Atlantic Escalation Summit
The latest NATO summit, which is said to have conducted the first review of the alliance’s strategy since 2010, was recently held, with more than 40 heads of state and government attending. According to the Secretary-General of NATO, the basis for this review is that Russia has become the biggest threat to the Alliance, while it was – according to the previous concept – a strategic partner. As for China, it was not even considered, but now it is seen as a challenge to the interests of the Alliance and the values of its members.
This development reflects the current deterioration in international relations. In addition to what distinguished this summit, the new steps in the process of expanding the alliance, which achieved a breakthrough after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the fall of its regimes in Eastern Europe. The alliance began to expand since that time until it absorbed the entire members of the “Warsaw Pact”, which represented the organizational framework for the Soviet camp, the opponent of the Western camp led by the United States. Rather, the alliance included three former Soviet republics: Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, which had joined the Soviet Union after World War II, which played a major role in achieving victory in it. However, the Madrid summit witnessed more steps to expand the alliance by starting the procedures for the accession of Sweden and Finland, a step that was considered an addition to the strength of the alliance and the soundness of its logic; As for strength, it is precisely because the Finnish army is well-known for its quality of armament and training, and as for the soundness of logic among those who are happy with this accession, it is because it put a definite end to the approach of neutrality that these two countries used to follow, an approach that now contradicts from the point of view of the alliance with the threats embodied by the Russian military operation in Ukraine, not to mention the presence of the Russian military operation in Ukraine. The leaders of Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand this summit, which indicates that NATO’s interest has gone beyond the Atlantic.
The previous developments represented a source of pride for the supporters of the alliance, as well as a previous pride in dedicating the unity of the alliance in the face of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, after it had been subjected in recent years to more than a real crisis that at times affected the relationship between the American leadership of the alliance and European countries, especially during the Trump era. And at other times between members of the alliance, as in the Franco-Turkish dispute.
However, these joyful developments for the members and leadership of the Alliance raise great concern among those interested in strengthening international peace and security, as they represent a continuation of the logic of militarization of international relations that has produced the current global conflict on the Ukrainian land. If the supporters of the alliance are happy with the achievements that have been made, as they represent an immunization for it in the face of real threats, then the supporters of peace, on the other hand, believe that these threats would not have occurred if a logic other than the current militarization had prevailed. If the alliance had responded to Russia’s security concerns, the threat would not have occurred originally. Years passed when coexistence between Russia and the Alliance was possible, and there was even a strategic partnership between them.
Even if we consider that Russia’s annexation of Crimea was a negative sign, we should not forget, on the other hand, the attempts made to change the situation in Ukraine in a way that is unfavorable to Russian interests. The strangest thing is that the alliance is venturing into bringing China into the circle of challenges it is facing, which prompted strong Chinese reactions that deplored this step.
The conclusion is that the insistence seems clear to continue with the logic of polarization and militarization, even though it has only led to what we are witnessing of mutual destruction. It is strange that the lessons of the post-World War II polarization experience indicate that there is a need for detente and reconciliation, even if tension persists and conflicts escalate. So why insist on the logic of escalation?
*Professor of Political Science – Cairo University
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