NATO and Ukraine crisis in changing global security environment
As in the three previous articles of this series, that of December 8, that of December 5 and that of November 30, I am sketching some obvious trajectories and main consequences, in the case Russia is winning in the Ukrainian war.
History and documents
US Secretary of State James Baker’s famous “not one inch eastward” assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a series of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials (including Boris Yeltsin) throughout the process of German unification in 1990 -1991.
The documents, by the American National Security Archive at George Washington University, provide evidence supporting the Soviet/Russian position. Although no particular, non-expansion pledge was ever codified, US policymakers presented their Soviet counterparts with implicit and informal assurances in 1990 strongly suggesting that NATO would not expand in post–Cold War Europe, if the Soviet Union consented to German reunification.
The whole proof material is massive and fully convincing. Declassified documents show security assurances against NATO expansion to Soviet leaders from James Baker, Georg Bush, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Helmut Kohl, Robert Gates, Francois Mitterrand, Margaret Thatcher, Douglas Hurd, John Major and Manfred Woerner.
However, since the end of the Cold War, NATO started its eastward expansion (12 founding states, 16 states at the end of CW): in 1990s 3 member states; 2000s 9 states; 2010s 1 state and 2020s 1 state, so far together 30; at the moment two membership processes going (Sweden, Finland). Obviously, the final decision will be made after the Turkish president and parliamentary elections, on 18th June 2023.
On September 7, 2021, I released an article “Quo Vadis, Europa?” where I stated thatEurope, while having a splendid history behind, both in great power politics and in value leading, seems to have lost the future of being a leader in any kind of international issues.
I continued in that article with the following two chapters, which are now here below.
Afghanistan debacle and its ramifications in the EU …
Afghan debacle has exposed severe European failings on multiple fronts but no agreement on how to fix them. Amid the chaotic evacuation process in Kabul, the 27 EU member countries and the EU institutions in Brussels have been confronting the humiliating reality of their collective lack of military capability and they have been seeking desperately new policy options but in vain. The inability to functioning, without help from the US led to a staggering conclusion: The European Union can neither protect nor project its highly-praised value “European way of life.”
While some leaders, e.g. French President Emmanuel Macron has talked about NATO’s “brain dead” and said the experience in Afghanistan confirms the need for a conversation about European “strategic autonomy,” many European military experts and analysts say the discussion that is really needed is about basic strategic functionality. They underline the evidence that Europe is not capable defend itself, especially if it faces conflict against military great powers like Russia or China.
In terms of the EU’s broader foreign policy objectives, geopolitical reality check is going and the implications are similarly challenging. If two decades of huge military and economic investment in Afghanistan could not create a durable framework for democracy, human rights and rule of law there, there seems to be little chance that more moderate pressure like economic sanctions will change the facts on the ground in Belarus, Ukraine, Syria or Iran, let alone break the regimes in Beijing or Moscow.
… and in NATO
At NATO level and particularly among its European officials, the Afghanistan mission and its catastrophic close is becoming a huge stain and a moral scandal on the legacy of Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, now entering what is widely expected to be his last year as the alliance’s top civilian leader. Jens Stoltenberg reiterated, in mid-February 2021, that the promise of NATO coalition to leave Afghanistan by May 1. is conditions-based, criticizing that the Taliban has to meet their commitments.
However, in mid-April, the official of Biden administration, announced the withdrawal will not be conditions-based. “We will begin an orderly drawdown of the remaining forces before May 1, and plan to have all US troops out of the country before the 20th anniversary of 9/11,” the official said. “The President has judged that a conditions-based approach, which has been the approach of the past two decades, is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever.” Standing with Blinken at NATO headquarters in April, Stoltenberg declared: “Today, we decided together on the future of our presence in Afghanistan.”
In the beginning of September, Stoltenberg is making warnings against weakening transatlantic bond, EU defense plans “can never replace” NATO. Calls for a new European military force following the withdrawal from Afghanistan must not undermine NATO’s command structures or divert resources from the alliance, Jens Stoltenberg cautioned in an interview. “Any attempt to establish parallel structures, duplicate the command structure and will weaken our joint capability to work together”, he added.
How can this kind of person, who is publicly talking through his hat, be trustworthy and credible? These kind of controversial statements and position papers, after the realization of military catastrophe in Afghanistan, are apt to awaken reasonable suspicions about the reliability and capability of the whole alliance.
I have no reason to change anything in those comments, back from a year ago. This text also confirms fully all the comments I have made on Ukraine crisis during this year.
Stoltenberg’s recent statements on Ukraine crisis
NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg has said that a Russian victory in the conflict in Ukraine would be a defeat for NATO and that it cannot allow such an outcome, in September and again in October.
“Russia’s victory in the conflict in Ukraine would be a defeat for NATO, the alliance must not allow such an outcome”, the organization’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday (11.10.2022) at a press conference ahead of the meetings of NATO Defense Ministers on October 12-13 in Brussels. Stoltenberg stressed that NATO must be prepared for a long war in Ukraine. “I think that we just have to be prepared for the long haul (to provide support to Ukraine),” he added.
Address by Mr. Stoltenberg was revealing. At last, he recognized publicly that NATO is a key partaker in the Ukraine war and publicly made an absolute commitment to victory, in other words to defeat Russia. All these statements were said in the capacity of the NATO’s Secretary General and on behalf of the organization.
But by saying these things, he made two severe mistakes – one was recognition of NATO being a key partaker and the other was absolute commitment to victory – and painted himself and his organization in the corner without way out. His speech discloses wide desperation and panic inside the NATO. Based on his speech, it is nearly impossible to find any working way out in order to de-escalate the situation and to proceed any viable peace proposal.
NATO is not united, well-prepared or well-equipped enough to go to war against Russia but the chances for a direct conflict are growing by the day. Although many actors in this crisis try to play for luring NATO direct engagement, it will be left to US and some east European countries to send their own troops into Ukraine. The US public is not yet ready for such a step and it will take more time to get to that point.
However, we may be reaching the watershed moment in the Ukrainian war. Ukraine is facing a military and social catastrophe but here a quagmire may also await the Kremlin. Russia cannot allow complete societal breakdown and chaos to reign in Ukraine any more than it could tolerate a NATO-member Ukraine next door. The approaching presidential elections scheduled in Moscow, Kiev and Washington the year after next, will make this winter pivotal for all the war’s main parties.
On December 9, Jens Stoltenberg warned of possible war between Russia and NATO in a rare acknowledgment of the dangers of backing Ukraine. “I fear that the war in Ukraine will get out of control, and spread into a major war between NATO and Russia,” he said, adding “If things go wrong, they can go horribly wrong.”
Despite the risk, Stoltenberg stressed that NATO countries should continue arming Ukraine and that the best way to deter Russia is to strengthen the alliance’s positions in Eastern Europe. Stoltenberg said that he understands why some people in Europe are getting tired of supporting Ukraine as they face rising energy and food prices. But the NATO chief claimed that the continent’s “peace and freedom” would be threatened, if Putin wins in Ukraine.
Other recent NATO statements
Stoltenberg has a message for US Republicans planning to reduce Ukraine’s support and putting focus on China. He made the case for a long-term American presence in Europe and a widespread boost in defense spending, in late October. The military presence of the US and Canada in Europe is essential for the strength and the credibility of the transatlantic bond.
Daniel Hamilton, a senior fellow at Johns Hopkins University, calls for “greater European strategic responsibility.” This approach, added Hamilton, now, would involve European allies providing, within next 10 years, half of the forces and capabilities needed for deterrence and collective defense against Russia.
Still, simple math shows that Europe is not close to being self-sustaining on defense. The reality is that 80 percent of NATO’s defense expenditures come from non-EU allies. The alliance’s ocean-spanning, multi-continent layout also “makes it clear that you need a transatlantic bond and you need non-EU allies to protect Europe.” European allies, some experts argue, are simply too comfortable in their reliance on Washington.
“European members of NATO have over-promised and under-delivered for decades,” said Harvard University professor Stephen Walt, a leading international affairs scholar. Europeans, he said, “will not make a sustained effort to rebuild their own defense capabilities, if they can count on the United States to rush to their aid at the first sign of trouble.” Over the next decade, Walt added, Europe should take primary responsibility for its own defense, while the US focuses on Asia and shifts from being Europe’s “first responder” to being its “ally of last resort.”
Global NATO or NATO for the Pacific
Some months ago, there was a debate within the alliance regarding the concept of “Global NATO” or “NATO for the Pacific”, in order to contain China’s growing global power. In Europe, several major politicians, especially British Liz Truss, were strongly advocating the idea. In the US, Republican hawks are predictably pushing for many aggressive policies towards China. The latest example of this came, in July, in a speech by Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, who called the creation of what he calls a “NATO for the Pacific.”
NATO foreign ministers meeting in Bucharest, Romania, in last days of November, had two key topics on the agenda, Ukraine and China. The Biden administration succeeded, at least in part, with US and NATO officials stating that member states will try to reduce dependency on China for supply chains and better coordinate export restrictions of critical technologies to Beijing.
Despite the growing power of China, it would be a mistake for NATO to transform itself into a security player in Asia. China shouldn’t be a top priority for the alliance, especially now when Europe’s security environment is risky.
In 2019, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg referred to the rise of China as presenting challenges as well as opportunities; the alliance’s 2022 Strategic Concept was far different, devoting a paragraph to Beijing’s “coercive policies” and its burgeoning partnership with Russia.
Diverting an ever-greater share of NATO planning and capability to the China issue is a costly and dangerous endeavor. NATO, originally established for European security, may not be the ideal format to address it. Increasingly China-centric NATO would entail a vast expansion of the alliance’s remit—an expansion so large that it would make the alliance’s raison d’être unrecognizable. NATO is an organization created to ensure the collective defense of its European member states, not an actor fighting wars globally.
As the North Atlantic Treaty Organization specifically states in its preamble, the alliance is a means to “promote stability and well-being in the North Atlantic area.” China is more than 4.000 kilometers from the alliance’s eastern front. So, the potential military threat of China to the territorial integrity of NATO members is practically non-existent.
Moreover, there is an ongoing conflict in Europe right now. The war in Ukraine, less than a year old, is already the continent’s deadliest and most destructive in over 75 years. With no peace talks between Kiev and Moscow on the horizon, the fighting will likely continue well into 2023, which could include even more escalation both from Russia’s and also Ukraine’s (NATO’s) side. Taking this into account, now is an especially unsuitable time for NATO to try to expand its region of operations and that is precisely, what it would be doing, if it elevated China to the top of its agenda.
Outside of Washington, very few NATO members actually possess the military capacity to contribute to any global military operation in a meaningful way; the alliance had difficulty sustaining a bombing campaign against a third-rate Libyan army in 2011, so the notion it could fight and win a hypothetical conflict with a massively potent China, which is in the midst of a military modernization campaign, is simply unbelievable.
NATO policymakers should have understanding of the broader geopolitical implications, if making China a central component of any strategic doctrine. Beijing would not stand still, if NATO proceeded down this path. Instead, China would likely double down on its strategic partnership with Russia in an attempt to balance against any NATO shift toward Asia. This could cause all sorts of dangerous issues to the alliance, including greater Chinese-Russian military and intelligence collaboration, joint gray-zone operations in Europe itself and higher frequency of great power clashes in Europe.
NATO’s contradictory trajectories
NATO is no more a defensive alliance, as it was described after WWII but is today a tool of US worldwide domination machinery. NATO’s purpose was spoken by the first NATO Secretary General, a British General Hasting Ismay. He admitted, with his famous words, that the real purpose of NATO was to keep the “Russians out, Americans in and Germans down. “Thus, NATO is basically a formation of Cold War era, whose counterpart Warsaw Pact was dissolved in 1991. The problem is of artificial alliances with no clear-cut purpose or mission in rapidly changing international environment.
At the end of November, regarding NATO, something quite amazing happened. Following the terrorist attack in Ankara, which killed 34 people and injured another 125, Turkish authorities first declared that they will not accept US condolences. Then the Turks launched a military operation against Kurdish terrorists in northern Syria, then claiming to have neutralized 184 terrorists.
What is not mentioned in those articles is that the target of the Turkish strike was the US-run center for the training and education of PKK militants in Rojava. There are rumors that the Turks gave the US enough warning time to evacuate most of its personnel.
This means that a NATO member state Turkey just attacked a US base and got away with it. The US could do absolutely nothing to defend itself or even save face. This also means that a NATO member state Turkey accused the US of a major terrorist attack against its capital city and then that NATO member state openly attacked a US-run facility.
Turkey and MENA
In the case of Turkey, this problem of block’s membership is made even worse by a total incompatibility between Islam and the western Woke ideology now openly promoted (and enforced) by the US and NATO.
Then there is geography. Turkey has some powerful regional neighbors, including not only Greece or Israel, but also Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Syria and Russia. Can Turkey count on any type of US/NATO “protection” from such powerful neighbors?
If anything, the Iranian strikes on CENTCOM bases in Iraq after General Soleimani’s assassination, have demonstrated that the US does not have the stomach to take on Iran.
In sharp contrast, the Russian and Iranian intervention in Syria defeated the US plans for a “New Middle East”. Taking into account the major deterioration in the relationship between the US and MBS’ Saudi Arabia, an amazing picture is in sight: the US and NATO are gradually becoming marginalized in the Middle East.
Instead, new “big actors” are gradually filling the void, including China, Russia and Iran, who are now cooperating with Saudi Arabia and Egypt in a regional dialog about the future of the region and not only the Middle East but also in the whole MENA area.
Turkey’s balancing between West and East
In reality, while being relatively isolated from the West, Ankara also has at times difficult relations with both Russia and China. Ankara seems to attempt to position itself by advancing Turkish-Chinese partnership on the Middle East Corridor-BRI cooperation, for instance. However, while India can boast of being trusted by both sides in the Ukrainian conflict, Ankara’s situation is more complicated.
Its relations with Moscow have always been complex and already in early 2021 showed signs of deterioration. It is widely understood that Russian peacekeepers in the Armenia–Azerbaijan border have been acting as a kind of shield against the expansion of Ankara-promoted pan-Turkism in the Caucasus, a region where Turkey has visibly played a clearly destabilizing role.
Turkish interests, pertaining to enhanced cooperation with China, Russia and other states, are part of its larger aspirations for becoming a new hegemon in its region. These ambitions, including Ankara’s promotion of Pan-Turkist / Turanist concepts amid neo-Ottomanist ambitions, have destabilizing potential and thus trouble key partners in Eurasia, including China and Russia. Geopolitically and geostrategically, the interests of Turks clash with those of Russians and the Chinese in Central Asia and the Caucasus.
Turkey is, at the same time, a full member of the NATO and a Dialogue Partner of the SCO. While the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) focuses more on security and stability issues in Asia and the Pacific, NATO, on the other hand, increasingly sees its mission as being the defender of Western values.
How is it possible to “balance” between Turkish status as a NATO member, which is solely devoted to antagonizing Moscow and Beijing, and on the other hand becoming a full member of SCO, is even more complicated. Amid such a complex geopolitical game, it remains to be seen how long an aggressive Ankara will manage to balance its intricate relations with both the West and with China and Russia.
New member candidates
With a divided NATO, an aggressive Turkey struggles to balance its complex relations with both the West and the Eurasian powers. In this complexity, new member candidates, Finland and Sweden, beg Turkey for NATO’s membership.
Tensions between Washington and Turkey were visible in the November 16 meeting in Bali, when US President Joe Biden “snubbed” his Turkish counterpart. Washington has been pressing Ankara to approve the Swedish and Finnish bids but Turkey remains inflexible, playing with NATO and with candidates quite skillfully, while there are signs the alliance is losing unity over a number of issues.
Finland and Sweden are currently considering arms exports to Turkey, hoping the country will ratify their NATO membership. Turkey has also demanded both Finland and Sweden take a tougher stance against Kurdish rebels. For NATO, the two Nordic countries are not the only issue involving Ankara. In the Mediterranean power balance, tensions between Greece and Turkey have been escalating since at least 2020 and experts have warned that this too could disrupt the North Atlantic unity.
NATO’s / Europe’s defense industry can’t keep up
Months before Russia launched its invasion in February, European and American NATO members started sending massive amounts of weapons and munitions to Ukraine. Even then, it already became clear that NATO’s stocks could not provide enough weapons for a long-term conflict, while it would take years to ramp up deliveries by expanding production lines. This was further exacerbated, when the Kiev regime started asking for more and more advanced weapons amid mounting battlefield losses.
In late November, it appears that approx. two-thirds of NATO members have effectively run out of weapons by sending them to the Kiev. Even the more prominent alliance members with big MICs (Military Industrial Complexes) are having major issues keeping up with the Kiev regime’s demands. The US and NATO have already stated that they are committed to fighting a long proxy war against Russia in Ukraine.
Europe’s efforts to revamp its chronically underfunded militaries have exposed a peace-time defense industry ill-equipped to supply weapons for the war-time demand. Simply put, there are not enough bullets, weapons and hi-tech systems in Europe to match the EU’s demands and looming dangers ahead. EU countries have pledged to spend more than €230 billion to modernize their arsenals.
Globally, defense spending has now surpassed $2 trillion. Spending dramatically increased after the Russian invasion in February but Europe is still catching up, replenishing and renewing existing stocks of weaponry. Yet more complicated purchases can take years to produce within Europe, and some advanced weapons are also only available abroad.
In response, European defense firms are trying to play catch up, intensifying production and their own capabilities. But many European contracts have still been going abroad to places like the US and even South Korea. From an EU perspective, keeping investments at home is also part of a broader desire to reduce foreign dependence on autocratic countries like China. This doesn’t mean the EU will be able to act collectively or swiftly. Ultimately, defense procurement decisions are made at the national level, subject to each country’s needs and influences.
NATO members’ production of weapons and other military material incl. ammo has been in small scale industry. A descriptive example is the usage of heavy artillery ammo: in Afghanistan about 300 rounds per day, now Ukraine uses 6000 rounds and Russia over 30.000 rounds per day. By comparison, the United States produces only 15.000 rounds each month and Europe significantly less. One of the best articles published recently “The Return of Industrial Warfare” by RUSI in June 2022. That pointed out, what is now apparent to all – NATO does not have the production to keep up with demand in today’s big war waged with heavy artillery.
Ukraine war and possible NATO (&EU) war against Russia
“Russia is blackmailing us,” declared the EU Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen in defense of EU sanctions against Russia. She was fuming at Putin’s decision to reduce the flow of gas into Europe but also at his demand for payments in national currency, in roubles. This was Putin’s reply to a Western coordinated attack against Russia for the war in Ukraine. Yet, those ill-designed sanctions have produced the opposite effect, they have backfired badly and are causing recession and chaos throughout the energy-hungry Eurozone.
NATO’s belief that Ukraine can win the war by providing a “limitless” supply of weapons and sanctions that would weaken Russia more than Europe has proven to be a fantasy. The war fatigue grows and some EU states have started to resist further sanctions. NATO and the EU have never admitted they are actually at war with Russia. Instead, they provide money, weapons and “advisors” including “military trainers” to help the armed forces of Ukraine continue a proxy war of attrition.
When regarding the possible direct NATO war against Russia, there are some interesting commensurate events. Referring to the episode of President Erdogan went to beg for NATO protection against Russia (following the downing of a Russian Su-24 over northern Syria by a joint US-Turkish operation), what did NATO promise or give the Turks? Nothing, other than “consultations”.
The NATO alliance has made several invasions worldwide in last decades like ex-Yugoslavia 1991/1999, Afghanistan 2001, Iraq 2004, Somalia 2009, Libya 2011. NATO’s biggest defeat took place in Afghanistan in August 2021. The next gigantic test is and will be the war in Ukraine and the defeat there may mean the alliance’s disintegration process will begin.
Latest ominous events on the frontlines in Ukraine
In mid-December, the Russian military is still in the integrating process of the mobilized 300.000+ men and volunteers. According to some military experts, 25% of the mobilized forces are in combat units, 25% in rear positions, while 50% train in various parts of Russia and Belarus.
It does not look like an imminent all-out attack on the Ukrainian front lines is in the cards but Russian forces have activated along the whole frontline indicating that the new forces will rotate through the frontline and attack locally whenever they see an opportunity. Right now, Russian offenses were mostly confined to the Bakhmut/Artemovsk front, where the Wagner Group has captured multiple Ukrainian trench lines and villages.
There must be a Ukrainian high order to hold onto Bakhmut at any price. The Ukrainian army has again and again moved reserve brigades into the area substituting massive losses. Polish newspaper NDP believes that without the support of NATO, the fighting of AFU (armed forces of Ukraine) would end within a week. NDP’s estimates losses of the AFU near Bakhmut reach a battalion daily (500-800 soldiers), since late September. This estimate is in same lines with many other military experts. Even Ukrainian presidential adviser Arestovych admitted that Russian artillery strength in this sector has a 9 to 1 advantage.
The Mozart Group of American mercenaries, led by retired US Marine Corps Colonel Andrew Milburn had taken command of a badly mauled Ukrainian brigades in Bakhmut. Milburn confirms the enormous rate of casualties of Ukrainian side. “They’ve been taking extraordinarily high casualties,” Milburn said of the units training with Mozart. “The numbers you are reading in the media about 70 percent and above casualties being routine are not exaggerated.”
A unit that has 50% casualties is usually no longer able to fight and must be replaced. But the Ukrainians leave their units on the frontline until nearly nobody is left in them.
So, the number of 500 casualties per day on the Bakhmut front seems realistic. Over the last months the daily report of the Russian Ministry of Defense listed on average some 300 Ukrainian casualties per day. But the ministry does not report the casualties from Bakhmut as the operations of the private military contractor Wagner are not included in it. Thus, the daily total over the last month must have been some 1000 dead Ukrainians. This means that in the 30 days, in November, at least 25.000 Ukrainian soldiers have left the battle field.
Western wonder weapons
The western “wonder” weapons have done quite little so far for Ukraine. The Russians have updated their air defense systems to now detect and shoot down HIMARS missiles, reporting some 10 to 20 of such kills per day. Whole HIMARS systems have been destroyed over 10 so far by Russian strikes. The shooting down of Ukrainian drones has dropped from 20-30 per day in the summer to 3-4 per day, indicating the Ukrainians have run out of drones.
The western artillery systems cannot be repaired in the field as the Ukrainians lack the training and tools to do that. Less than 50% of the German self-propelled Panzerhaubitze are on the battlefield at any given time, because they must be taken to Lithuania for repairs, nearly 900 miles from the Kherson front in southern Ukraine. Germany has so far delivered 14 such weapons and the Netherlands another five. American M777 howitzers have been destroyed over 30 pieces so far.
Other allies, such as the US and Britain, service the arms they donated to Ukraine in Poland, near the Ukrainian border. But Warsaw has refused to allow Berlin to set up a servicing center in Poland, requesting instead that the German manufacturers provide confidential technical information in order for a Polish state-controlled company to do the work.
As to the Patriot air defense systems, Germany offered to station these in east Poland but with German crews. Poland first accepted the offer, then rejected it. Now it seems that the US will deliver directly a Patriot battery to Ukraine. If the number of delivered Patriot batteries will under five, as surely is the case, the weight of these equipment will be very limited, mostly symbolic.
Pressures and fractures inside
Despite all the orations, it seems that the national relations within European NATO members are getting worse. The German chancellor Olaf Scholz has declared that he wants Germany to be the leading power in Europe but Germany’s neighbors and most of its own population are not happy with that. It appears that slow process of falling apart is plaguing the alliance.
But there are powers in NATO that want to prevent that downfall. They will try to get NATO directly into the fight. Jens Stoltenberg warned some days ago that Russia’s war in Ukraine could expand into a wider war with the Atlantic alliance. He has repeatedly cautioned against underestimating the situation in Ukraine and emphasized the wider threat President Putin of Russia could pose to Europe.
“I understand everyone who is tired of supporting Ukraine. I understand everyone who thinks that food prices and the electricity bills are far too high,” Stoltenberg said. “But we have to pay a much higher price if our freedom and peace are threatened through Putin winning in Ukraine.”
Stoltenberg’s postulation is that Russia, winning in Ukraine, starts offensive invasion to the whole Europe, which sounds very apocryphal. Rationally and realistically thinking, Russia cannot have any invasion interest in Europe beyond Ukraine’s borders. So, how is that supposed to endanger Europe? It is difficult to avoid a thought this is designed to push for NATO entering the war, when it becomes obvious that Russia is wining the Ukrainian war.
The Russians also see that coming. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said some days ago: “NATO members are increasingly and directly involved in this conflict. Their support for Kiev is now much diversified than it was a few months ago. This is a reflection of Washington’s intentional policy, obediently pursued by the Europeans, of escalating the conflict. They are playing with fire. The risks are soaring”.
Two American experts, Dr. Michael Vlahos and Col. Douglas Macgregor are both military historians. They met in the library of the Army-Navy Club, Washington, D.C., to reflect on the war in Ukraine: Past, Present, and Future.
They have come to their own conclusions, neither believes in the winning Ukraine that the western media are trying to sell us. Part 1-3 of their talk are here:
Is the war in Ukraine entering its decisive phase? Part 1
Why NATO strategic failure? Part 2
As in the three previous articles of this series, that of December 8, that of December 5 and that of November 30, I am going here to sketch some obvious trajectories and main consequences, in the case Russia is winning in the Ukrainian war.
The question is, what will happen to the NATO in this kind of context? The answer is partly depending, what will happen to those two cornerstones of the NATO: the US and the EU.
Regarding the US, I stated earlier that
“The biggest difference is now that this time there are two real great powers facing each other.”
“The American domestic politics would be stigmatized by bitter contradictions and deep conflicts, further in the rest of 2020s.”
“The US is making a fatal strategic mistake in binding itself to Ukraine war and containing Russia instead of focusing for the estimated duel of the century, between the US and China in the Pacific theater of war”
“…will reflect also in alliance relations around the world, deteriorating further the position of the US as a great power,”
Regarding the EU, I stated earlier that
“the whole political elite of the EU, led by President of EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and the whole Brussels apparatus has pledged their 100% commitment to support Ukraine and obstruct Russia’s victory at “any” cost.”
“those fundamental changes taking place in the top political and administrative positions inside the EU, if they have to admit publicly “betting on a wrong horse”. Similar fundamental changes will take place also in the structures and membership of the block. Disintegration process of the EU will begin soon after such a political bomb.”
Recently, NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg has said that a Russian victory in the conflict in Ukraine would be a defeat for NATO and that it cannot allow such an outcome.
According to American Colonel (Ret) Douglas MacGregor, the protracted war in the Ukraine might well bring about the collapse of both NATO and the EU due to the deep internal contradictions inside both organizations. NATO is already falling apart in a process of economic, social, political and spiritual crises, which are plaguing the entire EU and which only accelerates.
It appears to be quite obvious that this case is manifold, complex and multidimensional in itself.
On the other hand, a wide range of factors support the view that the alliance will disintegrate, if Russia wins in the Ukraine war but on the other hand, there is always a certain resilience in such alliances, which can maintain a necessary cohesion to survive even with this kind of colossal defeat. Finally, it depends also, how long and far NATO is ready and willing to step on the escalation ladders.
However, taking into account all the above-mentioned items and views, I believe that the disintegration process of NATO is inevitable outcome in this context.