NATO Summit Declares Unity Against Russia and China, but Can It Hold?

The heads of state and government participating in the NATO summit in Madrid June 28-30 adopted a new Strategic Concept. As expected, it presents the Russian Federation as “the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area”, that might even might attack “the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of NATO members. Thus, while piously claiming that the Alliance does not seek confrontation, it was decided at the summit to considerably expand its military presence on its eastern flank, i.e, on Russia’s borders.

The Strategic Concept also, and for the first time, takes aim at China as a “challenge” and systemic competitor that “employs a broad range of political, economic and military tools” to increase its power and influence. What that means, implicitly, is that “Global NATO” intends to expand to this flank as well. Especially since the document takes note of the “deepening strategic partnership between the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation” and of their “mutually reinforcing attempts to undercut the rules-based international order”.

The new document, together with the joint statement issued in Madrid, stresses NATO’s commitment to “democracy, individual liberty, human rights, and the rule of law”. But knowing how often NATO, led by the United Kingdom and the United States, have waged illegal wars and covert operations throughout the world over the past few decades, and established alliances when useful with notorious dictators and human rights violators, such utterances can hardly be taken seriously.

The leaders’ joint statement stresses NATO’s “full solidarity” with Kiev. However, debates are raging behind the scenes on just how long the West should push President Zelensky and his controllers to continue the fighting in the Donbass and to refuse negotiations. Competent military analysts all agree that the Ukrainian forces have as good as lost the war already, as was partially admitted in their withdrawal from the Luhansk region.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko, who was Russia’s last Ambassador to NATO, reacted to the Strategic Concept in an address to the Valdai Discussion Club on July 1, noting that “Russia itself has been declared a threat to the alliance, meaning the very existence of such a state is being considered a threat”. Indeed, the need to break Russia up into small parts is increasingly presented among Western circles and think tanks as the next goal.

Chinese officials have also responded to the document, with the Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Zhao Lijian, noting that China’s development “presents an opportunity for the world, not a challenge for anyone…. What NATO should do is to give up the Cold War mentality, zero-sum game mindset and the practice of making enemies, and stop seeking to disrupt Asia and the whole world after it has disrupted Europe.” In sum, very sound advice that our newsletter can only endorse.

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