Putin’s worst fears about NATO are happening right before his eyes. The alliance of nations just declared at the summit that Russia is the most significant and direct threat to the members of NATO’s peace and security. The group vowed to strengthen its support of Ukraine after its president lashed out at the alliance for not doing more to defeat the Kremlin.
The chief of NATO had earlier said that the war in Ukraine had created Europe’s biggest security crisis since World War II. For some, this is a major movement away from where NATO was just a decade ago. Then, Moscow was called a strategic partner in the alliance.
The group also issued a strong warning against China. They accused the nation of bullying their neighbors and getting into a strategic partnership with Moscow, which is becoming a challenge to the West.
NATO was established 70 years ago as a way to come against the build-up of the Soviet Union. Now they are facing a similar challenge from Russia. Members of NATO have sent a massive number of troops and weapons into eastern Europe in a way that has not been seen in decades.
The actions of Russia have caused both Sweden and Finland to seek membership in NATO for their safety.
Both of these nations were invited to join NATO this week by Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. He said that the war had brought “the biggest overhaul of our collective defense since the end of the Cold War.”
This caused criticism to come from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He does not understand why the door has not been opened for his country.
“The open-door policy of NATO shouldn’t resemble the old turnstiles on Kyiv’s subway, which stay open but close when you approach them until you pay. Hasn’t Ukraine paid enough?” Zelenskyy said on a video link at the summit.
Zelenskyy also asked the alliance for more artillery systems and other weapons. He warned the leadership that if they did not choose to help Ukraine, they were just delaying their war with Russia. He asked the group who is next, and referenced Moldova, the Baltics, and Poland. He said all of them would be next.
NATO is moving rapidly to secure its members by radically scaling up military power along its eastern flank. These border countries are nervous about Russia’s future moves. They plan to increase by eightfold the size of NATO’s rapid reaction force. It will go from 40,000 to 300,000 troops by 2023.
President Joe Biden is providing the lion’s share of NATO’s military power. He promised at the summit that the U.S. would send an “unmistakable message … that NATO is strong and united.”
The tension in NATO comes from the high cost involved in engaging in the war. Energy and essential goods costs have skyrocketed. And many are concerned with how the war is going to end and what concessions Ukraine might have to make with Russia.
NATO vowed to be “clear-eyed” about the challenges China is bringing to the alliance. They are watching a deepening partnership being created with Russia and they see China getting even bolder in its coercive policies. NATO said that there would be consequences for the security of their allies and partners.
NATO wants to remain open to negotiations with Beijing.
The alliance of nations took care of what some saw as the biggest hurdle of the summit at the very beginning of their gathering. Turkey agreed to lift its opposition to Sweden and Finland joining the group. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had threatened to block the two nations if they didn’t change their position on Kurdish rebel groups. But that impasse was dismissed and there was a positive vote for acceptance.
Putin expected this group to splinter, so their unity is a building threat to Moscow.