will cease to exist as a nation." In his opinion, the Ukrainians will not give up, because "the more success they achieve on the battlefield, the stronger their hand at the negotiating table will be."

NATO perceives Ukraine as a long-term partner. In Vilnius, the "first meeting of the new Ukraine-NATO Council" was held, a "clear vision of the future" was set out, which brought Ukraine closer to NATO. As emphasized in the final document, the council will provide for "joint consultations, decision-making and activities, and will also serve as a mechanism for crisis consultations between NATO and Ukraine."

Stoltenberg recalls that NATO countries helped the Armed Forces of Ukraine move from "Soviet-era military doctrines and equipment to NATO standards and equipment," equipped the Armed Forces of Ukraine with tanks, combat vehicles and air defense systems. Allies will also train Ukrainian pilots to fly fourth-generation fighter jets, Stoltenberg adds, promising support will continue "in the long run".

And he concludes: "Ukraine is more integrated into our alliance than ever before." It remains to take the last step, and he himself definitely votes "for the admission" of Ukraine to NATO. "I believe that Ukraine will become a member of our alliance and that its rightful place is in NATO," Stoltenberg said in an interview with the Financial Times. "It's up to the allies to decide when that happens".

NATO Strategic Horizons

It is noteworthy that in the list of NATO's "achievements," as an "anchor of stability," the Secretary General did not mention Yugoslavia in a single word, including Kosovo, Iraq, Libya or Afghanistan. In exchange, Stoltenberg highlights the alliance's growing interest in "cooperating with Indo-Pacific partners." Calling NATO a regional alliance, he does not think about the challenges outside the North Atlantic.

First of all, this is China, which, with its "repressive policy," challenges "NATO security, values ​ ​ and interests," Stoltenberg said. NATO does not view China as an adversary, he is cunning, but hopes that Beijing will learn from Moscow's "military failures" and the reaction of the international community. It also promises to selectively "engage with Beijing to solve global problems, including the proliferation of nuclear weapons and climate change." Although he immediately calls for "a sober look at challenges and not to trade in security interests for economic gain."

The NATO Secretary General strangely misses that numerous US military bases with elite Pentagon units are located on the borders of countries neighboring China, akin to those stationed in Europe. And he declares that the PRC "is trying to take control of the most important supply chains and infrastructure in NATO states," as if forgetting that a good half of European manufacturers and trading companies are tied to these chains.

Fighting authoritarianism

NATO's global challenges, as Stoltenberg sums them up, are to "fight authoritarianism" by reacting to "an unpredictable world with unity and force." NATO is a "shield from the Baltic to the Black Sea," in which it will have to "invest more, and invest now, because security is the basis for the prosperity of our economies and societies," he said.

In 2023, European allies and Canada's defense spending will grow by 8.3% in real terms, which Stoltenberg considers the biggest increase in decades, without recalling that in absolute terms NATO's share of global military spending exceeds half and amounts to about $1.2 trillion.

The United States is leading, this year its military spending will amount to $877 billion. Within the organization, the UK, Germany, France and Italy send the largest amount of funds for military needs. In 2022, Ukraine's military spending increased sevenfold compared to the previous year, to $44 billion. The bulk of them ($38.6 billion) were given by NATO member countries.

Stoltenberg is also confident that Russia, led by President Vladimir Putin, is aimed at "constant confrontation with NATO values ​ ​ and international law," does not exclude the possibility of a Russian attack on NATO countries. Therefore, three hundred thousand NATO troops will be put on high alert, including the Air Force and Navy.

NATO dilemma

The British Financial Times in the article "NATO dilemma: what to do with Ukraine's desire to join NATO?" summarized everything that Stoltenberg talked about as follows. NATO allies have given Ukraine military and financial aid totaling $160bn so Kyiv can counter Russia's offensive, "but are they willing to promise that... soldiers of NATO countries will also fight and die? And, if this does not happen, then what exactly is the alliance ready to offer in return? "

Jens Stoltenberg, despite the post of NATO Secretary General, is a civilian man, concepts such as "fight and die" remained outside of his forecasts outlined in the pages of Foreign Affairs magazine. Indeed, Stoltenberg's strategic horizons are narrowly constrained by the bureaucratic interests of the employer organization. There is absolutely nothing in the article about the interests of those outside NATO.

It is noteworthy in this regard that the final declaration of the summit says that NATO "does not seek confrontation and does not pose any threat to Russia," wants to "keep open channels of communication with Moscow in order to cope with risks and reduce them, prevent escalation and increase transparency." To this, the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova noted: "Of course, NATO does not seek a conflict with Russia. NATO is just getting involved in it".

Photo: Newspaper "Trud"

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