Home Japanese values How Russia’s invasion of Ukraine revitalized the world’s largest military alliance

How Russia’s invasion of Ukraine revitalized the world’s largest military alliance

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And even old Western alliances have been restored. As US President Joe Biden said following the decision to welcome two new nations into the fold in Madrid on Wednesday, Putin’s war on Ukraine has only made NATO stronger.

“He tried to weaken us, expected our resolve to fracture, but he got exactly what he didn’t want,” Biden said. “He wanted the ‘Finlandization’ of NATO. It has obtained the “NATO-ization” of Finland.

The new confrontation with Russia has revitalized the alliance – founded to counter the Cold War threat from the Soviet Union – bringing with it two potential new Nordic members, Finland and Sweden, and more boots on the pitch.

In a sign of its clear commitment to Europe after Trump’s isolationist years, the United States has sent more than 40,000 additional troops, while Britain and other NATO members have deployed additional troops to the eastern flank of the alliance in the countries bordering Russia.

The alliance now wants to increase its forces available on high alert to over 300,000 troops to truly fortify the border with Russia and fully defend Allied territory.

Germany, Europe’s largest economy, has finally agreed to meet NATO’s defense spending target of 2% of GDP. It is also investing 100 billion euros ($152 billion) in rearmament – a promise that once would have shaken Europe.

And even Turkey, despite its more recent growing ties with Russia, has sided with NATO.

By contrast, other international bodies such as the United Nations – where Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council and exercises veto power – have been rendered useless.

“At this summit, we have brought together our alliances to address both the direct threats Russia poses to Europe and the systemic challenges China poses to a rules-based global order,” Biden said. .

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“I don’t know how it’s going to end, but it won’t end with Russia winning over Ukraine. Ukraine has already dealt a severe blow to Russia.

Preparing allies for a long conflict in Ukraine despite talks in March of a possible victory, he added: “We will support Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

Two years ago, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the former Norwegian prime minister, was sacked by many members of the alliance when he warned it should turn its attention to threats more distant. He suggested that NATO should seek to “reduce” activities outside members’ borders and “intensify” their internal defensive resilience to better withstand external threats.

“China is getting closer to us… We see them in the Arctic. We see them in cyberspace. We see them investing heavily in critical infrastructure in our countries,” he said at the time.

“And of course they have more and more high-range weapons that can reach all NATO allied countries. They are building very many long-range intercontinental missile silos.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol during the “family photo” of the Asia-Pacific partners at the NATO Leaders’ Summit in Madrid.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

The past week has shown that despite the war in Ukraine, the West has not lost sight of the threat from Beijing. And NATO is now looking away from its geographical moorings to recognize that borders are no longer the same as they once were.

That’s why Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was invited, along with his counterparts from Japan, South Korea and New Zealand – now known as the ‘Asia Pacific Four’ – who said their nations were “not far removed from the challenges” facing Europe. .

Just six weeks after his election and with foreign affairs never at the forefront of his responsibilities, Albanese had to make a rapid transition to becoming a player on the world stage.

Addressing a meeting with his regional counterparts in a hotel conference room on the outskirts of Madrid on Wednesday, Albanese said events in Europe had “real and significant implications” for their own Indo region. -Pacific, just like events in the Indo-Pacific. -The Pacific has affected Europe.

Ultimately, this is the code for the Chinese Community Party’s increasingly assertive actions across the region.

“Only by working together can partners deliver real choice…in the region and take concrete steps to promote peace, stability and prosperity for the Indo-Pacific,” the Australian leader said. .

Albanese drew a direct link to Russia’s “special relationship” with Beijing.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the invasion of Ukraine had “shaken the very foundations of the world order”.

Europe’s security and Indo-Pacific security, Kishida said, cannot be separated.

NATO’s new Strategic Concept warns that authoritarian regimes “challenge our interests, our values ​​and our democratic way of life”, interfere in democratic processes and test the resilience of nations.

He denounced both Russia and China for investing in sophisticated conventional and nuclear missile capabilities “with little transparency or adherence to international standards and commitments.”

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The document also singled out China for its efforts to control key technologies, critical infrastructure and strategic materials.

“China is not our adversary, but we must be lucid about the serious challenges it poses,” Stoltenberg told the summit, referring to Beijing’s military forces, including nuclear weapons and “intimidation.” neighbors.

“We must continue to stand with our partners to preserve the rules-based international order. A global system based on norms and values. Instead of brutal violence.

Stating that “global challenges require global solutions”, Stoltenberg said NATO would strengthen cooperation with its Indo-Pacific partners, including on cyber defence, new technologies, maritime security, climate change and the fight against misinformation.

But for now, according to the strategy, Russia remains the “most direct threat” to the alliance.

This week the new head of Britain’s armed forces, Sir Patrick Sanders, warned against approaching the ‘1937 moment’, a reference to Western Europe’s failure to cope with the territorial expansion of the Nazi Germany in the years before World War II.

“At this summit, we have brought together our alliances to address both the direct threats Russia poses to Europe and the systemic challenges China poses to a rules-based global order.”

US President Joe Biden

“We are not at war, but we must act quickly so as not to be dragged into a war by failure to contain territorial expansion,” he said.

Sir Lawrence Freedman, Emeritus Professor of War Studies at King’s College London, says the only effect of the ‘brutal and criminal’ nature of the Russian invasion was to forge a ‘remarkable’ NATO unity over the need to support Ukraine in a war whose outcome cannot be predicted with confidence.

“The conflict is already causing great suffering and economic hardship, and could still lead to gas rationing, even if member states are not engaged in the fighting,” he said.

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“So this is one of those pinnacle moments in international affairs on which all future security arrangements depend. The unity of the alliance may crumble but, for now, the commitment has been made to support Ukraine as it seeks to drive out the occupiers.

Freedman says NATO can’t just wait for Putin to walk off the stage or for Russia to withdraw its forces. He says he must provide Ukraine with a constant supply of new weapons and ammunition as well as financial support.

Yet Russia has warned that by providing this assistance, NATO allies risk the outbreak of nuclear war.

“Audiences need to be prepared with the candor needed for the long haul,” he says.

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