NATO

Russian Threats Revitalise NATO Alliance

8 August 2023

2.9 MINS

One of the most striking developments of the past 18 months has been the re-emergence of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, as a major force in European affairs and its role as the principal supplier of military hardware to Ukraine in defending itself against the Russian invasion.

Established in 1949 to guarantee the defence of Western Europe from attack by the Soviet Union, the “old” NATO was dominated by the United States, which contributed the lion’s share of both capital and military hardware to the alliance.

At the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, it seemed that NATO was past its use-by date, although it partly regained an international role after Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda attacked the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11, 2001, killing nearly 3,000 people.

The surge of Islamist terrorism around the world, from London and Paris to the Middle East, meant that a global response was needed to the threat, and NATO provided the means of mounting a unified response to this threat, including the invasion of Afghanistan where al Qaeda was based, and, more problematically, Iraq, which the U.S. and most of its NATO allies invaded in 2003.

NATO Membership

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the newly independent countries of central Europe, including Poland, Hungary, the nations which formerly constituted communist Yugoslavia and the Baltic States, sought membership in the European Union and the protection of NATO against a resurgence of Russia as a military threat.

Counter-terrorism operations were the mainstay of NATO’s role from 2001 to 2022, but the United States remained the driving force in the alliance. This changed with the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The former Soviet satellite states of central Europe that had had direct experience of Soviet imperial ambitions were insistent on a united NATO response to the crisis, even as U.S. President Joe Biden offered to fly Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy into exile in the West, effectively conceding Ukraine to Russia.

Zelenskyy’s memorable response set the tone of Ukraine’s resistance. He told Biden: “I want ammunition, not a ride.”

The unified military, economic and political response to the invasion of Ukraine has shifted NATO’s focus back to Europe.

The Ukrainians were driven back to the suburbs of their two largest cities, Kyiv and Kharkiv, but launched counter-offensives which drove the invaders back.

Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia immediately began to supply military equipment to Ukraine, and offered to take in the millions of Ukrainian women and children who were evacuated in the early days of the invasion.

Other NATO allies including Britain, France and Italy also immediately responded, leading to a united NATO response which included military equipment and an economic embargo on Russia. Russia’s response was to cut gas supplies to Western Europe, cut off Ukrainian grain exports, and threatened to widen the war.

The NATO allies, including the U.S., responded by increasing their military support for Ukraine, ultimately leading to the military offensives of late summer 2022 which forced the Russians back from Kharkiv and Kherson in the south-east of Ukraine.

Europe Back in Focus

The unified military, economic and political response to the invasion of Ukraine has shifted NATO’s focus back to Europe, and has led to the emergence of central European nations such as Poland and the Baltic States as the driving forces in the alliance.

Pressure to impose effective sanctions on Moscow and to lift defence expenditure across the NATO alliance is being led by these countries.

Nations in northern Europe that had remained neutral throughout the Cold War, including Sweden and Finland, reversed their neutrality policies, which dated back to the 1950s, and over the past year have been enrolled as members of NATO.

Ukraine, still defending itself against the Russian onslaught, sought membership of the alliance at the recent NATO Summit held in Vilnius, capital of Lithuania.

While the membership application was deferred, the NATO allies agreed to a host of new measures to sup­port Ukraine both militarily and economically, and to strengthen sanctions on Russia and other countries that have assisted it, including China, Belarus, and Iran, which has supplied Russia with thousands of drones to attack Ukraine.

In the 90-paragraph communiqué issued at the end of the Vilnius Summit, the first 20 referred to the war in Ukraine, and promised a strong and united front in support of Ukraine’s independence.

At the Vilnius Summit, NATO has redefined itself with the initiative coming from Europe rather than from the United States.

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Originally published in News Weekly. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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2 Comments

  1. Peter Pearce 8 August 2023 at 10:37 am - Reply

    I’ll just add that this is a bankers war led by the Rothschild banking Dynasty against the formation of an alternative banking systems being created by the BRICS alliance being led by Russia. As history has shown us, anybody opposing the Rothschild banking cartel will be met by the full force of invasion. We only have to look what they did to Lybia and Iraq.

    Anything thing else you read about Putins “aggression” is pure propaganda.

    • Kim Beazley 9 August 2023 at 8:08 am - Reply

      “As history has shown us, anybody opposing the Rothschild banking cartel will be met by the full force of invasion. ”

      In case you hadn’t noticed, this is Russia (a BRICS nation) invading Ukraine, not the other way around. And it doesn’t take a great deal of intelligence to work out that a war like this, with its negative effect on international trade, high inflation, etc., leads to recession, which is never good for banks.

      Besides, this “Rothschild cartel” conspiracy theory is nothing but a disgusting anti-Semitic attack, and is debunked by the fact that Rothschild’s Bank has branches in Russia! And they’re far from being large enough in the 21st century to lead a cartel, even if there were one (which there isn’t).

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