NATO Declares Itself a Political Organization, With an Expanded Remit
NATO is no longer merely a military alliance engaged in mutual defense of its Atlantic members, it is now a politicalmilitary alliance with concerns and interests across the globe. Such was the message put out by its Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a virtual speech on June 4 sponsored by the Brookings Institution and the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). He took the occasion to preview his “NATO 2030” proposal, which is to be presented at the June 14 NATO summit. He set the stage with attacks on Russia and China, who, he said, were “leading an authoritarian pushback against the rules-based international order” (NATO-speak for Anglo-American uniltateralism).
The $20 billion plan called NATO 2030 plan has eight points, the first of which is that “we will strengthen NATO as the unique and indispensable forum for trans-Atlantic consultations, on all issues that affect trans-Atlantic security, including, for instance, on Syria, Iran, or the South China Sea,” (a very broad interpretation of the term “trans-Atlantic”). NATO, he went on, “is not just a military alliance, we are a politicalmilitary alliance. And even when we may not take military action, our political unity matters.” Included among the remaining points were the usual blather about the “shared values” of members countries and partners.
NATO 2030 is aimed at China, even more so than at declared adversary Russia, Stoltenberg explained, and will reach out to “partners in Asia-Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea.” Beyond military threats, the initiative also emphasizes the need to intervene to counter the effects of “climate change” and “pandemics”, as well as “cyber threats”.
From the United States, both Secretary of State Blinken and Defense Secretary Austin have expressed full support for the NATO 2030 scheme, with the latter approving the plan to “make the Alliance more resilient and capable of confronting systemic challenges from Russia and the People’s Republic of China.”
In France, on the contrary, there has been opposition. According to a Reuters report on May 28, the plan “to give NATO more flexibility in facing military threats, climate change and China’s rise has hit firm resistance from France.” The French reportedly fear that it will undercut the sovereign powers of member countries to determine their own national defense.
As if to underscore the global empire the alliance intends to enforce, Stoltenberg paid a visit to the HMS Queen Elizabeth on May 27, when it was off the coast of Portugal. From these decks, he declared, this aircraft carrier “projects power to keep us all safe. She carries U.S. Marines. She is protected by a Dutch frigate and she is on her way to the Pacific. So this is a perfect example of Europe and North America working together in NATO for our collective security.”