Middle East-ENG2.jpg

NATO Archipelago

18.07.2016

The NATO summit in Warsaw is considered successful. But where is success? And whose is such a success? The last NATO summit in Warsaw many experts call almost historic. And it is understandable, because many in Western Europe and the US breathe a sigh of relief: after Brexit you could expect anything.

By the way, Brexit strongly influenced the Warsaw summit. Above all by its pronounced aroma of disintegration, prevalence of unwillingness to sacrifice anything for the sake of the common cause.

But NATO is much more obliging organization than the European Union. NATO membership requires a willingness of NATO member-state nationals to sacrifice themselves, to feel premature death during military operations that NATO decides to carry out, and the place of these operations could be the entire globe at a minimum, and at a maximum, given the technological power growth of humanity, even the outer space.

Of course, the summit should demonstrate the unity and solidarity at all costs, to send a signal to all hesitant members, to declare that NATO is alive and ready to act. Hence, we see the approval of the notorious four battalions deployment on eastern borders and other gestures, such as statements about the establishment of NATO intelligence and Europe's defense strengthening.

Well, on the one hand, NATO countries have every right to think about their security, to take all reasonable or unreasonable measures. In the end, many people fear, for example, microbes, which, by the way, are much more than people on earth. And some individuals always carry, for example, special means for disinfection, whose production is a very competitive industry.

But, on the other hand, a more fundamental question remains unanswered: What is NATO today? What is the meaning, the geopolitical logic of this organization?

When NATO was established it was more or less clear: the competition, up to direct hostility, of two large military blocs that have tried to destroy each other by various means. And NATO's task was clear - be ready to confront the Soviet bloc by all means.

And the question arises, from whom NATO is trying to defend Western Europe today? And here, I think, the main problem is hidden. Oddly enough, apparently many minds in NATO (and not only there) really want to protect Western Europe and what can be called the Western world in general, i.e. the United States and Canada, perhaps someone else. And NATO officials themselves say they want to protect the values of this world, its peace and prosperity. But the situation is somewhat strange with a clear designation of the threat.

The matter turns out that NATO sees a threat in almost the whole world. Since there is no clear and direct enemy like the Soviet Union and its allies, the nasty tricks can be expected from everywhere. In any case, such a conclusion suggests itself. It turns out something like this: there is an island, Western Europe, and the coconscious island of North America (however, excluding Mexico). And these islands, the NATO archipelago, exist in a hostile environment, or at least alien and unfriendly. And if you look at the decisions taken by NATO, it may seem that the organization builds a kind of Hadrian's Wall. A prosperous Western world lives surrounded by barbarians or semi-barbarians. But maybe these people and their countries are not so dangerous.

As Secretary General Stoltenberg said, NATO should not exaggerate the threat from Russia or from the South. But nevertheless it is necessary to be secured: almost the entire Western world is inside the "ring of fronts." China is becoming more powerful, Latin America is not so quiet, let alone what to say about Africa.

In general, there are the continuous logical and political traps. If the whole world is dangerous to the Western world, so what to do?

And it turns out that without interaction with this surrounding world nothing can be done with this intimidating world and thus with security. And hence there is the need to maneuver, to make arrangements. In fact, that is what NATO does.

But the reason of the well-known ambiguity of the NATO behavior lies in not only an internally contradictory understanding of Western political thought about the modern world, natural and, at the same time, unpleasant and hostile. The reason is also the fact that the Western world is very restless and indecisive. I think the main NATO fear could be lack of determination (bad or good) in time when real actions are needed.

The evidence of such sentiments can be numerous works of mass culture: TV serials in the first place - the current main mode of reflection of enlightened and not so enlightened humanity - media, novels, etc. The notorious "House of Cards", the Scandinavian "Occupied", series, the new Australian serial "Secret City", and many other movies, books, and articles are full of opportunism, profound doubts in "Western" identity, citizens' courage and wisdom of politicians. All these works are felt with a deep sense of fear for the future, tragic inability to predict it, and a terrible suspicion that people would shrink if something happens. Antic Spartans said that the best wall of the city is the courage of the citizens. But now the Buckingham Palace is guarded more heavily than during the Second World War.

Certainly, the NATO leaders are not guided by the mood of mass culture, but they all live in a broth of modern ideas about the world, common sentiments and phobias of political masses.

Not only the general view of the world becomes illusory, but also views about their own society, its degree of stability. Perhaps the main enemies of the NATO countries, the system of values which the organization is going to protect, are inside the member countries. It is the creeping of destruction of solidarity, cohesion in the face challenges. And it is not necessarily the cultureless migrants, dangerous because of their own fears in a new and strange environment. Much more dangerous threat can be a change of the ruling elite, coming to power of entirely new Western Europeans and North Americans, who are interested not to protect the values of the free world, but in reconstruction of their own societies, where there are so many malcontents. Brexit has already revealed much, and what should we wait from the elections in the United States and in France? In whose hands will the governments of NATO countries fall?

In general, the task facing NATO is very complex. They need somehow to maintain confidence in its unity, which may be very fragile. At the same time they must scrupulously avoid any serious test of this unity. It is also important to treat the surrounding world as hostile. But here they must not go too far. Finally, with this hostile world NATO has to maintain some acceptable connections.

There is another important issue, simultaneously formal and informal: What should be the NATO zone of responsibility? If antimissiles should protect NATO from real or imaginary threat from Iran and other countries which are far away from Europe, should NATO intervene in conflicts all over the world: in the Asia-Pacific region and in Central Asia? The Afghan adventure already showed this.

To get out of this situation is not easy. Not only the public is skeptical toward the authorities, but even between the NATO countries there are many contradictions. Poland, for example, is more radical than Italy, and they have different phobias.

So, NATO is in a situation of a fragile defense, of contrived unity against largely imaginary enemies. Of course, there is real terrorism, diverse and evasive as Proteus. There are problems, sometimes very bloody, in many countries, including Ukraine. Of course, there are conflicts fraught with dangerous escalation, as in Africa or in the South China Sea. NATO needs more confidence in the outside world, it can be not so dangerous. Maybe a lot of people living in countries outside NATO also want safety and opportunities to deal with their own affairs.

Efforts to protect itself in defense keep a hidden great danger. If we have common values, we should not only protect them inside a limited area, but maybe it could be better to be united in the name of the common benefit.

Related articles

Open Message for Presidents Trump and Putin: Your Telephone Call
28.01.2017
As one who advised President Reagan on how to end the Cold War, I welcome your plans to discuss US-Russian relations tomorrow, January 28. Relations have reached a state that is dangerous for both our

Expert: 
Jack Matlock

Category:
Expert Opinions
Astana Talks: Opportunities and Constraints
24.01.2017
The Astana meeting was aiming at securing a ceasefire that would allow the political reform process to start in Syria. The fact that the Syrian regime and the representatives of the armed opposition

Expert: 
Yaşar Yakış

Category:
Expert Opinions