“Quiet resistance” of Europe

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“Quiet resistance” of Europe 20.07.2018 11:22

In Brussels on July 11-12, the NATO summit was held. The main issues were increased funding of the alliance from European countries to 2% of the national GDP and "the elimination of vulnerability at the border of the allied countries with the Russian Federation", that is, in Poland, the Baltic countries and Norway.

However, not everything is determined by the level of military spending, especially since many EU countries are opposed to spending on the needs of the organization, as required by Washington. Equally important was the provision of combat readiness of forces and assets, their mobility and the adaptation of NATO command structures to new challenges and threats. True, to what exactly is not specified. In this regard, the formation of an operational grouping of troops was adopted according to the formula "4 to 30" by 2020. In practice, this means that at any time 30 land battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 NATO warships can be deployed in a powerful strike group in 30 days.

Despite the fact that the leadership of the alliance refuses to use force against anyone, the improvement of the infrastructure for transporting troops to Europe unequivocally threatens Russia's national security.

The issue of relations between NATO and Russia was one of the key at the last summit, especially given the July 16 meeting in Helsinki of presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. On the one hand, the alliance in the person of General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg says about the ongoing policy of establishing a dialogue with Moscow. On the other hand, the build-up of military capabilities and the creation of a new operational grouping of troops testify to a policy of restraining Russia, and not establishing partnership relations with it. At the same time, we should not forget that the total military expenditures of NATO member states in 2017 amounted to about $1 trillion, which is almost 20 times higher than the military budget of the Russian Federation.

In addition to talking about the alleged Russian military threat and the need to build up forces near Russian borders, NATO member countries discussed the fight against terrorism, as well as strengthening cooperation between the alliance and the EU and increasing the number of the European military contingent in Afghanistan. Also on the agenda was the opening of a new mission for training in Iraq as part of the fight against the radical group Islamic State (banned in Russia).

In order to confirm the "open door" policy, NATO member states invited the Macedonia to the alliance, which on June 12, 2018, by agreement with the Greek government, began the process of renaming the country to the Republic of Northern Macedonia. In addition, the republic signed an agreement on good-neighborly relations with Bulgaria and adopted a law on languages. In fact, it removed all obstacles to providing it with an action plan for NATO membership.

Moreover, the leadership of the alliance stated that Georgia as one of the key partners will soon become a member of the organization. However, not everything is so cloudless for another applicant for the entry. Despite the fact that the so-called regional challenges for NATO are discussed with the participation of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko the Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban in his turn opposed its participation. He has already announced the blocking of any decisions of the alliance in relation to Ukraine and Georgia.

Even NATO Secretary General Ian Stoltenberg, commenting on the Ukrainian scenario, said about the prospects in the future, but reminded the Ukrainian leadership of the need for reforms. Moreover, until the settlement of the situation in the Donbass is resolved, all statements of interest in the alliance of Peter Poroshenko are absolutely declarative.

The NATO summit in Brussels formally reaffirmed the transatlantic solidarity of the Western countries and their willingness to assume more financial and military commitments to ensure the security of the military-political bloc in the extended area of responsibility, including the Middle East and North Africa.

However, in reality, European states do not want to pay for their own military security, they resist the trade war unleashed by the Trump administration and do not want to leave the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear issue. Europeans are increasingly irritated by US dictates in the financial and economic sphere and the fact that Americans do not take into account their national interests.

The consequence of all this will be a difficult process of acquiring Europe's foreign policy and financial and economic, and in the future even military independence from the United States. As they move along this path, European states will increasingly need Russia, which does not create a real military threat for them. Moreover, Moscow is ready for serious cooperation. But for this, Europe needs to overcome the stereotypes of the Cold War and think more about its own, and not American, interests.